Today was transfer calls and to everyone's shock (including my own), I am staying another transfer in Urayasu!!! AND with Sister Kema! So in honor of this occasion, I am going to mix it up and steal her update format - tell me if you like it/hate it/or just don't care.
THE FUTON FAIL
Kema Shimai's back has been hurting, so in trying to come up with solutions to help, we decided it was time to replace our futons. We sleep on the ground (actually on something called a tatami mat) and have "mattress" like things called futons. We had 4 pretty old ones trying to take the place of 2 good ones and it just wasn't cutting it. We ordered new ones and when they came, they were different than what we wanted. After taking up an abhorrent amount of space in our apartment for a week, and sending an email with pictures to explain exactly what we wanted, we got them returned and recieved new ones. BUT IT WAS WRONG AGAIN! So we had even BIGGER boxes in our apartment and no clue how to make ourselves more understandable to our Japanese friend in the office. So we got our Sister Training Leader (who is Japanese) to call and explain the situation and what we wanted and it all worked out. We finally got our futons and are using them to rest from this exhaustive process.
- crosswalks in populated areas in Japan are very efficient. At a big intersection, they have many criss-crossing directions you can walk and you all go at the same time. So all the cars will stop and the people will walk across the way they need to (straight or diagonal) and then everything resumes again
- it is starting to get very hot. not a cultural thing, just a concern
- people here want to stay white and not get a tan. I asked if this stems from the white-faced makeup or perhaps historically, when the rich were white and the poor workers in the fields were tan. But nope! good old fashioned Americanization. They just want to be like the white people on TV. So everyone wears hats or uses umbrellas, and even half sleeve glove things to keep their arms protected while riding a bike.
THE STRAWBERRY INCIDENT
When I woke up in the morning, I had a vague recollection of something happening in the night, and spent the next 5 minutes trying to determine whether it was real or a dream. I finally ask Sister Kema if I woke her up in the middle of the night and she says, "YES. YOU SLAPPED MY FACE" (I did not in actually slap her face - I did a forceful pat). She says that I touched her face and, as expected, she bolted out of bed to find me - sitting there quite and unresponsive to her loud questions of "what the heck?!" and "are you okay?" I crawled back in bed and returned to sleep, however Kema Shimai did not for fear of a second attack. I don't remember much of this event - and I don't remember her questions being loud, more of gentle concern. After she asked me why I had woken her up, I remember not being able to remember, feeling embarrassed and going back to bed. I don't remember anything about why I needed to wake her up - but I remember it being important, and I remember it involved a strawberry.
We had a lesson scheduled with a college student to help her with English, but she canceled. Although we were sad, it was nice because we weren't going to be able to study at all due to our many appointments that day. We had been studying for about 30 minutes, when finally, the cloudy skies that had been looming for days broke and it was pouring rain. We were so grateful to be in our apartment and by the time we finished study, it stopped. I learned that God really does care about us and His timing is perfect, even if we have to change our own plans. You would think I would have learned this lesson by now, but I think it is just being reinforced. God has a plan for us to return to Him, and He doesn't need to check off our bucket list in order to do it. He will get us home if we trust and follow Him, and bless us along the way when we do.
Love you all!- Atkinson Shimai
Pictures- us at Asakusa- sandwiches - bikes- district- heart- Ribeka + us- Asakusa- me in the wild
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<b>Japan Tokyo Mission</b>