Mission Address

Japan Nagoya Mission
1-304 Itakadai, Meito-ku
Nagoya, Japan T465-0028

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Paul's email from the MTC

Some thoughts to consider while I wait for my laundry to finish drying.

We have this program here called TALL that supposedly helps
missionaries learn languages.   It is really good for drilling in
vocab and wasting time watching videos on. This last week I spent a
couple hours doing this, and came across a peculiar verb. きらう = to
hate. I spent the next ten minutes sitting and figuring what in the
world hate is. Hate.. HA; TE.. Tooth hand? Like what? Hahaha I was
literally reading hate how a Japanese person would, and making each
two letters a syllable.
When you can't read HA TE... Japanese is really getting to me.

So everyone in our entire residence building had to move to to a
different residence building because there are some whiny construction
workers who don't like to see people walking even close to where
they're working. Like I said last time, pretty sure, the MTC is
renovating the building and surrounding area that we were staying in.
I mean, I'm not saying that it couldn't use the renovation (because it
sure could), but to move everyone around while missionaries are still
in the building sounds dumb to me. We have Senpai that are having to
pack, unpack, then pack again one week from going out. That's kinda a
So we did that this morning. We are now enjoying our early morning
sack breakfast and early morning laundry because of it. Our district
decided for some reason to move starting at 5:00 AM (-.-) so tired
right now. On top of that, our district leader decided to do the
entire move in one trip; there's actually a lot of luggage to move,
what with our regular huge suitcases, carry ons, and messenger bags
plus all of the care packages, boxes, snacks, and inheritances from
the Daisenpai to factor in.
Moving all of that in a single trip is a lot of work; it was actually
quite funny. Picture five missionaries wearing their sleeping clothes
throwing messy haphazardly stuffed luggage down the halls over to the
stairwell. We carefully, individually escort the luggage to the door
at the bottom of the stairs and move them outside, then start the real
work. Lashing loose items such as laundry bags, suits, boxes, and
extra bags to our suitcases with belts, we Prep for our journey across
the entire campus. At the time, we lived tucked into the very corner
of the MTC, literally the farthest from everything ever. The
destination is right smack in the middle of the MTC. Don't forget that
we have a couple huge boxes of inheritances, snacks, and necessary
nightly goodies that we've decided to carry across (the really big one
was transported on top several large suitcases in cradle-like
Then commenced the Moving races! Everyone had three of four items to
move (enough to keep every hand busy); we start our trek and it turned
into a race. Imagine something similar to Mario Kart where everyone is
putting along and there's the occasional sabotage or mess-up that
causes someone to fall behind everyone else. A laundry bag was
dropped, a suitcase fell over, etc. There was passing and even some
Tokyo drifting involved. It was great!

Hey, shoutout to Brother Messina! I found him. I found your
missionary. He's awesome.

In all my time here I've only seen three (maybe four) other
missionaries going to Nagoya. Nagoya is a decent sized mission, so I
wonder what gives. Maybe it's large geographically, but small in
number because it's mostly rugged mountains or something.

Our district has also gone through some serious renovations this last
week. The saddest thing ever happened; Ballard (Barbie) Choro was sent
home this last week due to some medical issues involving his stomach.
We recently got some updated news that he has stomach ulcers or
something, so he has to start taking medications for the rest of his
life. Before he left he was bedridden and had only bloody diarrhea
when he went to the bathroom. Every time he stood up he had to go, so
you can see what a problem that was. Ballard Choro will be at home
recovering for the next two or three weeks. He's studying by himself
during this time, so hopefully when he come back to the MTC it'll be
before we all leave to Japan on Oct 4, and hopefully he won't have to
spend any additional time at the MTC--he can just rejoin our district.
We'll see.
Our district has suffered from the loss, as Ballard Choro was the
creator of most of all of our jokes. We're a more solemn group now.
Kamae Choro, Ballard's companion, has joined my companionship to form
a temporary trio. He's a little hard to keep track of because he likes
to talk to everyone he sees. He also doesn't study very well, and
likes to have planned out thoughts to use in lessons. It's made our
teaching methods change drastically to adapt to the new personality.

