We went everywhere this week: Nagano, Nagoya, Nagano again, Saku, etc. I don't think I was hardly in Ueda.
Monday: we spent literally all day on a district activity with the Nagano elders. Left at 10:00 AM and returned 5:55 PM with just enough time to shoot off an email on the way home. Sorry I couldn't sneak any pictures into that window frame.
The district activity was great! We had to fix Elder Smith's bike for the third time in a week before we could do anything fun, because he has gotten a flat three times on the same tire and the only place to fix it is the Asahi in Nagano. Actually, the third time got flat even with a new tire and tube, within a day of the replacement, so he got that one free. Nice!
Third time seems to be the charm up here in Ueda. We've run out of rice in the apartment, and you can't make hardly anything here without rice; to top it off, we couldn't do any grocery shopping on Monday because of the district activity. Thus, it's been a perfect week for fasting! We've fasted three times in the last six days. Count your many blessings.
The district activity might have been worth it. We went out to eat lunch first at an all-you-can-eat crepery. You don't feel full until 20 min later, right? Well, until those 20 min are up I can sure pack a punch. I literally was cramping over afterwards as my stomach tried to cram all the carbs into my bloated stomach that just wanted throw up relief. I didn't, though. Phew.
And the rest of the time we saw a huge Bhuddist temple and a quality free zoo. It was awesome.
Tuesday: service and fasting day. We helped pick kaki (parmesans) for an orphanage that, like every typical movie, is way up on the mountainside; isolated, self-sustained, and the only way up there is a loooooong, windy road nestled within the forest.
We were literally on the train for 8 hours. The meeting was only 2 1/2. It was great to see Wesemann Choro again; we had a great catching-up session that was lots of fun.
Thursday: koukan (exchange) in Nagano. Perhaps the weirdest part of all that was riding Elder Jones' bike for a day. (From my journal:)
Elder Jones' bike is the classic All-American Little Red Flyers Wagon. It is small and feels like a toy, but a very old robust one at that. The handles are squishy, the seat cushion plumpy, and the seat lowered so you never have to lower yourself from it even when you stop; all things are maximized for comfort. There's a basket on the back for convenience, and a little bell on the front. The gears are old and look like they won't work, yet they do because the thing is robust.
It's been so long since I've had cheese like that! (You can't really buy dairy products here in Japan.)
Saturday: Transfer calls: We got a transfer call on Saturday morning. Guess who's leaving! Honestly, we totally forgot all about them because we thought we were safe. Tip: you're never safe.
Let me tell you why they were so weird.
I just arrived in Japan, and Elder Smith is my trainer. Your trainer takes you through a course in 12 weeks, showing you how to become a proper functional missionary. Our training was cut down to 10 weeks because of some missionaries leaving early for Christmas.
Elder Smith is "dying" (returning home) after my training.
Together, we had the usual chance to whitewash an area. We start from scratch, and build it up again. There's a lot of work involved.
So why is it that considering all this my companion is being transferred on Tuesday? !We spent all of Saturday in shock over the matter.
My new companion will be Elder Miyaki; a Japanese Elder. Actual, Elder Smith trained the missionary who trained Elder Miyaki, so they know each other well. In missionary family terms, that makes Elder Miyaki my nephew, because Elder Smith is my Dad, he trained another and that would be my older brother. However, because Elder Miyaki will be taking over my training he is also my Step-Dad. Our family tree is ruined; this has never happened before that I know of. I meet my new companion tomorrow.
On another note, I've recently been thinking that I want to try my hand at bread making again--luckily, I know the perfect place to do it: what better place to make bread than in a rice-maker?
I lost my toothbrush on the exchange -- now, I'm using a Japanese toothpick of a toothbrush.
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