So, both Sister Kema and I like these Choco-pies that are soft cake-biscuit with cream and covered in chocolate. We have found a "party pack" of these cakes at the grocery store, and, like the Americans we are, shamelessly buy the whole pack for the two of us for one week. One member asked if me and Sister Kema were gaining weight. We said probably, and he said, "If you are not putting on weight, you are not enjoying the country!!!" We are doing our best to enjoy Japan.
Earlier this week, we went on a secret mission to infiltrate a college nearby and see if we could find their English club. The whole time we were trying to be cool in front of administration so they didn't kick us out, but we found it thanks to this really nice girl. We actually got to meet some other students who we helped with TOEIC later in the week. They really appreciate our help because their English Teacher doesn't speak ANY English during class! It is a little difficult to help them at their level (they already understand what we normally teach). They were asking test taking tips and I had to dust off my ACT knowledge and fake that I know how to prep for this test (which I have never taken, nor heard of before Japan). But really they just appreciated going over their test and liked our spiritual message.
- on children's clothes, they put the little tags on the OUTSIDE, so they don't rub against the kids!
- for the gym, everyone in Japan has inside shoes and outside shoes. You only wear inside shoes in the auditorium gym thing and only wear the outside shoes outside - and if you try to wear your outside shoes inside, you must go barefoot. So you wear one pair of shoes to go to the gym, and bring another pair to change into. They are very particular about this.
- so I finally learned what stops signs look like in Japan. Yes it has been 4 months, but they are triangles and I CAN'T READ JAPANESE. And yes - I (actually my companion) has almost died from not stopping. We were biking down this street and it was wayy dark. I go past this side street and on the side street, there is a motorcycle going as FAST as POSSIBLE towards us. I get past safely, but I yell really loud to my companion (Sister Doll) "STOOOP!!!" She does, and the motorcycle slows down a little too (probably because I screamed) and all is well. But now I know that there is a stop sign there, and we were supposed to stop anyway. So our deaths would have been needless and all because I can't read.
We volunteered at a children's Sumo competition! It's called "Wanpaku" sumo which means children's sumo but wanpaku also means naughty or bad. So we had shirts saying "wanpaku" and then our missionary name tags - just the irony was funny. I was helping with the 6 years old boys and tying the sashes around their waist. It was so funny to watch - the boys pushed each other around but the girls were so intense. The boys were just happy to play and wrestle, but the girls were out for blood. It was a good exposure to the community though. Earlier that week, we handed out some flyers and met some high school students and THEN we met those same high school student and we helped at this event together. It was awesome!
So, I have never broken the Word of Wisdom as much before my mission as on my mission. The Word of Wisdom is a health code that the prophets have given us to keep us more healthy. This week, I bought cheap apple juice and during the week Kema Shimai was like, "this tastes a little weird" and it was apple tea! Tea is against the Word of Wisdom, but not all tea, so we still had hope. So we called our good friend Elder Otani (the only Japanese person in our district) and explained which words on the carton - and after 5 minutes of deciphering the Japanese, we read the words that meant indeed, we had broken the Word of Wisdom. (I think we will be forgiven thought because it was a innocent mistake). The other time was when a friend gave us really nice chocolates and some of them had alcohol in them, but none of us missionaries stopped to wonder what the little wine glasses by each chocolate's description meant, until it was too late. So reading is good.
Speaking of reading, the scriptures are excellent! God has called prophets to help guide His children, and so the prophets wrote their advice, experience, and the commandments - and that writing is the scriptures! There is a promise written in the scriptures by a prophet named Nephi, that if you "feast upon the words of Christ...they will tell you all things what ye should do". (2 Nephi 32:3) So no matter what problem or question or hard thing is happening - if we dig into the scriptures, they will tell us what to do. How does that work? When we read the scriptures, we can feel the Holy Ghost who can teach us truth and reveal things to us personally. Try it! It is the best. When I read the scriptures, I have so much more direction and a greater perspective then when I don't. And I know they will bless you too!
I love you all so much! Happy Mother's Day! Stay safe!- Atkinson Shimai
Pictures- sumo competition with the high school kids- sister kema and I- us taking pictures with kiwi to show Sister Nagano that we are healthy- Eikaiwa- us on a ferris wheel- me skyping my family
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<b>Japan Tokyo Mission</b>