25 July 2010

Letter from Elder Wyman written 7-20-2010
Dear (family in Japanese),
They had a 3 day training for all of the missionaries who were district/zone leaders or trainers and so all the young missionaries were paired off together.  I went with the Elder who is my senpai and we were in Kawagoe for three days.  Kawagoe has one of the nicest apartments in the mission.  Sakado has one of the worst.  I got to sleep on an actual bed instead of a futon on the floor!  They also have a separate room for the bathroom sink and the shower!  Unbelievably nice apartment.  Way nicer than the one I had at school even. We went by foot for the first two days and then I borrowed another Elder's bike for the last day.  He had a rugged mountain bike.  Boy did that take some adjusting.  I'm used to road bikes or cross bikes, you know the kind that are meant for ...roads!  It sure felt amazing though to get back on my own bike.
We pulled up to a red light and this lady turned around and said "Oh! Ikemen! Tamaranaku!  Which means oh my!  You two are unbearably good looking!  We said uhhh....thanks....I wonder how many people she says that to every day.
Anyways back to the splits - we came back to the apartment one night and there was a huge cockroach on the wall!  We chased it around with a shoe, and then we opened the patio door and flicked it outside.  And then we killed it.  Less mess that way.
This week they had the Sakado festival!  It was much more exciting than the East Lyme Day's I'm afraid to admit.  They had about 5 wagons with all these drums and flutes and they would play while people in costumes would come out and dance.  I can't describe it too well so you'll just have to look at the pictures.  (Mom's note - google yosakoi dance and you can see it on youtube)
We got to talk to a lot of people, but half of them were drunk as skunks.  They probably woke up in the morning with some Mormon literature next to their bed and thought "What on earth did I do last night?!"  They also had a fairly large shrine which was carried down the street on the shoulders of a bunch of tattooed guys wearing only shirts.  I got the feeling that some of them jumped on the opportunity to wear nothing for a day and have it be socially acceptable.  Heck, I can't blame them, I'd do the same.  (Just kidding!)
I have some good news and some bad news.  The good new is it's no longer rainy season!  Bad news is...it's not rainy season.  It is scorching over here!  Today we were at a high of 36 degrees Celsius.  (Mom's note - 96.8 F)  I don't actually know how hot that is exactly but it's hot!
I don't remember if I told you about this so here it goes anyways.  We were out one day and I called something "Kowai".  Then my companion said, wait, did you call that Kowai or Kawai?  I had been using Kowai which I thought meant cute or adorable.  Apparently that's Kawai.  Kowai means terrible, awful, frightening.  So I've been calling every small baby, dog and anything else Kowai for this whole time.  Oops!
Oh- I figured out how to ask for cool stamps at the post office - enjoy!
So we were handing out eikaiwa flyers outside of Wakaba train station while there was an anti American protest at the same time.  Interestingly enough less people took our fliers coming from the station (and through the anti Americans) than going towards it.  I found one of their things on the ground and have included it.

Don't ask me what it says - I couldn't tell you.  When they finished up they walked by us and each of them took an eikaiwa flier.  Go figure!
We housed into this guy who is 30 years old and plays the guitar in a band.  We had a really good conversation with him and got to know him a little.  He was a way nice guy!  Very nonchalant and relaxed.  Then he said, yeah there are so many churches in this area, and so many different religions.  We asked him why he thought that was.  He replied, "I don't know, why?"  Goodness gracious we couldn't have asked for a better transition into a gospel topic!  We pretty much taught the last half of the first lesson right there.  We told him about Jesus Christ establishing his church and then it being split up again and again.  Then we talked about the restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon.  So good!
An interesting feature of our apartment is when we have the air conditioner on and more than one light on and we try to microwave something the power goes out and we have to manually reset the breaker.  It's an adventure.
Love you all
(Elder Matlock Wyman in Japanese)

21 July 2010

Letter from Elder Wyman written 13 July 2010,
Dear (family in Japanese),
Is it a bad sign if I come back to the apartment and study negative adverbs?  Amari - not very much, zen zen- not at all, kesshite - never.  I have learned a positive word however - kekko - or I'm fine thanks, sigh.... 
We had a practice lesson set up with a family and we weren't sure where they lived so we were in a bit of a rush to get over there.  Well, I was in a bit of a rush and my companion was in a HUGE rush!  He was going top speed, in top gear, etc.  I was struggling to get close enough to tell him to slow down!  And struggling to not kill someone on the way!  So about he time he was entirely out of sight I hit something or ran over something and I blew my back tire out.  Urrgh!!  So - I start walking in the general direction and 4 blocks and 10 minutes later he realizes I'm gone and comes back to find me.  So 3 hours and 2,000 en later I'm back on the road.  Well, we didn't get there any faster now did we?
Well anyways I suppose it's time for the happier stories.  On Saturday we helped a couple move into their new home from their apartment.  The whole bishopric and a good portion of the elders quorum were helping as well.  Someone came out of their apartment around the corner and one of the members got excited and called out to someone.  So we said - sure ok!  We talked to him and found out he just moved here and had no friends.  We hardly had to ask him if he wanted to go to church, he was way to excited to go!  So the next day he came to church!  The members who met him the previous day were just tickled pink about the whole situation.  And now the guy has more friends in the church than I could have ever hoped for!  I'm sure we'll be seeing more of him!
So sis - you ran into a Spanish speaker and couldn't communicate right?  Well I guess I know how you feel.  We housed into this guy who only spoke Spanish!  Neither of us can speak Spanish!  (And no, 4 years of Spanish did not leave much behind.)
A member took us out to eat at a Portuguese restaurant this week.  So they brought out huge hunks of meat on a skewer, sliced them off, and kept coming out with more and more meat.  Meat only!  It was like a dream come true but not in the best way.  I do recall in Exodus or somewhere that the people of Moses wanted food other than manna and then they got it out their noses.  Well that sounds about right.  So much for the eat little meat commandment.  Completely threw that one out the window.  Well now I know what the Brazil mission is like....
Startling discovery this week.  I can no longer use the phrase "dig a hole to china".  I'd probably have to dig a tunnel if I wanted to get to China.  Could probably dig a hole back to America though.
Love you all
(Elder Wyman in Japanese)
P.S. We got new eikaiwa flyers!

