Sunday, February 28, 2010

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family and Friends,

How are all of you? We`re doing good over here. Yesterday I guess there was a Tsunami, though if no one had told me I wouldn`t of ever known. I think there were 3 waves probably all under one meter in height. Not enough to do anything here. Though it sounds like maybe some city in the Hiroshima mission (To the west) got a little flooded and up in Hiroshima (The north island of Japan) there was some trouble. As for Shingu everyone just went about life as normal. There was an announcement to stay off the beach but that was pretty much it. There were also people watching the beach to make sure no one went on it. We went inside in the afternoon when President McIntyre told us to.

Now my companion has a bike problem. His pedal fell off. Unfortunately it was on our way to Katsura, a 45 minute bike ride from Shingu. We were about 30 minutes out when it fell off so we had to turn around and come back. My companion did his best pedaling with one pedal but it looks pretty uncomfortable and exhausting.The bar that the pedal screws into went bad and the threading is gone so he needs a new one. We went to a few different places and the only place in Shingu that has the tool for taking the part off was closed the first time we looked. Thankfully when we came to do email we rode by and it was open. We`ll go back later in the day to get it fixed.

`Dear Andrew:
Congratulations! We are pleased to offer you admission to Brigham Young University-Idaho. We look forward to having you on campus and feel that you will be an asset to this university.`

I don`t know about Provo yet, but I`m not too worried either way with that. If I get in it would be nice but if I don`t I`m fine with that too.

I think that`s it for this week. We`re heading up for Zone conference again this week. We`ll leave early Wednesday morning, spend the day with the Elders in Wakayama, head up for conference early Thursday morning make it back down to Tanabe in the evening, and head back to Shingu Friday morning. I bought a shougi board I haven`t ever played it before but I studied the rules. I`ll see if anyone will play shougi with me on the train. There`s definitely time.


Elder West.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Texting, ah, Texting.

Rebekah seems determined to get me to learn how to text.  I submit that if you're going to pick up the phone anyway, why not just talk?
I don't think I have the kind of coordination it takes to be awesome (like Rebekah) at texting.  I'd probably fall down an open manhole or something....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Our Man in Japan

Dear family,

How are all of you doing? Still good I hope.

No I didn`t transfer last week but my companion did. He went to Hanayashiki, my second area. My new companion, Elder Mizuguchi (Japanese) came from Toyooka, the opposite corner of the mission from Shingu. He`s from around Tokyo.

My bike woes are hopefully over for the time being. I mentioned before I was riding an old bike right? Well a week and a half ago while I was just riding along I switched gears and the chain just randomnly broke and fell off, fortunately we weren`t too far from the apartment. As a result when Elder Mizuguchi was putting his bike together I decided to see about fixing mine. I went to take my bad back wheel off, it came off pretty easily, too easy. The slot on the bike frame that the wheel axle slips into was broken. When I took the wheel off half of the slot thing came off too. At least it wasn`t while I was riding it. As a result after a lot of fiddling I finally ended up taking a different old bike to Jusco (A supermarket with a bike section) to get it fixed. It cost about $50 which is alright I guess. I`m just hoping this bike doesn`t have any other problems pop up because it`s so old.

On Saturday night the assistants came over and spent the night with us while President McIntyre went over to stay at a hotel. Sunday morning came and we had branch conference. Including everyone there were 11 people there. It went pretty well and everyone felt the Spirit I think. One brother who doesn`t normally come came with his son, he had to leave after sacrament meeting but stopped by after church with his wife and son again just before they headed north to Osaka. After church we all sat down and ate some refreshments together and talked. After that we had our transfer interviews (So we wouldn`t have to spend a day of travel going up and back). Then we spoke with President Iwaki about the branch finances, they`re a little out-of-date and we need to update them. I also ended up calling Elder Andrews and Elder Honda who were here last year so I could type up an annual history for the branch.

It took a little bit of time this morning setting up the account but now I`m using the new missionary email service. It`s actually pretty much just gmail, but I`m happy with that. Maybe I can send more pictures now that I don`t have a 50 MB limit on my mailbox. And I don`t have to worry about losing the email I`m writing.

I`m happy to be in Shingu for another transfer. I did send all the stuff I need to for college already so now it`s just waiting.

I finally made myself sashimi from scratch. (Okay that doesn`t involve much more than cutting a fish) You can buy fish at the store but I haven`t done it because I wasn`t sure if any fish was okay or if I might get parasites. I ended up asking a Japanese Elder and he said that as long as it says 刺身用 then it should be fine. Also I guess if you put wasabi in your soy sauce it kills bacteria. I bought some fish Saturday night and ate it with rice.

Take care,

Elder West

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cake Decorating?