We had a new sister join our district for a couple days. Her name is
Sister Reyes. She was from Mexico, and wanted to transfer branches to
ours because she doesn't speak any English and thus wasn't learning
anything from her class. But when she joined our more advanced
Japanese speaking group, not knowing Japanese very well herself, she
didn't fit in there either. The communication barrier was too great to
overcome. We have a Mexican sister in our district who is also fairly
good at Japanese and can serve as interpreter, but there's too much
distance to cover between all the lessons, meals, and investigators
speaking at such a higher level of Japanese than she can handle right
now. If she switches back out, she'll take Conejo shimai with her and
we'll have an even smaller district than before; MTC has just been
brutal to our district, handing loss after loss in so many ways.

Speaking of losses, we had a room inspection on Tuesday pass 100%!
Except our desks, which had our studying materials our because we have
a short class time before breakfast to do that. We go to breakfast,
and get inspected while at it. So, for having stuff out on our desks,
we were marked down on that one section to Needs Work (on a scale 1-5
that's 3). Everything else was Commendable (5). And yet, our overall
report was marked down to a 3--Needs Work. Seems hardly fair. I swear,
those inspector people literally wait for the most perfect, ripe
opportunity to pound on us. We had our room clean for an entire week,
expecting them to inspect as is required of their job, and they
happened to not come that entire week. Like I said, losses.

Out of time again, sorry! I'll write to you again!

Elder Cardon

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Weekly email from the MTC

The weeks are not quite as full of funny stories as at first, but
there are still some interesting things that happen like in most
people's lives.

I did something I shouldn't have done this week; I turned my suit in
for dry cleaning. That wouldn't normally be a bad thing, except for
the fact that it was the only suit I had. I only needed it before
Sunday, and I turned it in Wednesday, so I thought that given five
days absolutely it would be done by then. However, the dry cleaners
just happened to be overloaded that week (lucky me) and I couldn't get
the suit before Tuesday. My branch president doesn't appreciate people
breaking rules (he's an exact obedience type of guy) and wearing a
suit on Sunday to Sacrament meeting and all devotionals is mandatory.
I couldn't help thinking like Becca: uh.... No Bueno.
So huge shoutout to mom, who saved me! Thank you for sending a suit! I
don't know exactly how, but I told you of my predicament on that same
Wednesday and I had a big package come in on Thursday. What great
service! Thank you thank you thank you!

Remember that big uproar last time concerning our district when we
were told we'd be staying for nine weeks instead of three? Well, we
finally found out the reason for staying nine weeks; we're guinea
pigs. Turns out, the MTC has been wanting to implement an
"intermediate" Japanese class, and we just happened to have enough
people in our district to try it out. We're to try our best to advance
our language and teaching skills in every way imaginable; we are going
to teach more lessons to investigators (for example, teaching up to
lesson five vs four), take a more active role in presenting to each
other in class, be introduced to advanced grammar principles and
such... You get the idea. Our district as a whole isn't very good
about this whole self-study thing, but honestly I'm kinda glad I have
a bit of extra time to get some things out of the way because I can
tell what a difference it is making for me. My language skills are on
an exponential increase right now.

Since we got here, our district has had nothing but losses. I mean, we
had that silly thing about three or nine weeks, terrible room
inspections, some weird teaching things, and everyone has gotten
diarrhea or sick or both. The list continues. However, for the first
time since coming here we finally got the best of something and
received our first win: our room inspection! Last time, we got
unacceptable or inexcusable or something like that. For context, the
very next one down the list on bad is graffiti, and that's the worst
there is. But not today! We got 100% clean happy inspection for our
room today! Hahahahahahhaha

I'm memorizing scripture mastery, after the tradition of my fathers
before me. Haahaha no really though. My dad was super into memorizing
and reciting all the scripture masteries to the family before I left,
and I've picked up on it. Of course, my memorization is much more
interesting because it's all in Japanese. Ugh there are some in 2
Nephi that literally take a whole column! Like half a page but it's
all in itty bitty text! But I have nine weeks now, that's plenty of
time to get it down.

We had a class recently where the intermediate Japanese speakers
paired with native Japanese speakers and taught a lesson. Mom, thanks
for giving me grandpa's conversion story. Grandpa, thank you for being
converted. I got to be Jay Huber for 30 min! Honestly, I had no idea
what to do when they told me I needed to become some convert that I
knew. Nobody was popping into my head from the ward whose story I knew
well. But there was that nice crisp printed piece of paper that had my
own grandparents' conversion story on it back in the dorm tucked into
my little suitcase that I remembered last second; thank goodness for
family history! So I pulled off my lesson with Kawajo Choro (Elder
Kawajo) nicely. His convert story was about a guy named Paul, funny
enough, who played basketball and wondered why his teammate didn't
practice on Sunday. Paul was a made up person, sadly.

