Friday, March 11, 2011

Natsukashii (fond memories)

This is the mission home of the Japan Sendai Mission.  We came here first and spent about three days receiving training from other missionaries on how to bow properly (I was terrible at this; don't know if I ever got it right.  No one ever acted offended, so hopefully, I mastered it at some point.  Still don't know what I was doing wrong), how to introduce ourselves to people on the street, etc.  It was a nice way to acclimate ourselves to our new world.
The first area I was called to serve in was Aomori.  It's far north on Honshu.  On the map, there's a little dip at the top central part of the island; that's where Aomori is located.  It was right on the ocean, and I remember walking to view the ocean frequently.

It was an entire day on the train from the mission home and three transfers.  I went alone.  I was sure I would miss a train somewhere along the way, but thankfully, I arrived just fine.

Aomori is famous for its apples.  I remember seeing orchards where the workers were on ladders wrapping each apple on the tree so that it would have even coloring all over.  Amazingly tedious work, I'm sure.

I arrived in Aomori in July.  It was very warm.  I transferred in January.  At that point, the snow was amazing.  Thanks to some very patient companions--Sisters Okimoto, Tazura, and Nakamura, I learned pretty much everything I needed to know to be a missionary in Aomori.

Next, I transferred to Yamagata.  I served here from January to July(?).  Yamagata was known to have the record hot temperature in Japan (at that time), so I stepped out of freezing Aomori to balmy Yamagata.  It grew colder a few weeks after I arrived, so it was an interesting shock to my system to have two falls and two winters in one year.

I loved Yamagata.  I think I felt like I had things pretty well figured out by the time I arrived here.  The members were so warm and wonderful.  They were in Aomori too, but by the time I got to Yamagata, I could understand what they were saying and I could hold a pretty good conversation too (or at least I thought I could).

I'm not sure if I remember all of my companions from this time frame, but I'm going to do my best (they may even be out of order)--Thompson, Honda (my across the hall neighbor from the dorms at BYU), Morii, Yoneda(?), and Sala.

My last area was Nagamachi in Sendai (close to the mission home).  It was a very hilly area.  We were on bikes the entire time in Japan, but I hadn't done hills like Sendai's before this point.  By the time I got home, I had VERY buff calves; without the constant bike riding, though, they quickly returned to normal--zanen!

This building didn't exist when I first arrived, it was under construction, so we met in a rented space.  This building was dedicated in August of 1990.  I departed in November.  We witnessed many people join the church in this area.  It was wonderful!

Here, I was companions with Sisters Yoneda and ?, Takahashi, and McNair.

What a wonderful experience it ALL was!  What a blessing to get to serve in such a wonderful part of the world and to get to meet so many great people.

So, today, I worry about them especially those from the Nagamachi Ward.  As far as I know, the missionaries currently serving in Nagamachi are not yet accounted for.  I hope they are safe and are able to report in soon.  My prayers and my family's prayers are with them.


Matt Durham said...

ahhh...the Mission home....still remember that....and we served together in Yamagata for maybe a month or so, then I was transferred to Koriyama....I served over a year in the Sendai (Main city and South Districts). So sad to see the devastation.

Val States Ziegler said...

I don't think I have any pix of the mission home. Thanks for posting these. Thanks for the flashback memories.
I was with you & the rest in that crowded apartment in Yamagata... for a week. Then off to Koriyama, I think.
You have an amazing memory of what occurred a while ago.

Alyson said...

I loved that short, crowded while in Yamagata when you were my companion. I would have loved for that to go on for at least another month or two. I don't have any pictures of the hombu either! You were smart to take some.

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