It's been a little crazy here this week.  School, seminary, Olympics and cake decorating.

It's probably not fair to real cake decorators to call what the beehive class did on Tuesday night "decorating".  It did involve cake and frosting, decorating tips and piping bags.  That's about where the similarity ends. 

I'm not sure how I became the go-to-girl for cake decorating classes in my ward.  I happen to have the supplies and I don't mind sharing them - that could possibly be the reason.   Whatever the reason once you've agreed to teach in Young Women's, the YW leaders will see you as fair game. This was my 3rd time...I first taught the Mia Maids about 3 years ago, then a couple of years later I was asked to teach the Laurel class (same kids...just older).  I agreed, and then, before I taught, I broke my wrist.  I ended up teaching that class with my arm still in the splint - I hadn't even gotten my cast on yet.  Oh well, a good time was had by all.  I think the Beehives had a good time this week - and who knows, maybe in a couple of years they will be desperate for an activity again.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family and Friends,
How are you all doing? Good I hope.

Apparently the missionary email system is going to change from the ancient Novell system it`s using right now to a newer one. I`m happy about that because I don`t really like this one.

Yes one of the missions in Japan, the Hiroshima mission is being consolidated into the Fukuoka mission and Kobe mission. The change actually will happen around July 1st. I don`t think it will really affect me too much. I don`t think there`s even a chance of me transferring over there because it`ll be after the last time I transfer. It shouldn`t affect my departure date.

This past week was a little busy with Elder Oaks coming. There was a conference for the members on February 10th way up in Ibaraki, about 4 hours from here by car I think and $100 worth of tolls each way. The members here were planning on carpooling and driving up, but the only member of our branch who can drive long distances got sick a couple days before. What resulted was a couple hours of phone calls for me. I called and arranged for the other 2 members to take a train to the next area over and carpool from there. The members canceled that Wednesday night but then wanted to go Thursday morning so I had to help rearrange it. It was a mess but in the end they made it up to Ibaraki for the conference so it was all worth it.

On Wednesday night we headed up to Wakayama (4.5 hours away) and stayed for the night. In the morning we woke up and took a train at 6:13 AM and made our way over to Kobe for the conference.

The conference was from 10 AM to 12 PM and was really good. Sister McIntyre shared her testimony followed by President McIntyre. President Stevenson (The Asia North Area President) spoke next. Sister Oaks than spoke about how important the small and simple things we do are. We then sang and Elder Oaks got up to speak. He said how there`s hundreds of different things he could speak about but as he was pondering what to speak about he felt prompted that the first thing he should say was `We would now like to hear from Elder Ishi` and then sat down. Elder Ishi (An Area general authority) got up and spoke about his mission a little bit, during his talk he said something that Elder Oaks then spoke about afterwards.
Elder Oaks spoke a lot about how we don`t move up and down in the church through our various callings, just forward when we accept and fulfill callings, and back when we don`t. Elder Oaks spoke about a lot of important things but I`m not going to write them all in an email. But overall it was definitely worth the 2 and a half days worth of travel for the 2 hours of talks at the conference.

Something I`ve been focusing a lot more on since the conference is exact obedience to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. This transfer we`ve been working on obedience and I`ve been focusing on more exact obedience to the rules. However what I really felt at the conference is exactly how important being led by the Spirit is.

I think that`s about it for this email. Tomorrow is transfer calls. I think Elder Slater is going to transfer and I`ll have an opportunity for more travel this week :P.

Back from the Klondike.

Steve and Danny got home from the Klondike Derby around 7pm last night.  Steve was very diligent about unpacking and tidying up after himself...Danny, well, not so much.  Steve did leave one thing in the van.  I mean, ON the van.  Yeah, we still have the sled on top...Steve's hoping there is enough room (and that he has the key) to put the sled in the scout shed at our new building.  Yeah, I'm hoping that also...because I really don't want to have to store that thing.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Guilty Pleasure

Rebekah accused me of cheating on my blog last week.  She was right...I confess.  I have been cheating on this blog. 

Keira and I are having a total geek fest with our new blog (The Uncrushable Jersey Dress).  Our recent conversations sound a little like this:

(me) "Did you see we have a reader in SPAIN!
(her) "INDIA!  We have 3 readers from INDIA!?!

I have been learning a little more amatuer blog designing in the process of co-hosting The Uncrushable Jersey Dress. 
  • I've embedded links in the sidebar...that link back to book reviews that we've done...
  • I've picked up a little photo editing know-how (really that's thanks to an amazing site called - it's got a lot of things you can do for free - or fork out $25 for a one year premium membership)
  • Along with picnik, I've learned how to make custom headers.
  • Widgets.  Have I mentioned widgets?
If you haven't had a chance, drop on by - it's not all book reviews.  Did I mention food?  Yeah, we've been trying out and reviewing food too. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Budding Baker

Our ward has an annual combined youth bake off.  They've been doing this for years...(I think it's brilliant - they save money on refreshments AND the kids have a good time).  I found out about this yesterday.  I asked Danny what he was going to make.  No hesitation:  "cream puffs". 

