This is Kobe, Japan.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

25 March (26 in Japan) 2012

Week 90
Mission Log
It`s a beautiful sunny day here in Otsu.  The weather was actually pretty crazy for the past few days.  It would be really sunny one moment, but then rainy the next moment and get sunny again really soon.  It was back and forth between rain and sun for all of Thursday through Sunday, except Friday.  Friday was just straight rain.  In Japan, it always rains a lot at the change of each season.  The big rainy season is at the change from Spring to summer, but there is another smaller rainy season between Winter and Spring, Summer and Fall, and Fall and Winter.  Yesterday was pretty cold.  It even had some snow with the rain.  Today however, is looking like it will be very nice. 
Last Monday, we got my bike fixed in the late afternoon.  There are bike shops all over in Japan, but my companion and I both bought our bikes at a bike shop called Asahi, and we got insurance with it.  So, if we go to an Asahi, it is a lot cheaper to get it fixed and they always do a really good job.  Asahi is pretty much the biggest bike store chain in Japan.  Most stores around are just small self-owned businesses.  Asahi always has any parts you need and it`s very reliable.  The problem is that there isn`t an Asahi close to our apartment here.  There is one in Otsu City, but none in Kusatsu City.  We had to go all the way to Otsu to get my bike fixed.  On Tuesday, we had an appointment in the morning.  So, we were coming back for lunch after that, and my companion`s tire went flat.  We thought it was just a normal puncture in the tube and we were pretty close to the apartment, so we just walked it back.  After lunch, we picked up a puncture repair kit from the dollar store and began trying to fix his tube.  Neither of us were very good at fixing punctures, so we were having some problems and it was taking a while.  Eventually, we got the puncture fixed and we started to get going.   We didn`t even get out of the parking lot before noticing that it wasn`t just a normal puncture in his tube, but there was a big slash in his tire.  We ended up having to walk back to Asahi and get his tire replaced as well.  It was a pretty interesting adventure. 
I heard from someone that there was another earthquake in Japan, but I haven`t heard anything about it since then.  We didn't feel anything down here.  I didn't feel anything when the big earthquake last year happened either, but I did feel some of the aftershocks.  Nothing super serious though.  This area of Japan has been pretty safe.  I hope that some exciting stuff happens in the upcoming rainy season and Typhoon season. Typhoon is actually a Japanese word that is pronounced the same way, except without the "n" on the end of it. 
On Thursday, I went to District Leader training in Kobe.  It was fun to see everyone else from around the mission, all the district leaders at least.  The training was also very good.  I also ate at a Burger place in Kobe that is known as the "Burger Pit".  It`s a tiny burger shop that is run by a Canadian who lives in Kobe.  The coolest thing about it is that the burgers are made with Kobe beef (the best meat in the world).  They were pretty good.  On Friday I went on a companion exchange in Joyo.  That`s an area that I went on exchanges on a year ago, so it was fun seeing it again.  Finally, Saturday was district meeting.  We normally have it on Fridays, but this week had to be a Saturday.  It went pretty well. 
I think that`s about all of the exciting stuff that we did this week.  It was a pretty fun week.

-Elder Swift

Sunday, March 18, 2012

18 March (19 in Japan) Otsu Japan

Week 89
Mission Log
Otsu is a way awesome place.  It`s in the same zone with Kyoto.  It only takes twenty or so minutes by train to get to Kyoto.  The biggest lake in all of Japan is here.  It is called Lake Biwa.  The city of Otsu is really big.  If we go by one of the train stations in the early evening, there are more people around then you can count.  There are just tons of people everywhere.  I thought I was back in Osaka on my first day here when we went by the Zeze station around six thirty.  The church is really close to that station.  But, we don`t live in Otsu city.  We live in a city called Kusatsu and have to ride our bikes to the church in Otsu.  We have to cross over a huge bridge that goes over part of Biwa Lake.  Kusatsu is also a pretty big city though.  It`s easily bigger and has more people in it than most of my areas have.  It has two pretty big universities in it. 
Last night, when we were just riding down the street minding our own business, we heard this way loud noise like a gunshot.  Everyone turned and looked at us.  The front tire on my bike had exploded.  What makes it worse is that we were all the way out in Otsu.  I`m walking around for today until I get the tire replaced.  I knew it was going to happen sometime, because the back tire exploded like two months ago, and you could tell that my tire was falling apart just by looking at it.
Elder Meyers has been in Japan for about four months.  Otsu is his first area.  He is from Seretoga Springs, Utah.  He`s a way nice guy.  It should be fun to work with him this transfer.  I`m excited.  The ward here has about sixty members in it.  They were all very nice and friendly.  What`s funny is that on Sunday, a couple from Fushimi ward (Brother and Sister Hishii) was here because she has a stake calling and she was speaking here.  It was really cool to see them again. 
I`m going to go look at some classes for BYU now.  I got permission the other day to go on the BYU site.  I`m thinking about business management or something like that.  Do you have any ideas? 
I`m loving being here in Otsu.  It`s a wonderful place.  I`ll write you again next week.  Bye. 
-Elder Swift