Have I ever mentioned how cold it is in the mornings? The silly people
at the MTC have the A/C going overnight! Brrrrr freezing cold. We're
actually scheduled to switch dorm buildings next week, for some odd
unknown reason. Renovations? We're going from building 15M to 6M, I
believe; so I get to pack and unpack twice instead of once! Kinda a
pain, really. Hopefully the next building will have better maintained

Hahahaa I still have dreams about IB occasionally, even here. I think
in the last one everyone had gathered in like a Harry Potter dorm
sitting room like setting and were celebrating the official overness
of it all. But then Mrs. Gerard came up to me and announced privately
but so that everyone could hear (like in all dreams) that actually
this party was only for the people who had graduated IB and I hadn't
so I couldn't be there. And then everyone gave me the most savage
look! My dorm mates would say, "that's so cringe!" (Honestly I don't
know where they get this lingo from). I was so shocked and terrified
that I woke up. I'm telling you, it's PTSD, really.

In case anyone is interested, I've recently converted from indoor
volleyball to beach volleyball. Soo fun!

Reeeeeally missing my music right now. Having only a small collection
of memorized songs just doesn't cut it. It's the worst feeling ever
when you love a song but can't remember the tune for the life of you!
That happened with Studio Ghibli's Princess Kaguya theme this last
week. Becca just a reminder that I have a car driving playlist for you
when you get back. It's on your phone and it is the single most epic
compilation I've ever made; totally makes driving rock. Taking a turn
and having those choir voices screeching intensely makes every movie
dream come true for just a few precious seconds. (BTW thank you
grandma for sending that CD; it's awesome!)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

excerpts from Paul's first hand-written letters from the MTC

A large white envelope arrived in the mail today.  Inside were letters addressed to each family member.  As Paul explained to Becca, "Each of the family gets different bits and pieces of my life here, so ask them if you want to find out more and get a bigger picture."  [Note: since Paul shares different parts of his experience with various family members, I have just pulled out a highlight from each - except Claire's.  Her letter was written in Japanese...]

(to Mom)
My companion's full name is Andre Jun Wesemann.  He was born in Japan but grew up in Highland, Utah.  He is half-Japanese; his mom is Japanese.  His speaking, reading, and writing level is the best in our district.
When we teach lessons, it's good to be able to rely on him to explain things in depth - he doesn't really get "explain simply", so he always give me ample time to prepare myself.

(to Jacob)
So here's our district people's names
district=people I get to spend all my studying, eating, and sleeping time with
Elder Nielson = Doreo
Elder Handly = Handlebars
Elder Ballard = Barbie
Elder Kamae = Diglett
Elder Wegemann = Wheeeeeeezeman
Elder Cardon = Cordon Bleu

So literally the best way to learn Japanese is to devote yourself to it.  Study it, speak it, read, write, eat, sleep, drink it.  Love it!

(to Becca)
MTC initial reaction: everyone is so nice and welcoming.  ... It's all super fun, and I'll get to learn a ton from my teachers!  (Actually, it's mostly self-study.  Guided, in some ways, but mostly what I've always been doing.)  ... Good food!  And all you can eat!  (It's a trap!)
The schedule: study, eat, study, sleep.  Very monotonous.  I thrive in it though.
The best part: I get to speak Japanese, all the time, and nobody can hold me back.  You thought I was good before?  I've made leaps and bounds since then.  You would hardly recognize me.
Any struggles?  Find out we're staying for nine weeks.  Absorbing all the information.  Trying to always feel, keep and share the Spirit.  I feel so drained.

(to AnnElyse)
I got the biggest surprise of my life out here.  You know how we teach "investigators", right?  Well, straight up, our sensei told us that the first lesson would have to be entirely in Japanese, we'd only been here three days.  We teach this investigator from China who speaks Japanese for a week 1/2.  I felt good about it; the spirit was there, the lessons made sense, our language was acceptable.  She committed to baptism by the end of it.
Next day comes, and our Chinese investigator is on our classroom waiting for us!  She's not even actually Chinese!
She's our other sensei.  She's already Mormon; even went on a mission.  And now she gets to teach us how to really teach.

(to Ben)
I can't believe I've already been in the MTC for two weeks!  Although I'm staying here for nine, for some reason.  ... We even took a second language evaluation and it was determined that all of our language skills were good enough to enter the field in 3 weeks.  I mean, we're not as good as the native Japanese district, obviously, but we're still conversational.  Everyone is a little bitter about our situation.  Probably because they first promised everyone three weeks, then extended it to nine, despite our skills.

