Monday, August 26, 2013

Thanks for the Letters!

OH my goodness gracious!

I opened my email today to find 26 new emails!!! Oh man I feel so bad that I really just dont have time to read and reply to everything! :( 

Ok sorry this is going to be a short letter!!!!!!!!!!!! :( but I want to try to reply to some people who emailed me this week. I hope youll forgive me!

Answers to your questions.
1)  Do the people of Japan pay more attention to you because you are blond?

I dont know if they pay more attention, but people always comment on my blonde hair and sometimes they want to touch it. A lot of people ask me if it changes color. Whenever they do comment on my hair they always say that it:s so pretty and they are jealous.. So I guess its a good thing. :)

2)  What kinds of things do you do on your p-day's.  I assume you do grocery shopping and laundry.  Do you have a scheduled time to write letters? Just curious if you are at the church and all 11 missionaries are using the same computers you probably have assigned times.

On P-days we do grocery shopping, shopping for clothes, and then we do some fun things like go and take pictures and go to resturants - like today we went to this curry resturant and it was SOOOO good!! :) We can actually do laudry any day of the week since there are 5 girls in our apartment and only 1 washer and dryer. Yes we have a scheduled time to write emails. There is only one computer at the church so we hace to take turns although I heard that theyre trying to figure out other options for us like using members computers or something...(sorry there arent going to be any appostrophies in this letter.... im too lazy to add them in...) :)

3) Do you cook in your apartment most days?  Do you take a turn in cooking?

Yes usually we eat in our apartment. Our kitchen is so small though that usually its 2 girls who cook food and the other three of us help to clean and set up the table.

K so I just have one quick story and I hope that will suffice. :)
This week we took a little trip and spent 2 days in Sapporo. On Wednesday me and Furue Shimai got to take a bus to Sapporo. The bus ride is about 3 1/2 hours. The countryside of Hokkaido is absolutely beautiful!! There are just rolling hills with trees and flowers everywhere. It kind of reminds me of the opening scene in The Sound of Music where she is singing `The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music`. We dont have quite as big of mountains, but you get the idea. :)
So we got to Sapporo Wednesday afternoon and we had exchanges. Which means that I got paired up with a new companion for the day. It was one of the Sister Training Leaders, her name is Honda Shimai (yes Honda like the car brand). She is so sweet! She is Japanese and she is from a city near Nagoya. Her English isnt the best so it was a little hard to communicate with her, but from what I did understand, she is really funny! Anyway it was great spending time in the city with her.
Quick story time: On Wednesday night we had an appointment to meet with a girl who was interested in hearing our message. Her name is Irina and she is from Russia. Shes been living in Japan for about 11 months and she is in her 20s. She lives in this little one room apartment, but she is so cute! She has the longest and blondest hair I think I have ever seen! Her Japanese is really good and since she is a gaijin (foreigner) she spoke a little slower so I could actually understand most of what she was saying! Anyway,  we brought her a Book of Mormon in Russian so that she could start reading it. So together we all read the introduction to the Book of Mormon, which explains what the Book is about and why its so speacial. As we were reading together on the floor with a Russian, Japanese, and English Book of Mormon I just felt so overwhelmed. Its truly a testimony to me of the promise that is given that the true gospel of Jesus Christ will go to all the world - every nation, kindred, toungue, and people. I truly believe that everyone will benifit from reading the Book of Mormon and inviting Christ into their lives. I bore my simple witness that the Book of Mormon is true and they contain God`s words. The spirit was there and it was a really neat expirience.
Hope you are all doing well! Thanks again for all your love and support and letters! I promise I will reply to all of them eventually!
Ai Shiteimasu!!
Morrison Shimai

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rice, Rice and yes more Rice!!

