Sunday, November 9, 2008

November 9, 2008

Dear Family & Friends,

The weather has gradually turned colder and colder, so now we are wearing sweaters, coats, scarves, hats, and gloves. The highs are in the 50’s and the low’s in the 40’s, heading toward the 30’s. It does snow here occasionally, but doesn’t stay around long. We had had a few sunny days, but mostly cloudy, and sometimes rain. Sis. Evans, wife of our Area President, said that the next 8 months are like this. She remembers one Christmas day when it was balmy outside. You just can’t tell what the next day will be like.

Last week we did a variety of things:

Monday we went to the Area Office for our monthly potluck dinner. The theme was Fall and there were no assignments given. I took one of two salads, and we had 2 chilis, 4 soups, and 3 desserts, so it was a great potluck.

On Wednesday, for Eikaiwa, we talked about driving and cars. Of the 7 students in the class, only one owned his own car, but everyone had driven their parent’s cars (the students range in age from @22 to 70). But not one of them had ever changed a tire!!! We were so surprised. They had all had some interesting experiences while driving, but now most just took the trains and subways and rode bikes. And they didn’t know what a “back-seat driver” was and laughed when we told them.

Our word for this week is “yakiniku.” On Thursday we out to eat at a yakiniku restaurant. I didn’t think we had ever been to one before, but we had, only not as nice as this one. At a yakiniku, they have thin-sliced raw meat or fish or shrimp. When you get what you want, you go back to your table where there is a grill in the middle. You put on the meat and vegetables and cook them the way you want. This restaurant also had several salads, a soup, some pizza (Japanese style which looks and tastes different from American), some curry and rice, and a nice selection of desserts. So we ate well and stuffed ourselves!! We were with Pres. and Sis. Hill and the 4 office missionaries and the 2 sister missionaries who live close. So we all had a great time!!

Saturday we went to a special symposium on the family—and had 4 speakers in a panel discussion, 2 women and 2 men. One woman had been a stay-at-home mom and raised 10 children. The other had one set of twin girls and had worked as a teacher while her husband was a teacher and a principal. One man was from America but spoke fluent Japanese and was President of a local bank. The other man was one of the main officers of Nissan. All were members of our Church and talked about how hard it was to raise a family here in Japan because of the work culture. In the Church we teach family first, church second, and work third. In Japan they teach work first and second, family third, and they don’t need church. Workers are not supposed to leave until their supervisor does, so they all stay very late at work (not necessarily accomplishing anything). Also, they often stop at a bar for awhile and go home very late and often very drunk.

Our thought for the day is: “Kindness is the essence of greatness and the fundamental characteristic of the noblest men and women I have known. Kindness is a passport that opens doors and fashions friends. It softens hearts and molds relationships that can last lifetimes.” Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, May 2005, 26-28.

We hope everyone had a fun Halloween and are planning a great Thanksgiving!!

We love you—

Jim & Pat

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