This is Kobe, Japan.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

27 Nov (28 Nov in Japan) 2011 Sennan Japan

Week 74
Mission Log
Hello, everybody.  How`s everything going?  Things are still going really well here.  I`m kind of getting used to everything in Japan and it`s all becoming normal now, so there aren`t really any strange experiences or weird foods to write about anymore.  I`ve gotten used to sleeping on a futon (a thin mat that you lay on the floor to sleep on).  It`s not soft like a mattress, but it`s still plenty comfortable.  It`s especially good if the g\floor has tatami (a Japanese style floor woven from bamboo). 
In Japan, they don`t do anything for Thanksgiving.  I had actually forgotten that it was Thanksgiving until I got the emails last week.  No one in Japan even knows when Thanksgiving is or what it is.  I went around and taught a lot of people about Thanksgiving this last week.  We didn`t do anything special for Thanksgiving either.  But, at night I got a package from you and I was able to have a great Thanksgiving feast.  It was wonderful.  Thank you.  The Jacket and the toothpaste are also much appreciated.  Everything was good.  It was pretty nice eating good American Thanksgiving foods.  People don`t eat turkey here at all.  Most people have never had turkey before in their life.  They just eat rice and soy sauce all the time.  I like Japanese food.  It`s no longer weird  or anything.  It`s just normal food now.  It doesn`t seem foreign to me at all.  Myt companion however, can`t stand any of it.  He just eats cereal and peanut butter sandwiches all day.  I really like ramen (like Top Ramen but nicer) and gyoza (potstickers).  What`s funny is that those are both really Chinese foods.  When people ask my what Japanese foods I like, I never know what to say because all of the best Japanese foods are from China.  If I say a food from China, then they`ll get unhappy and say "That`s not Japanese!"  I pretty much like all of the foods here.  The only food I don`t like is beans.  That`s the same in the US or Japan. 
Our apartment is on the tenth floor of our building.  I`ve never lived so high up before.  Because there aren`t really any tall buildings in Sennan, and our building`s on the top of a hill, I can pretty much see the whole area.  I can even see Kobe across the water from my apartment building.  We live a little bit East of Izumisunagawa station which is one train station North from Izumitottori where the church is.  We had to ride the train back from the church one time.  I like riding trains.  They`re pretty convenient, but cars were still much nicer.  I`ve going to let you go now.  I`ll talk to you all again next week.  Love you.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift

Sunday, November 20, 2011

20 Nov (21 Nov in Japan) 2011 Sennan Japan

Week 73
Mission Log
Why, hello everybody!  How are you all doing today?  Things went pretty well this week.  The new area is pretty good.  There a lot of really great members in this new area.  Also, I`m started to get all the streets and places down pretty well.  The one downfall of the Sennan area is that there are huge hills that we have to ride up all over the place.  I guess, I shouldn`t say "the one downfall" because whenever we have to go anywhere, it`s really more like three downfalls and seven mountains that we have to climb up.  It`s pretty difficult getting around here on a bike.  It`d be nice if we had a car or something.  No one in this mission has a car, though.  Every area is a bike area.  Only the office elders and the assistants to the president drive cars. In Japan, it cost a couple thousand dollars to get a driver`s license.  Also, you have to be eighteen or older in order to drive.  My new companion is cool.  I`m trying to help him get used to Japan and to being a missionary.  He`s working hard and doing a great job.  No, I`m not a zone leader this transfer. The church is about a twenty minute bike ride away from the apartment building. 
The pictures that you sent this week didn`t work, and they didn`t work last week either.  Just a bunch of random letters and numbers showed up instead.  The computer is going really slow and freezing up again this week and I think it`s because of the pictures that didn`t work.  Speaking of pictures, the battery on my camera died and I lost the cord that you charge it with.  It`s a cord that you plug directly into the camera.  The camera is a samsung and I haven`t seen any samsung stores around in Japan.  I can`t take any more pictures without the cord. 
My bike has a bit of a problem.  My left break was always really week.  You had to pull it really hard in order to slow down.  Also, the right break can slow me down just fine, but if I pull it, it stays pulled until I reach down to the tire and take it off.  Because of that, I would always just use my left break and only use the right one if I have to stop very quickly or go down a big hill or something.  It was my back-up emergency break type thing.  For various reasons I switched bikes with my companion for two days.  He then said that he couldn`t ride my bike because the breaks were too bad.  I figured he just wasn`t used to my breaks and didn`t know how to us them.  We switched back, and then we started going down the biggest hill in the area.  I`m pulling the left break as hard as I can, but because it`s so worn out and weak, it isn`t really doing anything.  I`m still going really fast.  There area some really sharp turns at the bottom of the hill, but I wasn`t worried, because I figured I could just pull my emergency break and slow down.  However, when I tried to pull my right break, nothing happened.  The break thing pretty much fell off of my handlebar and the were no breaks to slow me down.  That`s when things got a bit scary.  I had to use my feet as breaks (probably wearing out a lot of the soles), but I was able to make the turns ok.  I`ve been riding around with pretty much no breaks for the last couple of days.  It`s scary at times, but I`ve been ok.  We`re going to go get my bike fixed today.  My companion still claims that he didn`t do anything to my bike, though.  I don`t know what caused this problem. 
It`s gotten really cold for riding a bike around all of the time, but not cold enough for snow to fall.  I hear that it doesn`t really snow much in Sennan.  I hope that I at least, get to see some snow. 
Have a good week everyone.  I`ll talk to you later.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift

Sunday, November 13, 2011

13 Nov (14 Nov in Japan) 2011 Sennan Japan

Week 72
Mission Log
This week went pretty well.  We cleaned everything out of the apartment in Wakayama and said goodbye to all of the members and investigators there.  Then we went to a meeting with the stake leaders in Osaka.  After that, we spent a day helping the missionaries in a place called Senboku.  On Thursday morning I went up to the mission office in Kobe to pick up my new companion.  His name is Elder Symmonds.  He is from Las Vegas.  He`s brand new to Japan.  We then rode the train together to a place called Sennan.  Neither of us have ever been to Sennan before.  We don`t know where anything is or who any of the members are.  Also, we don`t have any investigators.  Elder Symmonds is brand new.  So, I pretty much have to work super hard to learn all that stuff as quickly as possible and find us some new investigators.  There are two other missionaries living in our apartment with us.  One is named Elder Murray and he is from Canada.  The other is named Elder McKellar and he is from Australia.  I love working with people from Australia or New Zealand.  They`re so cool, and they love to Tim Tam Slam just as much as I do.  I`ll teach you all what Tim Tam Slamming is when I get back.  It`s pretty much the greatest thing ever.  Sennan is considered part of Osaka, but it is on the very bottom border of it.  Osaka is a massive city, but Sennan is much smaller.  It seems really run down and dirty everywhere.  There aren`t any tall buiildings either.  The computer that I`m using to email right now isn`t working very well.  It`s kind of annoying trying to use it, because it just stops and freezes up literally every two seconds.  I can get through writing maybe a word or two before it will freeze up again.  Because of that, I probably won`t write very much this week.  All of the members here are really nice and they all are pretty friendly to the missionaries.  They are excited that there are four missionarries in Sennan now.  There are about sixty members here.  There is a properly built church building, but it is really small:  it is up on top of a giant hill.  Sennan is just full of giant hills.  It`s really hard to get around.  I`m going to get going now.  I love you all.  Bye.  
-Elder Isaac Swift 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

6 Nov (7 Nov in Japan) 2011 Wakayama Japan

Week 71
Mission Log
Good Morning USA!  Everything is great in Japan today, as usual.  Yes, I do know Elder Kameron Mesecher.  We were in the same seminary class.  It`s funny that Dad ran into him in Arizona.  I`m excited to hear who the new bishop is going to be back in the Manorwood Ward. 
This morning we had our transfer announcements again.  The mission president called this morning to let me know that I`m transferring again.  We are closing the Wakayama area.  My companion and I are both transferring out and no knew missionaries are coming into the Wakayama ward.  We knew it was coming though.  About a month ago, upon pondering what to do and much prayer on the subject, we felt that missionaries needed to be pulled from the area.  We let the mission president know the next week and since then, we were just working to prepare all of the people in Wakayama for the close.  It was really weird working in an area that I knew was going to be closed shortly.I`m not going very far though.  I`m going to Osaka.  Particularly, I`m going to a place on the very bottom of Osaka, called Sennan.  It`s the next area up from Wakayama.  There are going to be four missionaries in Sennan.  It will be a party.  Also, I will be training a new missionary again.  On Thursday, I will go up to Kobe and pick him up.  It`s very exciting. 
You don`t have to send me anything, but if you feel like you want to send something so me, there are things that I want.  They are my black Pierce College hoodie, toothpaste, garments (size 32 on the bottom), and whatever seems cool. 
I ran out of time, and have to get going now.  I`ll write more next week.  I love you. 
-Elder Isaac Swift