(to Marilee)
Well, I'm out working hard learning Japanese.  I have to wear my Sunday clothes every single day.  Sometimes I wish I could take a break and go swimming; but I am not allowed to go swimming.
I really wish I could cook my own food.  The food that they give me here is delicious, but it is not very good for my body.  You are very lucky to have mom and dad cook good food for you.  By the way, what kind of food did Grace make?  Which one was your favorite?

(to Amy)
You sneaky you.  I saw that note in my luggage!  And that letter you wrote a while back.  Thanks.
Guess what? Going without your own first name for a while reaps blessings.  A guy asked about my name, and I said Paul, and I had the most sudden huge love for my own name that I'd never felt before because I'd taken it for granted.  Like, it just resonated within me.  It just sounded cool.
I'm taking diligent notes of most everything that I do here.  In a while, when I send my notebook home, you'll see just what I do here.
Have you ever just looked at someone and just loved them? A while back, when observing my District buddies, I did exactly that.  I thought to myself, "man.  That guy is going to be an awesome missionary." out of the blue even though I'd never even consider such a thing before.  weird.

(Emma)  I loved the Wobbuffet you drew me!  It looks just like him!  I will put it with all my other favorite drawings.  I love you!  Keep sending me pictures.

(to Julia)
The Elders here are poor deprived souls who can only sing according to their memories.  The result?  A LOT of out-of-tune, repetitive, bad chorus singing.  All the time.
As missionaries we also can't use slang.  So we can't say things like "dude, guys, boyz."  That's actually incredibly difficult to get over, because it's a natural part of our vocabulary.
We also go to the temple all the time.  every Tuesday and Sunday.  We also have to wear Sunday suits on those days.
So the MTC is actually like another school.  It actually used to be called the Language Training Center, I think.  Can you imagine if your school started at 7:00 AM, and ended at 9:00 PM?  In between that time, you have nine hours of hard core study/learning time  The PE class lasts for one hour, but you get to choose any sport to play that you like.
You know what's hard about the MTC?  The change.  The growth.  Growth can be uncomfortable.  I have to wake up at 6:30, go to bed at 10:30.  I have goals to memorize every scripture mastery in Japanese, memorize all the kanji in the Book of Mormon, read my scriptures every day, and to write to everyone who writes back.

Note from Linnea: I haven't read David's letter yet.  It was folded as an origami crane.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


We had a pikachu drawing contest during one of our boring meetings. We have iPads, after all. Here is my pikachu. 

Sent from my iPad


I should have gotten that second suit... We wear suits every Tuesday
and Sunday. I'm not sure if I'm here for 3 weeks or 9 weeks, but if
it's 9 then I definitely would miss the color variation.

i need a notebook, or some kind of notebook paper, so that I can write handwritten letters. Becca's will be way overdue by the time I get these materials, probably. Can't believe I forgot about that. Also, feel free to write letters via that missionary mail thing. thanks


Elder Cardon
Japan Nagoya Mission

Other mission things

There are 2 shimai s in our district. One (left) is from Mexico City
and knows like 10 languages. The other (right) is from Oregon and
studied Japanese for 6 years in school.

The old guy is our branch leader

Diglett Choro

Mission Letter Week 1

My P Day is on Wednesdays, here at the MTC. You may have thought that I forgot about you, or that I wasn't actually going to send a weekly mission email. Well, psych! Here I am, not dead and writing an email.  

There are a lot of things that have gone on here that I want to write about, but probably don't have to time to. I only get 60 minutes, and I'm doing my laundry and other emails simultaneously. MTC is really strict about exact obedience and following every time allocation. I haven't really had a moment of downtown, actually. 

Dear Mom and Dad,
     I was called a tool today. 
     Your Elder, Elder Cardon
(8/4/16 second day of the MTC) 

Well here at the MTC I've been put into a district that is made up entirely of people who also know Japanese very well, even better than I; the rest of the Elders are Halfs, who grew up with Japanese mothers. Literally. Every single other Elder in the District is a half. It's almost an honor to be recognized as on the same level of speaking as them, even though I am not really. Honestly, though, my Japanese had soared speaking-wise since we are encouraged to only speak in Japanese 24/7. 

