This week got a little toasty. I don't know if I have mentioned this, but I don't believe in summer - it is against my principles. That being said, we are experiencing a rather warm Spring. I have started filling up my water bottle a little, freezing it over night, to keep it cool for the next day. The summer is sapping what energy I have quickly, not to mention we do a lot of walking in this area which makes it worse. But, thank goodness we have air conditioning and flexibility in our planning, so we try our best to schedule our study so we are inside for the hottest part of the day. But I am quickly becoming more and more tan.
We visited a grandma at a hospital very far away - a few train stops over, a 20 minute walk to another train station, and then one stop and more walking. So we did what any good missionary would do and stopped everyone. People here actually listen a little bit more to the gospel, but I have yet to exchange any contact information with anybody - interesting. Anywho, I glanced to the side and saw a woman on her mama chari bike who had just gotten her shoelace caught in the gear. I quickly raced to try to help her, as it was clear she couldn't try to get her own shoelace unstuck while on the bike. We pulled it free after some cajoling, and I found out that she had actually had surgery on her knee somewhat recently, so she was extra panicked in the moment her shoelace got caught. I was so glad that I was there to help her. We were able to share with her parts of the Plan of Salvation, and she had interest but didn't exchange any information for us to contact her. :( I still felt like I was sent to that street for her though. Dang people's agency...
- people carry around sweat rags. Just towels to dab your face when you sweat. The fact that this exists should give you an idea of how hot it is
- people in Saitama are so nice - in Tokyo if there is a packed train, you literally gather some momentum and football shove your way on. In Saitama, everyone gets on gently and says excuse me a lot.
- dogs don't say "bark" they say "wan" - and you can call a dog "wan-chan"
- golf is SO expensive! The cheapest you can get here during the summer is $100 for one time, full course. But they can go up to FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS! Literally insane. (But if you think about it, Japan is the same size as Washington, Oregon and California with 1/2 the US population, so they don't have as much space => more expensive)
AI SURU DOURYO
("my beloved companion" - from Sister Nagata right before I pounded her with a dodgeball)
Some notes on my companions: they are both incredibly strong people and very focused on missionary work. Sister Nagata is very stylish and loves to draw and does great impressions of people. Sister Barton is an excellent leader and good at balancing lots of different ideas with patience. She is awesome at basketball and prioritizing. Nagata Shimai eats a little less than Sister Barton and I when we are at home but oh my word she can eat at member's houses. We had a dinner with the elders and she kept going after the elders were done - I was very impressed. Another time, a member said, "who likes cats?" *half raise their hands*
"Who likes dogs?" *the other half raise their hands*
*Sister Barton raises her hand* "I like cows!"
She also says "oh my stars" - it's adorably southern.
We had a really great companionship talk this past week that has improved our relationship a lot. Amazing what good communication can do. My goals for the past few weeks have been listening to understand. Someone once said that their service for others was understanding - and that really struck me. Just understanding, really understanding others is sometimes incredibly difficult, but can overcome so many walls. Try this at home! Understand your mom, your brother, your friend, even your dog! It is a beautiful feeling to be understood, and a great gift to get for anyone.
Love you all so much! Thank you for your prayers and your emails! <3
- Atkinson Shimai
Pictures- some kids walking home from school alone (is this dangerous - yes; but everyone in Japan does it. You see like 5 year olds just walking alone)- Mission School- Zone conference- BBQ today- a self portrait haha
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<b>Japan Tokyo Mission</b>