Yes. I am finally in Japan. It's a little weird to think that I'm finally in the place that the Lord called me to preach his Gospel, but I'm sure I'll get used to it soon enough.
I'd like to first talk about some of the things that are strange about Japan. One is the toilets. They have remote controls for all of their functions (if you're interested I'm sure that you could look up a picture of what I'm talking about and you'll understand). I haven't been adventurous enough yet to try out all of their functionality and I may or may not be during my time in Japan, but we'll see I guess.
Another thing is the cars here. They all have their names written in English letters, but the names are all kind of weird. Most of the foreign cars (to the Japanese) have normal names, but all of the Toyotas and Hondas and Mazdas are called something that they're not. I think that the only two that have their correct names on them are a Honda Fit and Toyota Prius. Also there are some cars that have normal car names, but they're on the wrong kind of car. There have been a couple Honda Odyssey's but the're more like a wagon than a minivan. It's weird. And then there are at least six different kinds of Toyota minivans. There's the Alphard, Estema, Esquire, Noah, Vellfire, and Voxy. I'm not exactly sure why but there are.
And then there's also the fact that probably 90% of the cars on the road are about as small as you can find in America. I was looking at one of them and they're so narrow that I asked my companion if he thought we could fit next to each other in one of them. And we're not even big people.
Also, there are some 'normal' foods here that are actually different. Like all of the eggs have orange yokes instead of yellow. Some are even closer to red. I'm not sure how I feel about it. Also, there seems to be no such thing as good bread here. All they have is this silly white bread that says おいしい on it which means delicious. It's not bad, but it's not good either, and there's definitely no nutritional value in it. But I'll probably get over it.
Some other standouts from this week are the weather. I'm in Hirosaki which is in the furthest north zone, so it's pretty cold. Most of the sidewalks and roads are clear, but there are massive piles of snow all over. And then today it decided to start snowing again. So in the last couple of hours we've gotten a couple more inches. It's pretty fun. Also of note is the fact that our area is rather large. I'm not sure how big it is in square miles, but we have two maps. A really big one that shows our whole area with a little red rectangle on it, and another one that is a full size map of the little rectangle which ends up being like an hour walk in each direction from where our apartment is. So we're not really in danger of accidentally leaving the area, which is nice I guess. But it's also sad because most of the area won't have an opportunity to meet missionaries unless for some reason they come into our little sphere of influence and tell us that they're interested in the Gospel. Then we could probably figure out a bus/train method of getting to them, but for the purposes of finding, we're pretty busy just in the places that we can walk to.
My trainer is great. He's half Japanese, but he's also the son of one of the members of my branch presidency at the MTC, so that's pretty cool. He speaks both English and Japanese pretty well (English fluently) which is good for me because I don't speak either. :) He says his Japanese isn't that good because of how long he lived in America, but it sounds fine to me. I don't understand what he says in Japanese most of the time so that's kind of hard, but I'm getting better slowly but surely.
I hope you're all doing well,
The pictures are both funny ones that members of my MTC district will appreciate (sorry everyone else). My MTC companion I'm sure will enjoy the dude on the poster and his sense of fashion, and the other one should be appreciated by all of the members of my district. I'll try to get a good one of my new companion and I by next week.
Mommy (and maybe Poppy),
My week has been pretty okay. I got here and my companion Elder Free (who happens to be the son of one of the members of my MTC branch presidency) said something like we don't have any progressing investigators. So that was fun. I'm not sure what I expected, but one or two would have been nice. So now we have one that's kind of like an eternal investigator, and another person that seemed to be interested (from what I heard of the Japanese conversation that my companion had with him) and gave us his contact info. Hopefully we start to have a little more excitement happen here soon. I'd like to say that I plan to lead our companionship into battle as it were but I don't really speak Japanese so that's too bad.
I got on the new time zone pretty quick. I haven't taken any melatonin since I've been here, and I attribute it to two things: the bed at the MTC was so hard that it may have been able to cut diamonds if it were appropriately sharpened, and the fact that here we're actually outside and walking around all day long rather than being stuck in a stuffy classroom sitting in a chair all day. So I guess that's good.
My mission president seems like a pretty nice guy. I learned part way through the MTC (and I don't think I've remembered to pass it on yet), but he's actually only going to be the mission president until this summer. I don't remember why I thought he had just been put in. Maybe he said in his bio 'I got put in this summer' or something like that and then just never changed it. I'm not sure. But I've had a couple different people say that the new guy is really nice. He's actually a Japanese guy though, so that might be hard if he doesn't speak very good English.
There is no good bread. Peanut butter is terribly expensive, and there are no regular member meals in this branch (but I guess they have a basket of food for us every fast Sunday and sometimes the rich people in the ward will take us to all-you-can-eat places sometimes). So I might lose weight. Probably not though. Also on the subject of eating, eggs are pretty much the elixir of life right now (the eggs have orange/red yokes). I guess this companionship has bought 6 packs of ten eggs the last few weeks and we did that again today. So that's fun. We have eggs at least once a day but sometimes twice and we finished the eggs from last week this morning. So it's basically like five eggs per person per day. I'm not sure if that fits in the word of wisdom, but eggs are pretty cheap here so I guess we'll just keep eating them until we get a budget increase. I'll let you know later if there are any foods later that I just desperately need to be shipped to me. I guess that's something that a lot of Elders here have their family do is send them food that they don't sell in Japan.
Also there are at least six kinds of Toyota minivans: Alphard, Estema, Esquire, Voxy, Vellfire, and Noah. Interestingly all of the cars here have English names but I'll say more about cars later.
If there are any other important things they have fled from my mind so I guess you'll have to hear about them tomorrow or in the next couple weeks.
I love you the most,