There has been so much that has happened in just my first full week in Japan! First I just want to tell you about how awesome the people are here!! They are so polite and kind and very understanding of my poor Japanese. I`ve realized how little Japanese I really know! But its really funny becuase I try to say something in Japanese and all the people are like `Nihongo wa jozu!!` which means `you`re Japanese is good!` Really they`re very nice and they tell me my Japanese is good, when I know its not. :) The church members here are the best! In the past week the members fed us 5 times and there are 11 missionaries in my area/ward, so that`s a lot of people to feed!! Usually the members don`t feed us and we usually eat at our apartment, but this is really a great area and the members really love the missionaries.
So some of you may know, but one of my biggest fears about coming to Japan was the food! I was so worried that I wouldn`t like anything because most of it is fish and I`m not really a huge fish person, but I must say in just a short week I have come to really love Japanese food!! My favorite meal so far is any kind of meat on top of rice. Its so simple, but its really good!! Also I think Japanese curry will become a quick favorite! I`m still trying to get used to eating with chopsticks. Embarrasing moment of the week: we were over at a member`s house on Saturday (all 11 missionaries) and we had some pork, but they were cut into really big slices! And so I`m sitting there and finally I got about half the piece of meat into my mouth, but I can`t get the other half in. So I`m really struggling and then I notice that no one is talking. So with a huge piece of meat hanging out of my mouth I look up and everyone is staring at me!! The member comes into the room with a fork and a knife and everyone laughs a little. I`m such a forignier! Haha. :)
There are about 60 people in the ward that I go to on Sundays. Yesterday I had to give a talk in church, and since I don`t know any Japanese it basically means share my testimony about Jesus Christ. I was so nervous. They told me that I should try to take about 3 minutes, but in reality I probably wasn`t up there for more than 45 seconds... Oh well... I guess I need to work on that. :) After I went and sat back down and my companion said that she could understand me, which is a good sign. Then after the meeting people were coming up to me and telling me that they really appriciated my testimony. It was a huge compliment to hear from them! The best part about church is that one of our investigators came!! Her name is Kohoru Chan, she`s 23 years old and she just moved to Obihiro on Friday. We met her when we were out knocking on doors on Satuday and we just started talking to her for a while and then she even came to dinner with us on Saturday night and then came to church with us on Sunday! She speaks a little bit of English and she actually was living in Hawaii, on Kona, back in December. She was there for a work training program. Anyway, she is really nice and she`s been wondering a lot about what true happiness is in life. I`m so excited to get to know her more and help her learn more about the gospel! I`ll let you know more about her next week.
Hope you are all doing well! Love you all!!! Again sorry if I don`t reply to all your emails right away! But I love getting them! Thanks so much!
Morrison Shimai
PS these are some pictures of the view of Obihiro from our apartment!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Pictures from Apartment in Obihiro (Princess Gifts at MTC)

I'm in Obihiro

A little explanation - this first bit were her answers to my questions.  I sent her a "Greenie" package to the Mission Home so she would have it when she got there.  It was filled with "green" things (Mints, green highlighter, green post-it notes, green necklace/earings/watch, mint M&M's, a green bottle of foot cream, and a green bottle of hair friz control).  I have posted pictures also that she talks about in her letter of the "Princess Pictures".  I also did an experiment for slow mail to see how long it would take them to get to Japan, looks like two weeks.  
Yes I got your package! Thank you very much! It was a nice surprise. I got the DearElder that they sent on Aug. 1st and the letter that dad send on August 1st as well. I got them both today. One of the reasons why mail will take a little longer is becuase you send it to the Honbu (mission home) and then it could stay there for a while until they decide to send it to me.
Princess Pictures - so all the Shimai in our district got together and we wanted to give something to everyone at the end of the MTC. Obviously we don't have a ton of resources for gifts so we got creative. So we had a princess coloring book and we picked out everyone`s princess including the Choro tachi. We also did some for our teachers as well. It was pretty funny! Kirby Shimai (she's an artist) is the one who colored all the pictures. I just helped to pick out which princess looked like who.
My first Sunday was good! Even though I couldn't understand anything still. I actually didn't have to bear my testimony this week becuase there was 4 new missionaries so the 2 elders spoke this week and then next week me and Bastow Shimai will speak. The cool part was one of our investigators came to church yesterday. I guess she:s been to church a few times and she really likes it. She is this short and nice old lady. A lot of the people here are nice old ladies. :)
Living with 5 girls in America is hard. But living with 5 girls in Japan is hard and crowded. :) We make it work though. We sleep on futons very close together in 1 (kinda 2) rooms. Everything is much smaller here. In our apartment, we have a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and an office. The bedroom also serves as an office and a closet when we roll the futons up. Also there is no oven here, well there is but it's very small and no one really uses oven here. It's very interesting.
I bought a bike on Saturday, It`s white and has a cute basket in front. It was about $203. So not too bad.
President Evans and Sister Evan are so awesome!!!! I already love them so much! Sister Evans has quite a lot of musical talent and she instantly loves anyone else who has musical talent as well. She is so cute and really funny! :)
The area that I`m in is called Obihiro. It`s right in the middle of Hokaido. We live in the city, but most of our area is countryside. I`ve noticed that lots of people ride bikes here so we fit in perfectly when we`re out exploring the city on our bikes. Also it:s very humid here! I didn:t realize how warm it is in Japan! My hair is going crazy (thank you mom for the frizz controling hair gel). I don't think my hair will ever be straight while I'm here. I feel like I need to take multiple showers every day becuuse I always feel sticky! People here don't have air conditioning. Probably becuase most of the time it's so cold here so they don't really need it. But it seems like it's usually warmer inside people's houses than it is outside. Another thing I've noticed about Obihiro is that there are a lot of little old ladies. They're very nice, but the only problem is that they talk very soft and very fast so it's hard to understand them.
Leaving the MTC I thought I at least knew a little bit of Japanese, but I now realize that I know very, very, very little Japanese. The good thing is that people are very polite here so when they talk to me they'll talk a little slower so that I can try to understand them. They are also very forgiving when I make a mistake (which is a lot of the time). Luckily my companion is Japanese so she helps me a lot when I don't understand what people are saying. Hopefully as I talk to people more, my Japanese will improve. All I can do is try right? :)
Hope you are all doing well!
Much love!
Morrison Shimai
PS We really really really love yogurt here!! :)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hello From Sapporo, Finally!!!

