Friday, September 2, 2011

Minasan no Jiko Shoukai (Self-Introductions)

After we'd finished cleaning, I went around and asked everyone to introduce themselves.  This post is bittersweet because I means I'm nearly done posting about Japan.

The crew in the first video came after we'd arrived.  Dave, the first guy, came the day before we left (this video was taken on his first day of work).  The Smith's arrived two days after us.  I was SO happy to have the women in our apartment.  I had been intimidated by the fact that #1 and I were completely alone and had no means of communication and knew where no one else was staying.

As Norma (the last person) introduces herself, look behind her.  You will see one of the four piles of debris we pulled from the apartments.  Even before we left town, trucks were hauling it away.  I have been asked what was going to be done with the stuff, but I, to be honest, don't know.  I'm sure it will be added to the mountains of stuff already there, and then I've heard it will eventually be buried.  How they will do that, I don't know.  It is such a small country and is so full of people and buildings, but we shall see.  The Japanese are quite industrious and ingenious.  They'll figure out a good answer, I'm sure.

The next video is Nishimura Takumi--a.k.a. Takumi kun--last names are first in Japan.  He's spent his entire summer here.  He translates for himself as he goes, but I'll also translate for you below....

T:  What would you like me to say?
J:   Anything's good.
T:  Anything's good....Okay.  Hello.  I am Nishimura Takumi.  My favorite food is Ramen.  Ramen.  I like Ramen.
J:  And where did you come from?
T:  My hometown is Kanegawa.  I am from Kanegawa.  And, my favorite thing to do is to fish.  Fishing.
J:  Yes.  Thank you very much.
The next video is of sweet Brother Asano.  I honestly can't make out the middle part of what he says.  He says his name and that he likes jokes and something else.  Other, more experienced, Japanese speakers want to help me out here?  Then he says, "Is that good?" and we're done.

I was very thankful for the time I got to spend with this man...Brother Yamauchi.  What a good person!...

Certain members of the church would come along from time to time to drive or other things, but Brother Yamauchi joined us for two days--drove and cleaned some of the nastier things.  He's the one that cleaned the room full of water in the last apartment.  That water had been standing for five months by the time we got there, so it was, needless to say NASTY.  As I was cleaning the front room, he and Takumi were cleaning out that room.  At one point, I turned to them and asked, "Brother Yamauchi, how are you doing?"  In funny English with a Japanese accent, he answered, "I amu dyingu."  We all had a good laugh, but then I saw him heft a big bag of black sludge from the room, and I knew he wasn't kidding.

Another note on Brother Yamauchi:  After he shared the history of the church building in Furukawa (see this post), he shared that the day after the tsunami, he and one of the sisters from the ward were under some of the homes trying to take care of plumbing problems caused by the tsunami (most likely some of the farther out homes that weren't completely taken under like those we were dealing with).  He said they were dredging out raw sewage and it was freezing cold (remember it was mid-March--very cold in Japan).  He said as they worked, they shivered.  They would eat their lunch on their breaks and shiver.  The woman ended up getting very sick and didn't return to help him.  She didn't come to church for a long time because she was so sick.  Wow!  Can you see why I'm so grateful to have gotten to rub shoulders with these kind of people?  Just so selfless and giving of themselves.

This was my favorite.  The Smith's were just...Wow!  I really don't have words to describe them, but I hope I get to be around them again in my life.  

As a little warning, forgive my obnoxious laugh.  Ugh!

...You didn't know my best friend was along, did you?  Neither did I, but it was sure great.  I'm sure he's sitting there reading my blog right now, don't you think?

One funny note....When Dave arrived the night before this, I introduced myself to him and welcomed him.  He said, "Oh yah, I read your blog."  "Read" as in one time, not like he's a habitual reader.  I'm sure he'd done a google search or something looking up Sendai and stuff and was directed to my blog.  I couldn't help but laugh, but then, I have to be honest, there's this little bit of fear that strikes my soul when someone says that....Suddenly, I know they know way more about what goes on in my mind and life than most of my closest friends (unless they read my blog too).  That's a bit intimidating.

What was even more intimidating was the fact that when I contacted one of the leaders of the church in Tokyo and asked him what he felt would be good for me to bring for the Japanese people, he wrote and told me and then wrote again immediately after and said, "Oh, you might be the Julie whose blog I just read last night."  Ugh!  That was WAY unnerving.  Hope I'm being careful enough in what I'm writing here.

There you have it, that was part of the crew.  There was also Junya, who we worked with for the first few days; Joey and Jason.  Another young man, Lee, arrived the night we left.  He was from Korea, spoke great English and very little Japanese.

I just got word yesterday that a friend of  mine was on the plane heading over to help.  Yay!  So glad he got the chance.  What a truly remarkable experience it all was!

I believe I have one or two more posts of the nitty gritty of this trip then I'd like to do a big wrap up post.  As I ponder on the events of this summer, it's funny how they all tie into each other and one thing leads to another.  That will probably happen after my kids get back to school and life gets back to normal (HaHa!  I can't believe I said that either..."Normal."  What is that?  I mean, of course, when life gets back to abnormal; just a different kind of abnormal than I've gotten used to these past few months).


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