28 June 2010

Letter from Elder Wyman written 6/22/2010
Dear (family in Japanese characters),
Well we sent Elder B back home and now I'm with Elder B2.  He has been out since about last October.  His dad is in the military so they're from everywhere.  Currently his family is living in Japan actually, so his packages cost closer to 50 en than 50 dollars.  So Elder B did not tell the ward he was going home and I didn't realize how much trouble that would cause us until about.... immediately after he left!!  The ward mission leader called to have us over for dinner and was aghast that he hadn't been informed!  Bah!  I don't want to do this with every single member!  Besides, he worked hard up to the end!
So this week I did something I told myself I would never do again.  Seminary!  The teacher called us the night before and had us come over, so as missionaries we figured we weren't in the position to say "no way Jose!".  It was funny how everyone looked about as dead as I did over a year ago, us missionaries were the most lively since our schedule can more easily allow us to wake up fresh for seminary than a high schooler who stays up till midnight doing homework.
On Friday a member wanted to take us to Costco so....of course we went!  We hadn't really bought groceries for around three weeks now, and who knows when we will get to go to Costco again.  I decided to go to town on it and not need to buy groceries for another week or so.  I got a whole case of soy milk!  That is the only place you can find soy milk in Japan!  So we check out and the guy who took us wouldn't let us pay!  I felt extremely grateful/guilty/excited!  On top of that he sent us off with a case of root beer and a big bag of pistachios!  What a noble fellow!
This week has been so hot and humid, it feels like I'm in a rain forest!  I feel like I need to bring a machete to cut through overgrowth it is that hot!  Most everyday I come back wet, if not from rain, from my own sweat!  Speaking of wet I bought a pair of rain pants, so my pants won't become completely drenched after five minutes in the rain.  Wooo!  It really does get hot here though.  When Elder B was heading off he took a call and when he handed the phone back to me it was dripping.  Pretty funny, but also pretty gross.
Yesterday was Elder B2's first day in the area, so after a little bit of tracting some members took us out for some Chinese food, (yes, in Japan) and then after wards took us to a store and bought us a bunch of fruit, jelly, anko, pudding, crackers and some other stuff.  Japanese people are way nice!  On the way home from that this guy my age stopped us and said "Hey, do you want to get some juice?"  We said sure, what the heck, why not?  And he said "You'll pay for me right?"  Sure, why not?  So we bike with him to a convenience store and the whole time we're thinking - who on earth is this guy?  That and I also made the realization that if a random person comes up to me and asks me to buy him juice I'll say, hey that's a really strange request - "Sure!  Let's go!"  He kept asking us if we spoke all these languages, like Spaingo and Furansugo (Spanish, French).  I guess he figures if we are American missionaries and spoke English and Japanese we spoke everything else in between.  He only spoke Japanese however.  He had met the missionaries before us and kept asking about them.   He wanted to come over to our apartment and he was way persistent about it, he kept saying, "ah, c'mon Elder so and so let me!"  And we would say yea!  We doubt it!  He was way weird!  In the middle of all this he pointed at the burger place and said, "I went there for my birthday."  So finally I got tired of this and decided to try weirding him out.  I said we're missionaries!  (We had tried getting this point across several times.)  "We teach about Jesus Christ!  Because of Jesus Christ's atonement we can all return to heaven.  Would you like to learn more about Jesus Christ's atonement?"  He said... yea, sure.  Elder B2 said, "Great!  Come to church this Sunday!  See you there!  Bye now!"  We took a very indirect route home that night.
We are being fed by people left and right here, I love it!  I got some really nice ties today at the dollar store.  They sell designer ties that have some minor defect.  One of them I got had a loose thread on the back and the other, I guess the loops on the backside are a little crooked.  Way nice ties though!  I was excited.
Well, love you all
(Elder Wyman in Japanese)

June 2010 - Signs of the times.

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Transportation options. Elder Wyman used to be a BIG fan of Thomas the Tank Engine. I wonder if he flagged it down for a ride. :)

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Elder Wyman is smiling and happy. Is he thinking about dental school?? 3rd picture is Elder Wyman, his companion, and a new member. 4th is Elder Wyman with his new companion.  (It appears measuring up to this new companion is a bit of a stretch for him!)

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Elder Wyman and his companion are seeing too much of each other....and themselves!

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So anyone want to bet on where this dinner came from? We are wondering if that is the extra value meal as it looks like enough sushi for a whole family.

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Sites and landscape.

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I wonder if the dogs in Japan are different. I have never seen an American dog blush over doing it's business.

