Monday, July 8, 2013

Hey everyone!
   How have you all been this week? Anything fun and exciting happen? Things are starting to heat up for real now over here in Japan. Brother Kitajima told us on Sunday that the "rainy season" is now officially over. What's funny is that I've been dreading this season, especially when I think back to my first few weeks in Japan last July. The heat and humidity combined were ridiculous. But so far, it's much more tolerable than I remember it being last year. So either it's not as hot this year, or I'm adjusted to the humidity (a little). Either way, I'll take it.
So I got to meet the new mission president, President Wada, on Tuesday. President Wada seems like a really interesting guy. In a lot of ways, he's more of an American than a Japanese person in terms of personality. He's very direct, jokes a lot, and has a wonderful sharp wit. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that he lived and worked in America with his family for quite some time. 20+ years if I remember correctly. I'm definitely excited to get to work with him. He's a really neat guy.
   So Thursday was the Fourth of July, right? Well, seeing as how I'm a missionary in Japan, and have a Japanese companion, and the 4th is an American Holiday, I didn't expect to get much of a celebration in. I did tell Elder Hoshino that we at least had to go somewhere and get burgers for lunch. After all, what makes you feel like more of an American than a hamburger, right? Well, Wednesday night we got an email from the District Leader, telling us that the splits we had planned for later in the week needed to be moved to Thursday because of something they had going on the day we originally had planned for splits. So, I ended up being with another American on the 4th after all! So, for lunch we went to the only nearby place that sells burgers for a decent price: McDonalds. Yup, eating like an American. Haha! Afterwards we grabbed some ice cream and some donuts and dropped them off at the apartment to eat later that night. After a good full day of work, we went back to the apartment, planned real fast, then had donuts and ice cream. Happy 4th! haha!
   So, funny story. Back when I was companions with Elder Mangum, he explained to me why even though he could understand Portuguese, he couldn't speak it that well. His Mom is Brazilian, but after marrying his Dad she moved to the states. By the time he was born, she could speak English pretty much perfectly, but because she was still more comfortable in Portuguese she would talk to her kids in Portuguese. But because his Mom understands English, he would just answer in English, so his brain became conditioned to reply to Portuguese in English. He says that even though he understands perfectly what people are saying in Portuguese, when he tries to respond it wants to come out in English. When I told me that, I thought that it kinda made sense, but still thought it was kinda weird. I mean, if you can understand it, why can't you speak it, right? That's what I thought. I now understand though. A new student came to the English class we teach for community service every week, and she's actually from Peru. She speaks way good English, but came to class because she wants her two little kids to learn English as well. She said that she can also speak Portuguese. I of course picked up a few phrases from Elder Mangum and and Elder Miranda, so I used one of them; "I don't speak Portuguese". She didn't believe me, so after talking for another minute or two, she said in Portuguese, pointing to her kids, that her family is Brazilian. Well, there are only 4 words in the phrase "My family is Brazilan", and I happen to know all four of those words, so I understood what she said. However, even though we were talking in English up to that point, as soon as she said something in Portuguese, my brain immediately tripped into Japanese and I responded in Japanese. I guess in my head, if it's not English but I can still understand it, it must be Japanese, right? So, I now know what Elder Mangum meant.

That's about it for now! I hope you all have a great week! Talk to you later!

Elder Blake 

Picture! This is the Fujisawa Zone with President and Sister Wada when we got to meet him Tuesday. President Wada is the big Japanese guy right in the center, and his wife is the Japanese woman in front of him to his left on the end of the row of Sister Missionaries.

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