Some interesting things about my district and stay here thus far: 

Everyone in the district played PoGo before coming out. The average level we reached was 21. 

I'm known here as the "Honorary Gaijin" (lit. honorary foreigner). I'm also called Cordon Bleu, like the food. Funny enough, we actually had cordon bleu on sunday for dinner, and some stranger shouted "Yes! Cordon Bleu!" (because they were excited to eat cordon bleu). I promptly swiveled my head and asked, "Yes? Who called my name?"

Here at the MTC, everyone looks good all the time because we're all wearing our best dress all the time. So as me and my boyz are walkign down the street with our suits I can't help but thinking, "AAAAAAHH YEAH!!" 

The other Elders' names in my district are as follows: Elder Wheeeeeeeeezemann (my companion), Elder Barbie, Elder Handlebar, Elder Doreo, Elder Diglett, and myself, Elder Cordon Bleu. 

We have excessive amount of study time. Like, 12 hours, I swear. We wake up, study, eat, study, eat again, study again, eat again, study again, and then prep for bed. We have chunks of three hours regularly specifically set aside to study. Don't worry, we use this time extremely productively. We talk of Japanese, think of Japanese, sing of Japanese, read of Japanese, everything Japanese. My favorite things we've said include, "Don't touch my moustache" (as in douitashimashite) and "I got toes" (as in arigatou). I'd type in hiragana but this computer seems to lack that capability. 

Hey, shout-out to my uncle Jeff Cardon. You know that Elder you told me to find here, Elder Wall? Well, I actually found him. (well, more like he found me..) He didn't really match your description, but it's all good. He came up to me and immediately asked if I knew Jeff Cardon, and I was like, "yeah!" He said that I looked like you, else he wouldn't have asked. Go figure. 

Our group (erm.. district) is a bit infamous here. Since we all know Japanese pretty well, people are jealous and keep their distance. I mean, they're missing out on a great opportunity but whatever. We just head on over to the Japanese district made up of actually fluent Elder and Sisters (well of course; they're mostly actually from Japan). You can learn a lot when you don't have a clue what is going on. 

In our classroom setting, we've had to do self-introduction everyday since we arrived here. The reason being that every single day since we've arrived, we've had a different sensei teaching us. It's kinda annoying, but on the other hand I'm getting really good at the thing. We have an actual sensei, but he keeps dipping out to go on vacation. And so come in the subs. But it's cool. I learned an onomonopia; byunbyun. Look it up. 

The Japanese section of the MTC has an overarching motto: Ai shiteimasu! and shinpai shi naide.

I just have to talk about my morning because they are just so interesting. We wake up at 6:30, right? Well, the manner of our waking up is pretty funny. The sisters' in our district decided to be smart and set their alarms in increments, starting at 6:00 and gradually rising to 6:30. Well, as Elders of course we all set alarms in the most profound way we can. Basically what we decided to do was set all of our alarms, about six of them, at 6:29; exactly one minute before we're supposed to be up and out of bed and hitting the showers. If we're not actually out of bed at 6:30, we're technically breaking rules. Waking up to six alarms in such a manner is pretty brutal; it's like a sucker punch to the belly every day. Also, the lights we have don't have any settings. What I mean by that is that when they turn on, they are at the full brightness and glory of the sun setting. I'm on the top bunk, so there is no avoiding the pain of the searing rays burning into my retinas each morning. No lie, it takes a full two minutes for my poor eyes to adjust. But... it definitely does its job. (BTW mom, my towel is rubbing off on me. Literally. By the time I take a shower in the evenings, I have just a little bit of scruff coming in. When I dry off, I'm left with the fluffy remains of towel posted all over my face. Nice, eh?) 

There are too many stories to share; I can't possibly laugh about them all with you. But tune in next time to hear about volleyball adventures!  


Elder Cardon
Japan Nagoya Mission

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Greetings from the MTC!

I'm allowed 10 minutes to email you all and tell you I'm OK; I haven't

died yet or anything like that. I officially have an iPad on my

mission so I can do things like this now \^O^/ Turns out that I did

make the intermediate class, and all the other elders in it (5) are

halfs with Japanese mothers to teach them the language. There are 2

sisters also in the class; one is Mexican and the other

American--cool, right?

There's still a lot of confusion as to whether or not I'll be here 3

or 9 weeks.

I need AE's email address. Don't not forget that my next email also

needs to go to Katie, Michael J, and David Messina.

Got to go! Love you!!

Cardon choro

Sent from my iPad