I like to make up random titles for my blog that means absolutely nothing!! Anyways, we did not go to karaoke tonight. We were pretty tired and some of our readers hung out tonight until about 10. They are fun. Hopefully, we will go sometime this week. Today was a great day. I called home and talked to mom, dad, and Hannah. The calls are not that expensive, but still I have to watch my minutes. I am so glad for the internet so that I can actually communicate with all of you. There have been a lot of questions posted and emailed to me, so maybe I can answer a few.
Communicating is really not that difficult. Sugao, the preacher, is fluent in english so he can offer as a translater. Judith, the on-site missionary is still learning Japanese so she can helps us out quite a bit. As far as communicating with the readers....well that can be tricky. They can all read english, but other than that some are lost. I am using two beginner books and they help, but they are still difficult and frustrating. As far as I can tell, the majority of our readers have knowledge of the english language. Most of them can talk to you, with some heavy explanation of words given to them. They are very patient though and are very eager to learn. Sometimes, though, after explaining the word "report" and the word "servant" several times, and they still do not understand...yeah, that can get frustrating. The simplest english words are the ones that they seem to have the most difficulty with. They all want to learn, so we explain it over and over and over and over......until they finally get it.
Also, the Japanese people are a very gracious, caring, and giving bunch. They really care about others. It seems like everyday we are getting gifts from our readers. Homemade food, jams, vegetabels, fruit, snacks....etc. It is all wonderful! They also will not say "no". They will say something like "I dont think that will be possible" or "Maybe I dont understand". No, to them, does not exist. They are also very clean, and they honor their customs. There is NO trash in the streets or anywhere. They recycle everything. Everywhere you go you see cans marked for different items. Bottles, aluminum cans, tin cans, and other. They have each bag a different color, and the color represents what is in it. Also, when you walk into homes, schools, churches, etc, you are required to take off your shoes. They will offer you a pair of hospitality slippers, or you can bring your own. It is also ok to walk around barefooted or in your socks, but your feet and socks will get quite dirty.
I have also noticed that they are a very open bunch. They dont mind sharing very personal stories, and they will do whatever the "teacher" asks them to do. If I doodle in my book, they will copy me. They look us to us and try to mimic us, so to say. It is kind of hard though with 60 years old trying to copy your every move! Flattering, none the less. They are not afraid to try something, even if they make a fool of themselves. They always show up about 15 minutes before they are suppose to, and if they are going to be late or if they cannot make it to an appointment, they ALWAYS call. This is something that we as Americans are really falling back on. Come on guys, work on it!!! They love to hear stories about Texas and America in general. They do not readily ask questions, so I have learned to say "Do you have any questions" and if I say that, they usually will ask one or two.
So far, the food has been great! The portions are very small, so I do not get full from one meal. When we cook here, we cook alot. Brian cooked 3 and a half cups of rice today for 4 people. It was pretty much all gone. I am hooked on gyoza (the little fried dumplings that I was talking about earlier), the home grown "sweet" onions (as I call them), mushrooms, rahmen noodles, vending machine ice cream, melon bread, soybeans, choco rice ( a rice cereal with a very unique taste), and Mrs. Okabe`s raspberry jam. We have not had to many meals, but so far that is what I like. A few things I eaten that I would not like to try again, one being the "hamburgers" from last night. Also, there is this thing called sweet bean, or red bean, and it is used in desserts. It really is not sweet, and I cannot describe the taste, but it is unique and an acquired taste. It is a dessert and very popular here.
Well, I think that about answers all of your questions. If you have any more let me know. I`ll be seeing you!!