Monday, May 24, 2010

Our Man in Japan

Dear family,

I'm enjoying it here in Miki. It's a little more urban than Shingu but not that much. There are a lot of farms here. Shingu had more forest and natural scenery. This past week has been good. I'm getting knowing the area better, the members, and investigators. On Saturday we met with a Vietnamese guy for a lesson. It was pretty good. He doesn't speak English and his Japanese isn't fluent, he came to Japan a year ago. We were going to watch the Restoration video with him in Vietnamese, and then realized there's not a Vietnamese version yet. Still it was good and we invited him to church. He came for Sacrament Meeting yesterday, he rode his bike there through the pouring rain. I hope he understood it somewhat and was able to feel the Spirit.

I really don't have much to say this week. It was raining really hard this morning, but fortunately it lightened up by the time we left to do e-mail.

Well that's all for this week. You take care of yourselves.

Elder Andrew West.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Case of the Shingles

A couple of months ago, Steve and Alex were up on the roof - pruning the large tree that was rubbing against our house.  We knew then that a little roof maintenance was in order.  Just a little.

A couple of weeks ago we had a wind storm and afterwards starting finding shingles in our yard...several shingles.  Great.  Now we really needed to get up there and do something about it, so, Saturday evening (I'd like to say afternoon, but it was later than that) the guys got back up on the roof...this time armed with tarpaper, shingles and roofing nails.  Now for some good news/bad news.  Turns out the shingles in our yard weren't ours.  They belonged to our next door neighbors - but hey, now that minor roof repair job is done AND we have the supplies to replace quite a few shingles, if needed. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Our Man in Japan gets a Transfer

I love, love, love Google Maps.  It only takes a few seconds to look up where our boy has moved to.

Our Man in Japan

Hello there,

So as I was expecting last week I was transferred. I'm now in Miki, near Kobe. I've never been over in this part of the mission before. I love Shingu, but it feels great to be up here in Miki. It's not really urban, but compared to Shingu I think it is. It feels like there's a lot of people around to talk to and the weather has been great recently.

My new companion is Elder Toring. He's on his second transfer, from the Phillipines, 25 years old, and was working as a computer engineer (In Japan) before his mission. We're getting along well. I think we'll really be able to work well together.

I was innocently cleaning the very mildewy shower in Miki on my second day when the mirror that was on the wall fell and shattered. Fortunately I only got a small cut on my knee but it was very surprising. Does this mean I have 7 years bad luck?

Some person who the missionaries meet with here likes to print out every missionary's pictures for them. I don't think a missionary as far along as me has been here recently. He was very surprised to print out 42 pages of 24 pictures each. I guess I'll put them in a binder/folder in sheet protectors. It was very nice of him, it really uses a lot of ink.

Well that's all for this week. E-mail is for free and just a 3 minute bike ride from the apartment, so I'll be doing it every week unless there's a holiday.

Elder Andrew West.

PS I think I might start sending more pictures from now on. This email computer is really nice and fast, and since the email is now Gmail I can easily upload up to 25 MB of attachments.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

There's a Frowny Face on My Calendar

  • Low expectations are the key to happiness...
  • Low expectations are the key to happiness...
  • Low expectations are the key to happiness...
Lather, rinse, repeat.

It's around this time of year that I sort of go into "sticker shock" at the sight of my rapidly filling calendar.  I've already gone to Colorado in April, South Carolina in May, and in a week and a half I'm heading off to Idaho to visit Marcy before she starts chemo.

When I was a kid, summer seemed to stretch endlessly...long lazy days of running in the sprinkler, picking  beans, going to the fair, camping, and just plain lazing around.  As an adult it's hard to recapture that feeling of childish abandon...lack of pressing responsibilities...drifting through sunny days with no greater ambition than to avoid doing chores (okay, I'm pretty good at avoiding chores...). 

School is out for Danny exactly one month from today.  Seminary graduation is 2 days before that (which is when I'm going to count seminary as "done" for the year).  Summer will be getting off to a roller coaster type ride, right off the bat.  Here's a summary of our summer:
  1. Nephew Connor comes for a visit, immediately followed by...
  2. Driving to Utah for a family reunion - which overlaps our 30 year wedding anniversary (thus the frowny face on my calendar), which is immediately follwed by...
  3. EFY...which is immediately followed by....
  4. Scout Camp....which is overlapped by....
  5. Youth Pioneer Trek...and then I have two weeks to catch up on laundry (unless we go camping with Tia) before....
  6. High Adventure...which is followed a few days later by....
  7. Andrew's Homecoming!
I won't even attempt to figure out our schedule for August.  Suffice it to say that at some point a trip to BYU-I will occur.

I really shouldn't be complaining about all the chaotic scheduling - for the most part I will only be involved in dropping off, picking up and washing mountains of laundry.  I may invest in a which to spend my time - between endless loads of stinky clothes.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Our Man in Japan

Dear Family,

Happy Mothers Day. I almost made a coffee cake in honor of it because that's probably what I would have done if I were home. I would've been the only one to eat the cake so I decided not to. I am making a pecan pie for the Branch's Family Home Evening tomorrow. I looked in the dictionary and it said pecans come from an American pecan nut tree. I guess that's why they don't exist here in Japan. I'm not sure where to find Corn Syrup in Japan so I bought some 水あめ it looks the same, I think it might be Corn Syrup. I guess I'll find out tomorrow when we eat it.

I didn't mention how my companion and I accidentally sat on Healthtrons did I? We were walking down an outdoor shopping mall and my companion mentioned how there was one store that always had a bunch of old people in front of it and he didn't know what it was. Well as we walked down we saw people in front of the store. We decided to stop for a moment to try to figure out what kind of store it was. The old people started motioning for us to come in and were saying 'It's free' 'It won't take longer than 20 minutes' We still couldn't figure out what kind of place it was so we decided to walk inside hoping we'd be able to talk with people. There were some black cushioned benches with black solid foot rests. We sat down like everyone else, we were kinda weirded out but figured there was nothing dangerous. Then we accidentally brushed up against each other and felt a shock. The guy in charge there than spent the next 20 minutes talking about the wonders of Healthtron and how the electrical currents gave our body a micro massage and would clean our blood. He did a decent show of it and mentioned how the silly American FDA hadn't gotten around to approving it yet . He eventually stopped talking and we were able to leave. I'm going to be a little more careful of walking into unknown stores in the future.

Well I guess that's it for this week. Take Care.

Elder Andrew West

Our Man in Japan

(sent on May 2nd - while we were in South Carolina)

Well the weather has warmed up and suits are off, well for the most part. My companion thinks even warm days are cold so we're still wearing jackets, though as it warms up a little more that will change. How's the weather over there in Marysville?

Oh yeah before I forget. My phone number is 080-****-**** You can call me Monday morning at 7:30 AM Japan time. I don't know whether you have church at that time or not, if you do it's fine to call after church.

Well I got to head up for interviews last week, that was nice. I spent my time on the train and bus writing letters and playing Shogi.

I hope you all have a wonderful Spring.

Well I'll talk to you next week so that's it for now

Elder Andrew West

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Littering, South Carolina style.

3:45am...time for Alex and Danny to get up so that we could head off to the airport.  As I stepped out of our bedroom, this was the sight that met my eyes.  Luckily my camera wasn't packed.
(corrected labels!)