Monday, September 30, 2013

August & September 2013

Vacation Bible School at the Chapel of Hope on base. These two cute twin boys belong to our Primary President.

The Elders in our District love it when we take them on base to eat American Food.
For some reason it appears that my hand is on the shoulder of Elder next to me, but it is the hand of the Elder behind him.

This is the gentleman who translated his menu into English for us. 
I gave him a Book of Mormon before we moved out the neighborhood and into our new apartment.
He makes the best Yakisoba. Yum!!! 

Ancient Buddhist Temple (Sensoji) in Asakusas. is one of Tokyo’s most colorful and popular temple. We were here three years ago with two of my brothers, my sister-in-law and my father. I love this place! A shopping street of over 200 meters called, Nakamise, leads from the outer gate to the to the temple’s gate, the Hozomon. The shopping street has a history of several centuries. 

Traditionally when moving into a new apartment, or home in Japan, it is customary for one to deliver small gifts to your neighbors. Often it is detergent! Yes, detergent. The reason being is that dirt and dust become unsettled when you move in. You stir things up when you arrive with your car, truck or bike filled with moving items or boxes. We were told that our neighbors would prefer something such as chocolates from the United States. We bought chocolates on base and had someone print in Japanese our last name, and what apartment we are in. We also included that we are missionaries! What fun we have had delivering these to many of our Japanese neighbors. 

We traveled by train to Ensohima a small island, about 4 km in circumference, at the mouth of the Katase River, which flows into Sagami Bay in Japan. Several shrine buildings are found around the island and are dedicated to Benten, a popular goddess of good fortune, wealth, music and knowledge. It was a very hot, humid day! I believe I experienced a small heat stroke. We were warned that the summer months would be grueling…and let’s just say that has been an understatement. 

Since Benton is the goddess of wealth, visitors wash their money at the shrine’s pond hopeful wealth will come their way. We are still waiting

The USS George Washington arrives home after a summer deployment. Over 5,000 are on this ship including many individuals in our ward. Watching this ship arrive brought back many memories.

We were there to welcome the GW home and to give hugs to our YSA’s. We missed them while they were gone! 

Majestic Mt. Fuji This photo was taken with my iPhone camera from the bus. Pretty awesome picture, I think.

Look at these green, lush rice fields. Another photo taken from the bus on the way to Mt. Fuji.

We were counseled from time to time to visit historical places here in Japan to appreciate their culture and customs. We are grateful that the base offers tours that we can take on occasion. The first one we took was to the Yoshida Fire Festival. It was a lot of fun!

The Yoshida Fire Festival is held every year on August 26th to appease the goddess of Mt. Fuji and to keep the volcano from erupting another year. Yoshida no Himatsuri also ceremoniously serves as the closing ceremony of the Fuji climbing season. For this lively two day festival, named one of Japan’s three most unique festivals and celebrated for over 500 years. the entire community comes out to watch the burning of the large “taimatsu” torches and the parade of two portable shrines through the streets. 

I couldn’t resist taking this picture of these adorable little boys who appeared to be playing, rock, paper, scissors while we were waiting for the festival to begin.