Sunday, August 14, 2011

Before Too Much More Time Passes

I've been trying to write a few experiences at a time, but it's taking too long.  I figure I'd better write while things are fresh.  Here's the layout of what we did while in Japan (and a little before):

  • Sunday (7/31) caught a plane in Portland, headed to Salt Lake City and finally, to Los Angeles.  #1's flight was delayed.  It had a very short stop in Las Vegas and then headed for L.A.  Met up with #1 and went and got a Big Mac for dinner.
  • Monday (8/1) caught a plane from Los Angeles and headed to the Haneda Airport in Tokyo.
  • Tuesday (8/2) from Haneda, we caught a couple different trains trying to find where we could catch a bus to Sendai.  Caught a 9am bus and arrived in Sendai at 2pm.  Caught a few trains to get to Furukawa.  Arrived around 5pm; called Asano Kyoudai and took a taxi to the church.  Brother Asano took us to our apartment to drop our things off.  We returned to the church with the thought of going to a festival down the street and grabbing dinner there but realized that morning would come pretty early, so we walked home and ate some food we'd brought with us and crashed for the night.
  • Wednesday (8/3) walked to the church (494 steps--we counted) and had a meeting at 7:10am.  Asano Kyoudai drove us out to Ishinomaki.  We cleaned the dirt out from under a family's house.  We finished by lunchtime.  We were then taken to clean up and gut the first floor of an apartment building.  Our first day was spent cleaning up the majority of the walkway.  After working, the guys came to our apartment and made curry rice for us.  We were told that some more people would be arriving the next day.
  • Thursday (8/4) woke with very painful eyes (they were that way most of Wednesday).  Spent the day in Ishinomaki working on the walkway and in the first couple apartments.  Dealt with some pretty nasty stuff--raw sewage?  It only lasted for a few minutes.  Ugh!  Worked until 3:30pm.  The guys came to our apartment again and made gyouza and ??.  The Smith's from Alberta, Canada, arrived in the evening.  The mom and two daughters stayed in our apartment; the dad (who served a mission in Sendai) and the sons stayed in the guys' apartment.
  • Friday (8/5) at 3am, #1 woke me by pulling on my arm.  She'd been breaking out in little spots since the first work day, so I was already concerned, she said something completely strange to me, and I thought she was hallucinating, so I was up most of the rest of the night worrying about her.  Crazy, huh?--More on this later.  Friday, we were driven out to Natori to make lanterns for the festival that would take place on the 13th.  Many sad stories were shared.  At noon-ish, we went and had soba at a restaurant and were taken on a tour of some very devastated towns as well as a trip to Matsushima--a tourist town.  We arrived home quite late but went and bought the food for making okonomiyaki and had it at the guys' apartment.  
  • Saturday (8/6) Returned to Natori and worked on more lanterns.  Around noon, we left and returned to Ishinomaki to introduce the Smith's to the work at the apartments.  We worked for a few hours and went home.
  • Sunday (8/7) caught an early morning train to go to church at the Nagamachi Ward.  A nice couple sat next to us and helped us get to the subway.  We arrived at church in the middle of the sacrament, but walked in after and sat up front to hear the testimonies.  There were a number of people I recognized.  The chapel was packed.  We left with one of the members who took us to a shrine that looked over Sendai.  We went to the Tanabata Festival and up to a 300 foot tall Buddha statue.
  • Monday (8/8) went to the apartments and finished them.  The Asano's threw a takoyaki party for us, and I helped make the takoyaki.  Dave Whipple and a Korean (Brother Lee) arrived.  We caught a bus at 10:30pm to head to Tokyo.  We slept all night on the bus.
  • Tuesday (8/9) arrived in Tokyo.  Put our baggage in lockers at the train station.  The guys did a run around in Tokyo.  #1 and I went to the temple and to the park across the street from the temple.  We ran into a couple of missionaries.  Every Tuesday the Tokyo missionaries have a temple trip.  We chatted with them for awhile and headed to the church headquarters in Tokyo.  Elder Grames wasn't there, but I got to chat with him via phone.  We did some shopping, returned to the train station and got our bags and headed for the airport.  While at the airport, we played cards, had dinner and got online for a bit.  We also got to chat with the Warden via Skype. 
  • Wednesday (8/10) caught the plane to Los Angeles.
  • Tuesday (8/9) arrived in L.A. and went through customs.  I caught a flight directly to Portland.  #1 caught a flight to Las Vegas and connected with her flight to Portland.
Now that the basics of the week are outlined, I will work on giving more specifics in the next few days, so you can see what we really did.


Alyson said...

Matsushima is one of my very favorite places, and I've been so anxious to hear how it is. Was everything washed out and destroyed? Or are those adorable little shops still functional? Please, please tell me all about Matsushima.

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