I made it to Japan! We left the MTC Monday at 4 am and then travelled for like a solid 15 hours and when I arrived at the Honbu (mission headquarters) it was Tuesday night. Weird how time works. The next day we spent in the Honbu doing training and stuff. Nothing too exciting, but we did get to play soccer with some kids in the area! Japanese kids are SO CUTE! Like for real they are the most adorable thing (people?) On the planet. The next day the AP's made us run up this huge hill and I sort of wanted to die, but the view at the top was so beautiful it made it worth it. We played ultimate frisbee up there and watched the obachans do their morning exercises (they do this radio exercise every morning, it's pretty sweet actually).
The Smoots (my mission president and his wife) are the sweetest person ever. They fed us real food for the first time in 9 weeks. I literally took a bite out of breakfast casserole that she made and cried, it was so good. I actually haven't eaten a ton of food since I've been here, I've been way to busy! But I did get some McDonald's and that was also way good hahaha maybe that's because it's in Japan or because I've been eating gomi (garbage) for the last 2 months.
On Thursday I met my trainer! His name is Elder Westerlund and he's from Auckland New Zealand. He's been out for 1 year and 8 months, so he's getting pretty close to the end. Something he said that surprised me was that all the people coming in probably know as much japanese as the trainers do, which I totally didn't believe... but he hasn't said something in Japanese yet that I haven't understood! He just knows how to understand Osaka-ben and keep up with native speakers hahaha. I just get confused when people try to talk to me but hopefully I'll get used to it soon.
My area is Sekime in Osaka! It's the most big-city (I don't really know what the word is in English, sorry) area in my zone, and in my mission! There's so many people on the streets it's way hard to find just one person to talk to! We spent a lot of time walking the streets before I could get my bike (I had some issues getting money out of the bank...), so I got lots of practice talking to people. Studying Japanese is so hard because you never know what someone is going to want to talk about. I met some guy who was trying to tell me all about his jazz band, but I didn't get much besides the fact that he has a performance tomorrow? Oh well hahaha
Yesterday I went to church in the Sekime ward. They are all such incredible people. I honestly don't think I've ever met anyone who just welcomed me and loved me so much before they even knew me. They had me give a talk to introduce myself and just give a brief testimony, which is perfect because that's about the extent of my Japanese right now hahaha. They were all so nice, even though I couldn't understand most of them. They did say that I knew a lot more Japanese than the other bean-chans (that's like greenie in the us) they've had, so that's reassuring I guess hahaha.
We haven't had many opportunities to teach since I got here. They didn't have very many investigators before, and right before I came they had someone with a baptism date cancel. So that just means I get to work really hard right to start! Woohoo! We do this 30/30 program where we teach 30 minutes of English and 30 minutes of gospel stuff, but we only had one of those this week and she just did the English part and ran hahaha. So next time we meet well probably start of with the gospel stuff so she can't get away. We also had a referral from some elders in the Philippines who found someone from Osaka that was interested in the book of Mormon. Turns out they told her it was a history textbook (there's a bit of a language barrier between Tagalog and Japanese hahaha) so that's why she was interested. But we delivered and she said she would try reading it and get back to us. Super sweet lady. We also played soccer with some homeless people as part of a "Big Issue" (I think that's a japanese service group type thing) activity, which was a lot of fun and I got to talk to a lot of people about why I'm a missionary. They were all so nice.
Well that's about it for this week! Japan really is so incredible and I'm so thankful for the opportunity I have to be here. Im so excited for these next 22 months i get to spend here, and for all the people I'll meet.
愛しています！ がんばって！Oliver 長老
Pictures:1: the lady that thought the book of Mormon is a textbook. Her name is Misaki2 & 3: my doki (group)!4: these cute little slippers they gave me on the plane. I love Japanese people!