18 January 2012

Email from Matlock – 1-9-2012

Dear 家族

This week was filled with many wonders. The wonder of the 3 day japanese new year holdiay, the wonder of American culture and I'm still wondering how that guy in the park swallowed that balloon.
     We had some wonderful shogatsu meals- some of which had more symoblism in it than the bible itself. One of the member families took us out to sizzler and once I opened up the menu at looked at the prices of everything I figured out why they call it sizzler. Woazah! Glad I wasn't paying for it! Decided it would be a very very long time before I would go there on my own and even longer before I bring along loved ones.
     For the last day of shogatsu we ate at another member’s house and had a great time there. They brought out these little boards and a calligraphy pen and we did the traditional Japanese writing of the New Year’s resolution. Now it’s written down on this thing so I guess that means I have to stick with it this year. Shucks, darn accountability.... We had a great time there and even played some jenga. As you may recall jenga was referenced in General Conference so it must be ok for missionaries to play.
     Then on Thursday I had an experience that I won't have for another 2 months. We had a zone conference and then afterwards we went to America. Yokota air force base. Oh yeah. We all went to Chili’s and let me tell you, words cannot describe the cultural vertigo that we went through. As we walked in the door two waiters were standing there who said "C'mon in we've been waiting all day for you." I was shocked that they were talking to me like a real person and I almost blurted out "What? Really? How did you know we were coming?!" Good thing I kept my mouth shut. Some how I was half expecting some lady in an intense high pitched voice and a huge fake smile saying "Itarashaimaseeeeeeee!" Everything about that meal was right. It was served right, we didn't have to ask for refills, the portions were right, the service was done in a human fashion and we were bascially allowed to be Americans. Oh serenity now! When I get back I'm going to be acting a little odd but don't worry it'll just be because I'm happy.
     After dinner we had splits with the zone leaders. These splits started off with souvenir shopping. Two last transfer missionaries just grabbing their chance to get souvenirs on base while they had the chance. Just glad I was there and my companion went with the other Zone Leader. Don't need this impression sunk deep into his young impressionable mind right on his first transfer out here. Those splits were some of the most interesting ones I've gone on my whole mission.
     On Sunday I managed to get time off by an hour and we completely missed our missionary coordination meeting before church and arrived just in time for church to start. Just picture the biggest most dramatic forehead slap you've seen in your life and that’s just about how I felt. Oh nelly, I'm getting too old for this.
      Today we had a really good day. We had lunch together with a Brother from the ward and our friend who lived in Scotland. It was a blast. Then we headed down to the park just in time to see a man swallowing a balloon. I kid you not he just slid the whole thing down his gullet. It was one of those long ones that you use for making balloon animals and such. I do know a little balloon sculpture but that’s one trick I'm not sure I want to pick up. Talk about weird.
       Afterwards I successfully bought a takoyaki grill. Now I'm all ready to make my own takoyaki. Takoyaki are little balls with octopus in them. With that I beleive I have finished all my souvenir shopping. I got the construction worker pants and shoes, the wooden sandals, takoyaki grill, and the maneki nekko. My souvenir shopping definitely differs from the average joe here who goes to the tourist trap places and buys a bunch of junk that you can buy anywhere. Oh what I meant to ask was- can you find octopus in America? Do they sell that anywhere? If they don't then I'll just need to bring enough back with me. So let me know.
       Also today we stopped one person outside the church and were able to get his number. It was one of those contacts that was guided by the spirit, and we said all the right things and were able to bear sincere testimony that this gospel helps our lives. He listened and was interested. Don't know how it will turn out but it was great to see how the Lord can make that one person just stand out in a crowd and draws us to that one person at just the right time. Just good, good, good.
well better get going
Love you all!
-Elder Wyman

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