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24 June 2010

21 June 2010
We recieved a brief email from Elder Wyman - he now has a new companion.  "He seems like a cool guy and we should get some good work done.  He has been out for 6 transfers which means he got out here around last October.  It's a little bit of a change being the one who knows where everything is and who everyone is!  We'll see how that ends up!  I can hardly find the way out of my own apartment.  Should be interesting.  I have high hopes for my language progression this next transfer.  So my new companion is actually the district leader!  We have a mission conference next week and I'm looking forward to seeing some of my kohai in the MTC and some of the Elders that I came to Japan with.  Should be cool!
Love you all
Elder Wyman
We are so excited for him!

21 June 2010

15 June 2010  Letter from Elder Wyman: 
Dear (family in Japanese Characters),
Well, this next week is actually going to be my companion's last week.  It's my job to make sure he finishes strong apparently.  Now that we're at the end of the transfer it seems all our hard work is paying off.  We came in here with absolutely no investigators and now we have two new investigators (hopefully more this week) and have re-contacted two old investigators.  That and our Eikaiwa (English lesson) class has expanded from two people to roughly 10 people. 
So one of the new investigators went to a wedding reception and then church the next morning.  We were fairly surprised since apparently he had been out drinking all night and was dead tired and probably had  a hangover. It was a very interesting day at church.  In Elder's quorum the teacher asks everyone to throw out all the church doctrines we can think of and he writes them all on the board.  So everyone's shouting out all these different doctrines and they're all going up on the board with a sentence to two of explanation.  Our poor new investigator was sitting there with his head exploding.  Then we had an earthquake in the middle of the lesson.  It was funny because everyone acknowledged it and then went on with the lesson as if it wasn't happening.  Must be as common as rain over here.  So anyways - we're giving him doctrines and I say - law of chastity.  He says, "yes, that's a good one" and writes it up on the board.  Then he says, "Oh hey!  What just happened yesterday?  He just got married!"  In my head I'm screaming "No! No! You are NOT going there!"  Then he says...."Eternal marriage!  That's another doctrine we have!"  At this point I think, whew!  I thought he was going to open up a whole other can of beans there!  It was a good day at church overall and our investigator still has interest.  We gave him a Book of Mormon and will be teaching him tomorrow.
It's really exciting being in this mission.  The Eikaiwa (English language teaching) program is being revised, and so now people have to come hear a 30 minute introduction to the church before regularly attending the class (hence the new investigators).  Also, Salt Lake is using this mission to test run the use of laptops.  With these we'll be able to check weather, google maps, email investigators (I forget if I mentioned all of this earlier or not.)  We'll also be able to keep an online area book so that the bishop and other people can also access and update it.  We're supposed to get them throughout the whole mission by September.  We'll see how it goes!
We needed to make copies of some things one day so we went by the church.  We were also out of toilet paper, so there was an ulterior motive.  At the church they've got those fancy spray down toilets.  So - I decide to give it's functions a try.  I'll tell you - that tickled like nothing other.  Don't think I've ever been tickled there at all before actually, very interesting.  I didn't find it as effective as the traditional method.  The traditional method being ripping a page out of the JC Penney catalog.
So my companion has been packing and subsequently getting rid of excess junk to trim down on weight.  He passed on one of his rain jackets to me and coincidentally it also rained this week.  I found his rain jacket to be infinitely superior to mine, especially in the keeping rain off my body department.  Now all I need to find are some good rain pants and I'm good to go!
We got another cactus today.  This one is much pricklier than the other.  I decided I'm going to get a small cactus for each apartment I'm in.
Cultural side note - Japanese kids love Pokemon, but they also have a cartoon called Anapanman.  Anapan is Japanese sweet bread.  So it is bread man.  He flies around and feeds lonely kids with pieces of his head.  Ok, I don't actually know what it's about but it sure does pique the curiosity.
At a member's house we met a Japanese girl with a heavy British accent.  Way crazy - was not expecting that at all.
Well - love to you all
(Elder Wyman in Japanese characters)

17 June 2010

17 June 2010 - Mom's thoughts on the subjects at hand -  In Elder Wyman's last letter he talked about the resignation of the Japanese prime minister and someone talking about politics in McDonald's. I'm convinced that the two are related!  See the following from: http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=21503

Why did Japan's prime minister resign?