We are finally in Sapporo! I assume you probably didn't hear, but we missed our original flight to Sapporo on Tuesday night because our plane was late leaving from Seattle. It was a very stressful,but adventurous night. We ended up spending the night in Tokyo at a Radisson hotel. It was really nice. And then we got an early flight to Sapporo yesterday (wednesday) morning. But we're here and that's all that matters!

Yesterday I met my trainer. Her name is Furue Shimai. She is Japanese and I'm not exactly sure where she is from, but I know she lives in the Fukuoka mission and it takes her about 4 hours by car to get the the Fukuoka temple. She really nice and super funny!!!! She speaks very good Japanese (obviously) and her English is actually really good too (even though she doesn't think so). It's been hard to speak in Japanese because I really just want to speak in English because it's easier. But we're going to help each other. But she says my Japanese is good, even though it's really not, but I'm trying! She's been in Sapporo for 9 months now, so she is half way done with her mission. I'm the third geigene (foreigner) that she has trained. So she must be a good trainer! :)

It's very hot and humid here, although not as humid as Tokyo. It's really beautiful and bring and hopefully I will be able to send some pictures soon. Our area is right in the middle of Hokaido and it takes about 3 hours to get there so we'll go to our new apartment today. We'll be living with 3 other sisters (including Bastow Shimai). I don't remember what the name of the town is.....

Anyway, just wanted to say hi! Hope you are all doing well. Our P-day is on Monday so you'll probably get another email from me then.

Love you lots!!! :)
Morrison Shimai

Monday, August 5, 2013

She's in the air!

Hey all,

Just an update, Jazmyne left this morning for Japan.  I got to talk to her during her layover in Seattle.  We are starting a new chapter.  So excited to hear of her experiences!  Thanks to all of you who are supporting her with letters.  She loves hearing from home.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

MTC Friends and District 11

Japan Here I Come!

Sorry, this week's letter is going to be short.....
In 2 short days I'll be in Japan!! Ahhhh! It's so weird! It was the beginning of February when I first found out that I would be serving my mission in Japan. And now exactly 6 months later it's finally time for me to go! The time has just flown by so fast! I've now been in the MTC for 8 1/2 weeks and I am definitely ready to go. I don't know if I'm quite ready to speak Japanese, but we're all going a little crazy. Which is probably a good indication that we've been here too long. :) My Japanese is coming along, slowly but surely. It's still really hard and I still speak really slow, but I can teach pretty well and I can bear my testimony in Japanese. So I guess I'm doing ok. :)
My district has been so great these past 2 months! I really love them and I'm going to miss them a lot. Two of the girls will be in Sapporo with me, but the other 9 are going to Sendai, Japan so I won't get to see them again. We're already plainning to have reunions once we all get back from our missions. We have become like family (that's what happens when you spend every waking moment in a classroom with all these people). We have gotten to know each other so well. They are so strong in their testimonies and I can tell that they all have strong relationship with Christ and know who he is. They have been great examples to me of acting like the Savior. They are so kind and geniune in all their unique ways. The next couple of days are going to be very emotional and hard, but I know that they will be such great missionaries. And they will have so much success in helping people come unto Christ.
This past week, I've been thinking a lot about our purpose as missionaries. Which is: to invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them recieve the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, repentance, baptism, recieving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I am so excited to go and serve the people of Japan and help those who do not yet know the Savior, come unto him.
Thank you to everyone who has written me! I'm so sorry if I don't write you back imediately because I only have an hour to email, but it makes me so happy to get your letters! Thanks so much!
Much love! Ai Shiteimasu!!
Morrison Shimai