Dear Family and Friends,
Things are going well over here in Japan still. This past week hasn`t been too eventful as far as I can remember though.
A couple weeks ago Maruyama was baptized. I started teaching him with Elder Ito, I probably already mentioned that before but this email has a picture. The other picture is after Maria`s baptism. I plan on copying all my pictures onto one of those 2 gigabyte memory cards and mailing it home. You could post some online if you wanted. I`ve taken about 300 pictures so far. Over half are since Christmas, when I bought the new camera. People are often curious about what missionaries eat so I`ve been taking pictures of the different foods I eat, at the apartment and outside.
This past week I went to the Instant Ramen Museum. Apparently Ikeda (An area I go streeting often) is the birthplace of Instant Ramen. I took some pictures and it was a little interesting. They had a Make Your Own Cup of Noodles area for $3, but there were too many people so I didn`t bother. They also had an area for groups of people (mostly school children) to make their own instant ramen noodles from scratch. That requires a reservation but I watched through the glass walls. I took some pictures and grabbed a pamphlet that I`ll probably send sometime.
We had a 3 letter spelling bee for the few young kids in English class. They had fun. They got Toys R Us gift cards as prizes.
Last Sunday two people came to church by themselves. One of them was a Korean lady who recently moved into the area. She saw us a few times and figured that we were Christians and asked us where our church was and stuff. She said she`d bring her kids for Primary next week. The other person was someone I gave an English Class flyer to and talked with for just a couple minutes. I didn`t expect either one to be there that week.
Also I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting about setting goals. It went well. I think some of the members were surprised I can actually speak understandable Japanese. Most of them didn`t think I could speak much because I don`t talk to most of them a lot. To be honest it`s really hard to remember everyone`s names. I sort of feel bad about that but not too bad. Sometimes when at a members house they`ll look at my name badge during the prayer because they don`t remember my name.
Nishi (Japanese for west) is a fairly common name, or part of a name here. I`ve known Nishi, Kawanishi (West River), Nakanishi (Middle West), and a few other variations. I haven`t seen so many Kita, Minami, or Higashi`s (North, South, and East)
No one anwered my question about how to make good Tomato Soup from scratch, so the flour doesn`t clump. I`d rather have too many replies than none. :P Also a recipe for Hiroshima Okonomiyaki would be nice if you could find one.
As far as my birthday goes some CDs of General conference talks in English and Japanese would be nice. MP3 files are fine. Also if you could find a set of Kanji flash cards it would be handy I think. A good set should have several hundred to a thousand probably, ON and KUN readings, stroke order, and example words. I don`t know how much they cost though and they`re not a necessity. I`ve finally really gotten my Kanji study going well. I`m up to about 170 kanji I think and am learning about 2-3 a day. 170 is more than it sounds, even though they have over 1600 standard kanji. My comprehension when reading the Book of Mormon in Japanese is really increasing.
Well, that`s it for today. An English Class student is taking us out to lunch in 20 minutes and we still need to finish shopping.