by Martin Percival
The forced resignation of Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama shows the continuing resentment felt by the Japanese people towards the hold that US foreign policy still has over their country.
Hatoyama had been in office for less than a year. He initially had high approval ratings, on the promise that he would remove the US Marine bases from the island of Okinawa, and potentially remove it from Japan entirely.
Since the US-led occupation of Japan, its people have had to endure the hypocrisy of a nation who in the last century committed some of the worst crimes against humanity towards them continuing to use their land for an aggressive foreign policy.
It is written in the Japanese Peace Constitution that they as a nation will not wage war against any other country. However in reality this has been broken by the continuing existence of strategically located US military bases on their land.
The Japanese people showed mass opposition towards the recent wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq. But their government's close ties with US foreign policy lead them to sending “non-combatant” troops to Iraq, and sending funds to the campaign in Afghanistan.
There has been fierce opposition to this, and large demonstrations against their government’s relationship with US foreign policy have been common over the past few years.
During his short term Yukio Hatoyama has failed to deliver on his promise to remove the base in Okinawa, seen in his announcement two weeks ago that the agreement with the US over the base’s continuing existence would remain.
This saw the Social Democratic Party leaving the Hatoyama coalition government in protest, meaning his majority in parliament became extremely weak.
On top of this his approval ratings dropped to only 17 percent as protesters came out in large numbers to show their anger at the decision to keep the military base.
Hatoyama no longer had the support necessary to carry on leading the country and was forced to resign. The new prime minister will face the same difficulties as Hatoyama.

© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.

I researched the "Happy Science" he talked about and found more information on wikipedia.  Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happy_Science 

13 June 2010

8 June 2010 - Letter from Elder Wyman arrived in a record 4 days!   Dear (family in Japanese characters),  So interesting week - the Prime Minister of Japan just resigned.  I don't know what that entails exactly as I can't read newspapers or anything.  Nor could I were I allowed to.  Speaking of politics we were eating at makudonarudo and this man was speaking very loudly about American politics and how we should be staying out of China's (and everyone else's business.  Then he would stare directly at me.  My companions back was to him so I got the brunt of his glaring.  Very uncomfortable.  I think he made the assumption that we only spoke English. Not that it's too difficult to pick out words like America and Obama.  We just high tailed it out of there since he seemed rather passionate in this hatred of America.  After that I was using the bathroom in the shopping mall when the cleaning maid walked right in.  She didn't seem fazed at all, but I sure finished up fast as I could!  That's what we would call "hen" (weird in Japanese).
We were tracting one day when this man came up to us and before we could say anything he said "I smoke, I drink", then went on to explain that he was a member of Sakado ward - his younger brother went on a mission, but he had become inactive about 40 or so years ago.  So we'll be teaching him here pretty soon.  It was pretty cool because we don't go to that area at all really, and he was the only person who we really talked to.  We knew why we were out there!  We got that feeling another time this week - we went to a park that we had never been to before.  It was filled with old guys, and we saw a young guy around 25-30 and we talked for about an hour and taught most of the first lesson.  He even said he never came to this park and today was the first day he'd had a break from work in a long time and didn't really know why he had come to this park.
So we've had quite a few run ins with the Jehovah's Witnesses.  Crazy people.  Twice we saw them trying to pass stuff out by the train station and we talked to them for a while (why not).  Boy did they ever just dump stuff on us.  I've got a small collection of Jehovah's literature full of Japanese watchtowers.  I put them all in my collection of crazies.  Unfortunately they found out where we live somehow, so we may hear from them again.  The Jevo's in Japan are a lot tamer than the one's in America, and most haven't even heard of Mormonism.  So instead of proving our religion wrong, they simply try to push theirs on you.  Read some of their stuff, and they really are crazy.  I can see why mom chases them off the porch every time.  Even crazier than Jevo's is Happy Science.  Their leader woke up one morning and realized that he was God.  We're actually going to pick up some of their literature today.  You have no idea just how crazy they are.
We visited a member family and somehow it got mentioned that I did magic, and so a deck of cards was produced and I did a few tricks for them.  Very interesting doing that in Japanese.  Despite not having practiced for months I still seemed to stun and amaze with a few simple tricks - looking forward to getting some more props to use!  (I guess that means the package I, Mom, sent has not arrived yet.)  I suppose my companion is getting a little trunky, but not in the usual sense.  More like - oh we have enough groceries to last us two weeks - let's not go shopping.  So we had pancakes for most of this week.  We were ok on food, but we were all out of food that took no preparation!  Every week we help out at an investigator's English class.

Well - had a beautiful P-day - talk to you next week!  Love to you all, (Elder Wyman in Japanese characters)

12 June 2010

Notes of explanation from Mom - In his letter he refers to the mascot of Sakado and extravagant parades.  This was in response to one of our letters where we told him about Sakado.  The little creature, Sakacchi, is the mascot for Sakado.  He was created in 2006 to mark the 30th anniversary of Sakado gaining city status.  Most of the information we found was from Wikipedia and I recommend a quick look at that website. I sent a picture of the mascot and of some of the dance groups from their annual Yosakoi festival held every August. Yosakoi is a style of dance.  The Sakado Yosakoi official website has some great pictures and you can get too it from Wikipedia!  These are some of the pictures from their site that I sent to Elder Wyman - so you have some idea of what he was referring to....
  We also sent him information on the Japanese mafia or Yakuza.  I'll let you look that one up on Wikipedia - it's a fun read!!