10 July 2010

Letter from Elder Wyman written 5 July 2010
Dear (family in Japanese),
Interesting stuff this week as usual.  So halfway through the week we went to another area to go on splits with the traveling assistants.  They go on splits with everyone in the mission and work on improving finding techniques.  It's something they're doing this transfer to help improve the mission.  In my case I mostly learned some studying techniques for language study.  The mission puts a lot of emphasis on focusing on the investigator in language study, but they are very vague on how to do that.  After some discussion with him however I was able to figure out what that actually entails.  I really feel like my language skills are progressing!  It seems like a few things just clicked into place and I've understood twice as much.  Still short of par but at least I can follow a little closer.  Part of this is definitely due to a recent decision I made.  I read in Preach my Gospel that there is power in using the scriptures for language study.  I'll say there is!  From now on I'm definitely using the Japanese Book of Mormon for a portion of my study.
I hadn't talked with all our investigators for a while but then I was able to get in touch with and schedule stuff with each of them yesterday.  It was way cool - I really feel like I have something that can help them. 
One day it was pouring out so we decided to visit some members.  We went to this older couples house and they invited us in, gave us drinks, etc.  They brought out their daughters 20th B-days pictures.  When girls turn 20 in Japan they are taken out to get their pictures taken in the traditional Kimono outfits.  (20 is when you turn an adult not 18 in Japan)! 
This week I was told I have pretty eyes by three different people.  And they were all men.  Then another guy said I have a pretty face, and another guy asked me and my companion if we could be models for him.  He wanted to take our picture as well.  So there you have it - I'm beautiful.  Hey, Japan said it not me.....
I didn't know what rain was until this week.  They weren't kidding when they said rainy season.
Well Independence Day came and passed. I hope you sang our nations hymns loud and proud for me.  I can't show it out here but if someone stabbed me the blood would come out red, white, and blue!
(Elder Wyman in Japanese)

07 July 2010

Letter from Elder Wyman written 29 June 2010
Dear (family in Japanese characters),
Well, good week this week.  Things are going well with my new companion.
So you sent me some stuff about happy science in one of your letters.  Perhaps I can add some details perhaps not found on the internet.  There is an underlying motive just screaming behind all this garbage.  I was flipping through one of his book/pamphlets on how to become a "happier" person, and each point he made somehow came back to work; work performance, efficiency, coworker relationships.  Then I was reading one of my trainers pamphlets and it talked mostly about how members needed to establish the church in New York and how from there they could spread to the world.  He's bent on world domination and wants to make us his corporate slaves!  We're convinced (my former companion and I) that his soul has left his body long ago and he is being inhabited by thousands of evil spirits.
After hearing little from the family for a few weeks I got a wave of about 4 letters this week from home dating back to the 10th of June.  I got the silly band too.  It's pretty snazzy.  I can see how younger kids are going crazy about them.  However I bet if Staples released bags of fun shaped rubber bands it would go by relatively unnoticed.  Either way I want to spread the fun so I'm including my own silly bands with this letter.  Enjoy!  (He included a rubber band.)
We were biking down the street and I stopped one guy and said we came from America, we're missionaries, we teach about Jesus Christ, etc.  Then I said - "May I hear your name?"  The guy looked at me for a second and then took off running!  I mean he was booking it!  I turned to my companion and asked "Was it something I said?"  He said, "Yea probably the name Jesus Christ."  Strangest reaction I've got from someone so far!
The other day we housed into some Brazilians!  The mother spoke Portuguese and Japanese and the son spoke Portuguese and English.  We did some linguistic juggling and left them with some Portugese pamphlets later.  There are actually a lot of Portuguese speakers here and they bring a lot of missionaries from Brazil and Sao Paulo to Tokyo.
Crazy thing happened the other day - we were biking toward the mall when we see this guy man-handling this other guy and slamming him up against the wall and such.  These two other guys in business suits are just standing there watching.  We think, "What on earth?"  We cross the street and are on the same corner as him and the guy wrenches something from his hands and gives it to one of the other guys standing there watching.  So we cross the street again and are about to head into the mall when we see the guy booking it towards us and two police cars coming around the corner and two other guys are chasing this guy.  They catch him and threw him in the squad car and take off with him.  It was one of the most exciting things ever.
And of course what week is complete without running into a group of drunken Nihonjin?
I heard just a little about the BP oil mayhem actually.  Don't assume I hear a lot of news because I really don't!  What you've told me is all I know about happenings in America.  How hard is it to keep oil in one place?  Honestly we seem to have a reoccurring problem with this and all you have to do is not blow things up and keep these barges upright - is that so hard?
Yes, everyone carries a handkerchief but that's not because the bathrooms don't have towels- it's because they have no toilet paper.  Just kidding - most bathrooms have both of those things.  People use them as sweat rags.  It's hot over here!  I have one and its way useful especially when it rains and I need to wipe down a bike seat.
So I got a letter from a friend saying she thoroughly enjoys the blog, along with those she has told it about.  Just so you know your hard work is being appreciated! 
Japan is a nice place and all but they don't celebrate the 4th of July here.  I don't see why not.....
Love you all
(Elder Wyman in Japanese)