Monday, March 12, 2012

11 Mar 2012 Sennan Japan (12 Mar in Japan)

Week 88
Mission Log
Hello, Everybody!  It`s another beautiful Spring morning here in Osaka, Japan.  In Kobe, however, it was snowing this morning.  What`s the weather like over there?  I wonder what the weather is like in Kyoto.  This morning, got a phone call from the assistants announcing the next transfers.  I will once again be transferring.  On Thursday, I will be going back to the Kyoto zone.  I will be in a city called Otsu.  It is actually in the Shiga prefecture (the one next to Kyoto), but it is very close to Kyoto, so it is one zone and one stake.  My old area, Fushimi, is going to be in the same district with me, and I will be the district leader.  So, I can go there on companion exchanges all the time.  My companion is going to be Elder Meyers.  I hope that it will be a lot of fun.  It`s sad to have to say goodbye to all of the people here that I`ve grown to care about over the last four and a half months, but I`m sure I will meet many wonderful people in Otsu as well.  Sorry that I don`t have a whole lot to say this week.  I`m working hard out here.  It`s hard, but it`s a lot of fun at the same time.  I`ll write you again next week.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift

Sunday, March 4, 2012

4 Mar (5 Mar in Japan) Sennan Japan

Week 87
Mission Log
Sennan is still going pretty well.  I`ve been here for quite a while now.  I`m on my third transfer here, which is tied for the longest that I`ve been in any area.  Next week Monday there will be another transfer announcement.  I wonder what`s going to happen.  I`ll probably go to one more area for the last three transfers of my mission.  I wonder where it will be. 
It was really warm all of this week.  I didn`t wear a coat or gloves or anything just like usual, but what`s not like usual is that I didn`t find myself wishing that I had put a coat or gloves on later in the day or at night when I got cold.  It was just really nice all week.  I`m pretty sure that winter is over and Spring has begun now.  It rained yesterday and it is still raining today.  I hope it doesn`t last too long.  In June is the rainy season.  Once that is over, it is super hot.  Even for a little while before the rainy season and all during the rainy season it is hot.  July and August are probably the hottest.  It gets really really humid in the summer here.  It`ll be fun. 
I`m completely use to sleeping on a futon.  It`d probably be weird for me when I try to sleep on a bed again.  I never really had any problem with them.  When I first got here, I thought the futons were just fine.  Some missionaries do take some time to get used to them though.  Some people don`t like them at first.  They aren`t as thick as that futon bed/couch mattress that we had back at home.  It`s like sleeping on top of a couple of blankets.  Did you say that we are staying at the temple one night?  Do they have hotel rooms at the temple?  I`m excited.  I want to go through the temple in Tokyo.  Kathrine got married?  To whom?  Malcom came back home?  When?  When is Tyler going on a mission? 
I`ve started teaching a lot of older people this last week or two.  Before, I mostly just taught people in their twenties or teenagers, but just recently I started teaching a bunch of people in their forties, fifties, and sixties.  I don`t know how or why that happened, but it`s interesting.  It`s completely different from teaching people that are around my same age.  Maybe I`ll try to find some more young people this week.  I`d really like to focus on trying to find some families that we can teach.  When a family joins, they can strengthen each other and the retention rate is so much better. 
I have to get going now.  I`ll write again next week.  Bye. 
-Elder Isaac Swift