Happy New Year! On Monday we celebrated! We were invited to eat lunch with the Nagamini Shimai and the Kumamoto Choro at the Aokis home. Good company and great food. We all ate until we could not eat any more and then took home enough for another two meals.
The stove in the middle of the table was for a big pot of stew. There were three more trays of food that didn't fit on the table.
After lunch we missionaries hurried home to our apartment to watch the Muppet's Christmas Carol. Shimizu and Tsuboi Elders came also. Clements Choro got permission from President Margetts for us to watch it. We borrowed Ikegama Kyodai's projector so we would not have to watch on the computer screen. It worked great!
Bess and Villalobos, Bagley, Watanabe, Clements and Iino Choro.
A full house!!
After the movie and popcorn, we went with Carroll and Uchida Shimai to dinner with Matsuzaki Kyodai and Shimai. They took us to the best sushi restaurant that we have been to. The dinner was good and so was the company. Sister Matsuzaki asked Tom what kind of bread he liked best. He said raisin bread. Saturday they showed up to give him Melon Pan and Raisin Bread. They were very delicious. He ate alot that afternoon for lunch.
After we finished with the sushi we went with Villalobos and Oba Choro to teach a joint lesson in Shimizu. What a way to start the New Year!
Tuesday slowed down some. We attended District meeting and then went to lunch at Bishop Koide's home. The meal was to die for and Li Gang had the day off and was also there!
front row: Koide, Carroll, Uchida Shimai, Bess and Tom. back row: Li, Clements and Watanabe Choro and Bishop Koide.
Wednesday was the day we had been waiting a year for, Tom passed the driving test on the third try. We had been fasting and praying for him to pass. Tuesday night he received some inspiration in the form of questions. Should he or should he not brake when going into a turn? He had been told both ways and had not been braking. When turning right which lane should he turn into when there are two lanes going in his direction? He had been turning into the inside lane as taught in the US. He was up late into the night studying these two issues. He found out that he was doing both wrong on the tests. The driver is to brake going into a turn and is to turn into the outside lane, not the inside lane. He changed his driving and passed the test, but only got 70 out of the 100 points. The bare minimum to pass! He did not check his blind spot on two turns and drove a little too slow. Thank goodness for fasting, prayer and the promptings of the Holy Ghost!
Doesn't he look happy, maybe relieved? Bess, Tom, Carroll and Uchida Shimai.
Thursday and Friday was spent studying, Eikaiwa meetings, baking and taking out banana bread. Bess also had the help of a good friend and cut her own hair.
Saturday started with a 9am Ward missionary meeting. At noon we learned to write Kanji. There are only 13,000 kanji so we did not learn alot, but had fun and learned that we could draw them. Thank you Brother Honda!
Bess, Carroll and Uchida Shimai.
Bess with her Kanji name Be-su
Tom with his Kanji name To-mu.
The completed projects! Uchida and Carroll Shimai, Tom and Bess, Honda Kyodai, Watanabe and Clements Choro and Furusho Kyodai who is waiting for his mission call.
At 2pm we taught Eikaiwa. We learned about the Japanese New Year traditions. We found out that we didn't need to go through all this work to winterize our apartment. All we needed to do was buy a few cases of saki to keep us warm each night. We had a hard time keeping a straight face when we were told that.
At 4:30pm we met Villalobos and Oba Choro again in Shimizu at the Penwell's house to teach a joint lesson with them. W hat a pleasure!
Sister Priddis in Sasebo called to see when we would be home as she is shipping the Pamela's Baking mix that finally made it across the pond. Yeah, we will be having pancakes and muffins next week.
We stopped at what we thought was a grocery store Saturday evening after the joint in Shimizu, it turned out to be the best Daiso (dollar + store) that we've found in Kumamoto. We picked up little round tins to bake muffins and birthday presents for grandchildren. We can't find muffins tins here.
Sunday we committed to bear our testimonies in Sacrament meeting in Nihongo. We practiced all week. In fact Brother Maesawa spent all our Tuesday's lesson working with Tom. When it came down to the time to do them, Bess was first and then Tom, he panicked halfway through and babbled the second half. Clements Choro understood and translated it to the English speakers perfectly. Need to keep practicing.
We broke our fast with a delicious meal of creamy chicken and cheese soup, salad, and baking powder biscuits (gluten free).
Good Food! We ate like gluttons.
We love you,
Grandpa and Grandma
Dad and Mom
Tom and Bess