Monday, January 07, 2013

   Hey everyone! I've managed to survive the first week in this new area without too much difficulty. It's way different from Yamato, but Ushiku is a nice place so far. One really nice perk is that the apartment is really clean, and it's really big. We could easily fit 4 missionaries in here no problem, but there's only the two of us. And, the train station quite literally downstairs from our apartment. Our apartment complex has an exit that feeds into one of the station entrances about 30 yards away. How's that for convenience? Our apartment is on the 7th floor, and we can see 3 major landmarks from our apartment. When the sky is clear, we can see Mount Fuji despite it being so ridiculously far away. It's usually blocked by clouds or smog though. We can also see the Tokyo skytree, which is a massively tall tower in Tokyo. We can also see the Ushiku Daibutsu, which is the largest statue of Buddha in the world. All three, right from our apartment.
Massive sundial that's fairly close to our apartment
   Ushiku isn't quite as rural as it was made to sound. It's actually pretty close to the same as Gilbert. It's actually like a strange mix between Gilbert and Apache Junction because there are random patches of nothingness surrounded by buildings everywhere. After spending 6 months in Yamato though, it feels like I'm living in a small ghost town though. Funny how perspective can change like that.
Aaron and Aaron. One is a dog of the Kohinata family
and the other is a missionary in Japan.
   So, I actually have a pretty neat story from last Monday on Transfer day. So I had to ride the train from Yamato to Ushiku by myself, and that's about a 2 hour trip. Elder Gallacher was also transferring, so we met up at the Yamato station and then rode together to Shinjuku where we then split up to go our separate ways. After Shinjuku I still had to transfer trains again before I got to Ushiku. Well, I got to the station I was supposed to transfer trains at, followed the signs, and got on the train that my instructions told me to get on. This old grandpa gets on at the same time as me, and we start up a conversation. A little bit into it, he asks where I'm heading. "To Ushiku," I said. Then he told me that I would need to transfer one more time at a station called Abiko. Well, that was a surprise to me. My instructions didn't say anything about transferring at Abiko. Well, we looked at the map together, and he showed me that the line I was on split at Abiko. One direction when to Narita, and the other direction went through Ushiku on up to Mito. As it turns out, I was on the train bound for the Narita direction. My directions didn't say anything about the train line splitting at Abiko, and I'm not even sure how you're supposed to be able to tell which direction the train was bound for anyway. After thanking him for his help, he got off at the very next stop. This old Grandpa was the only person that talked to me on the entire 2 hour trip (with the exception of some drunk guy that was talking to everyone), and we only rode together for one stop, right after I had made the only mistake on that trip. Well that's sure interesting. I wonder how that happened.
   Well, seeing as how I came to Ushiku just in time for new years, we've been visiting lots of members and eating celebratory new years meals almost every day. New years is a big deal in Japan after all. Oranges are part of the traditional lineup of new years foods, so we've been getting bags filled with oranges from several of the members. Yeah, there's no way we can eat them all fast enough to keep them from going bad. Then again, it probably doesn't help that neither Elder Christensen or I like oranges... that might have something to do with it...
Sorry if the blog posts have been kinda sketchy since about Christmas time. We were really busy, and didn't have much free time. Now that the holidays are over, it should be back to normal now!

Elder Blake

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