08 June 2010

1 June 2010 - Letter from Matlock Wyman  Dear (family in Japanese characters)  Well all of your letters caught up to me this week!  My companion handed me a stack of about 5 letters and just said "I hate you."  So the strange blue mascot for Sakado - I've seen that everywhere and had no idea what on earth it was.  And of course Americans on the other side of the world tell me what it is....  Yes they do have extravagant parades here - An investigator said he would love to go to it with us.  It doesn't happen until August though.  We'll see if I'm still here.  My companion is from California.  We will have to see if I'm ever companions with anyone further east than Arizona.  So I had mugicha this week and it doesn't taste like cigarette butts like everyone said it did.  Honestly I feel like some Americans just loose it when you take away hot dogs and corn syrup.  I'm drinking some as I write this!  (Mugicha, not corn syrup)  So - I had a crazy week - I found out they have statues of cats called manekiekko or the beckoning cat - it is meant to invite wealth or "beckon" money so to speak.  It holds a gold talisman in its paws, not unlike some other cat we are familiar with!"  We went to visit a kid our age just to speak english with him, introduce our church a little to establish good relations.  His whole family was there - really nice people.  His mom gave us drinks and once we finished them she would refill them.  Well, I kept drinking them and she kept refilling.  I was pretty sure I was drinking more than humans were meant to handle but she kept bringing out more drinks.  She brought out this Japanese energy drink which was basically all vitamins, not caffeine.  Nastiest thing ever.  I'm not sure what tonic tastes like but it probably tastes like that.  If that's what gives Japanese people a boost of energy, an American energy drink would probably kill them.  Then she started bringing out Pepsi (which as you've heard I also don't like).  so after choking down another two glasses of that I finally said "daijobu!"  I'm ok!  No more!  I had to use the bathroom quite a bit more frequently that day.  So yesterday we had nothing going on so we decided we were going to go by foot and try to have conversations with 50 people.  It was insane - never been so tired.  So we can only go up to men to talk to because otherwise the Elders would only talk to cute girls all day.  Anyways midday we just couldn't find anyone - we would start heading towards someone and then they would hop in a car or go into a store or house.  So finally I get fed up with it and this guy ran by so I turned to my companion and said let's go!  I ran with him for maybe 3/4 of a mile while getting to know him and talking about our beliefs. Amazing how scattered your thoughts get while running and talking in a second language.  So we continued talking to people, chasing people down and it came to the end of the day, we had about 15 minutes left until we were going to go back to the apartment and the last 5 people we had tried to talk to had just been really rude.  So we really felt done for the day but I said, let's keep going, at least one more person.  Then we had a one last door miracle experience.  We knocked on this door and a beautiful girl answers; and it turned out she had a lot of friends over, and they were all excited to see American guys and they spoke great english - and they were very interested in free english class.  We talked to them and decided to wrap up the day on that note.  We talked to 41 people that day - not including the people we tried to talk to who just waved us off.  Craziest day ever!  So on P-day we went to the Tokyo temple - really beautiful!! Very very nice.  After the temple we went to an Indian restaurant, and I got some lamb curry with rice.  Very delicious.  Then I found out the rice was all you can eat, so I had lots of plates of rice with my leftover curry sauce.  Really went to town on the rice - maybe wasn't a good idea - no definitely was not a good idea.  Well, we wobble out of there and hop on a train back to our area and go to a dinner appointment.  Now about 2-3 hours had elapsed here and we were in no shape to be eating more.  So we get there and she serves us sushi - way nice sushi - along with these rice balls wrapped in egg- interesting and very delicious.  We ate a good amount and thought - "ok, we're good".  But then she brings out these seaweed rolls and starts cutting them up for us, so we eat some of those, we have room, it's ok.  Then she brings out this bowl of fried beef for us.  We're wondering at this point where all this food is coming from.  We eat some beef (as much as we can) and at this point - I'm full.  Cannot eat anymore.  Then she comes out with two steaks.  TWO STEAKS!  So I'm halfway through choking down this savory meat when she brings out salmon!  So I slide that down my gullet and get back to the steak.  I thought I was going to die.  I thought I was going to blow up.  I was gauging just how rude it would be if I just threw up everywhere.  (The answer is extremely rude.)  I have never had so much really good food in one day - and I've also never felt crappier.  Just incredible.
(Elder Wyman in Japanese)

07 June 2010

May 2010 - Pday at the Zoo. In a country of symbolic writing - I suppose signs in pictures should not be a surprise!

 I think these are Tanuki or Japanese Raccoon Dogs. They are common in Japanese folklore.

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May 2010 - Intricate details in the shrine architecture.

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May 2010 - Ceilings and paintings.

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