Okie dokie.

He did a great job...I talked him through the tougher parts...and I scooped up the first one to show him the size, but he did the rest.  He even made the fillings, chocolate and vanilla. I filled the piping bags and put the chocolate in half, he put the vanilla in the other half.  I can't wait until he gets home - I'm wondering how the judging went.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ski Bums

Considering the fact that I had to go to the Medical Clinic 3 times, it was a great day.

Danny had an incident involving his ear-bud coming his ear...on the way to the mountain.  Unfortunately for him, none of us happened to have a pair of tweezers with us.  Luckily, the Clinic did - and they pulled it right out.  And didn't charge us for it.  A couple of hours later, Danny calls me (on my seriously dying cell phone) - to let me know that he was in the Clinic again. This time the ski patrol had strapped him on a sled and pulled him to the clinic.  Man, do I wish I had a picture of that.  Turns out he had fallen and wrenched his knee.  After seeing that he would probably live, I had to hike back up to the lodge to get his shoes...then back to the Clinic...then back to the lodge with Danny hobbling next to me. (still no charge...) 

It's been a couple of days now, and he's still limping a little, but I don't think his tumble put him off skiing.  We'll have to give it a try again next year.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family and Friends,

So the Marysville ward boundaries are changing? Let me know how that goes please. I think I`m supposed to notify the Mission Office if my home ward or stake changes.

So this past week has been pretty good. But I don`t have much time to write now so this`ll be short. We took the train over to Tanabe Monday night and spent the night there. The next morning we still had to get up early to catch a train at 6:30 AM. We made it interviews up in Iwade in time. Afterwards we had some Korean Barbeque (Yakiniku) before starting the trip back to Shingu with the Tanabe Elders. That took from 1:44 PM to 7:34 PM.

On Wednesday we were on exchanges with the Tanabe Elders in Shingu. It was pretty good. On Thursday the Tanabe Elders went home after having district meeting in the morning. Elder Slater and Elder Homer made me a happy birthday pancake with sprinkles in it. Elder Slater was going to make a cake for my birthday but halfway through realized we were out of oil. We`re getting oil today. I did eat some Tim Tams which was good.

I got the package on Friday, thanks! Now it`s a question of when to make the pecan pie and harvest loaf. Thanks a lot for those, it`s odd that canned pumpkin and pecans aren`t to be found here. We had a dinner of pancakes with Brother Tsuboi Friday evening, it was pretty nice of him.

On Saturday morning after English Class we talked with a new student about the Bible and Book of Mormon some. When he filled out the new student information sheet he wrote in the box for other comments or anything `I sort`ve want to read the original manuscript of the Bible` we talked with him about how the Bible was written and compiled and what the Book of Mormon is.

On Saturday evening there was a fire festival. Only boys and men are allowed to participate because it`s dangerous though everyone watches. At around 6 or 7 PM the guys who are participating (They`re dressed in white) walk up a steep hill where a shrine is. They go to the top? and wait there behind a gate until 8 PM. They`re all holding flaming torches while they`re up there waiting. Some of them are drunk. Some of them want to be the first to the bottom when the gates open so they fight for position at the gate. I personally don`t thinking drunks fighting while holding flaming torches is smart... Anyways the gate opens at 8 PM and they race down. The stairs are really steep, but the people in front who really want to be first jump down them really fast. When they get to the bottom they walk in a line through a crowd. It`s fun to watch but the drunks are super careful with their torches, fortunately they`re mostly burned out by the end. The festival is called Otomatsuri I think. It was on February 6. You can probably see videos online.

Well I`m out of time. Talk to you next week.

Elder Andrew West.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Rebekah texted me a few minutes ago.  I like to stay connected, but I'm not sure I'll ever truly get the hang of texting.  When it comes to typing on a phone, I have two left thumbs...and they're not opposable.

Alex just got a text from her.  He texted her back and told her that texting is a tool of the devil.

Good luck, Rebekah.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Groundhog's Day

"There is no way that this winter is *ever* going to end as long as this groundhog keeps seeing his shadow. I don't see any other way out. He's got to be stopped. And I have to stop him."

Happy Groundhog's Day!  I need to find my copy of Groundhog's Day...for our once a year watching of my favorite movie about groundhogs.

What's your favorite movie dedicated to an obscure holiday? 
And now we dance.