Sunday, September 18, 2011

I'm Getting Old...

As I sit here trying to figure out what to say, I can’t help but reflect on the good life I’ve had. I feel justified now that I’m 26 to use phrases like that. I can’t think of many things that have happened this week. But one of the highlights was my birthday…

Saturday (my birthday) was awesome. We got to bike around the town a bunch and visit some pretty cool places.  We went to one place called IImoriyama. I have been there before, but it was fun to go with Sue. It is the resting place of 19 young Samurai soldiers.  Iimoriyama was the place where they kept watch of the castle here in Aizu from afar. When they saw the castle smoking some hundreds of years ago, they ended up killing themselves. To the Samurai, it was better to kill yourself then surrender to the enemy. I know it all sounds gloomy but it was a very beautiful place. They have a shrine that has a double helix walk way going up to the top floor that was pretty cool too. One of the things that Sue found really interesting was the insects. We found some pretty big spiders there. After taking our time up in the mountain looking at the various shrines, grave stones, and beautiful scenery, we biked around to find a good place for lunch. We found this awesome restaurant (I couldn’t read what the name was) and had some pretty amazing food. I ordered sauce katsudon which is one of the famous dishes here in Aizu and Emily ordered some kind of Karaage which is breaded chicken. When hers came out, the chicken was in a dish above a small flame. It was really cool to see. After lunch we were able to take our time biking around and relaxing the rest of the day.
This is the entrance to Iimoriyama. Lots and lots of stairs.

There were quite a few shrines like this one.

The love of my life standing on a little bridge...  So pretty!

I was told that this is a one of a kind shrine. It has a double helix stairway inside... one side to go up to the top and the other side to walk down.

Not sure who's graves these are... but there were a lot of them. Just beyond the graves was an awesome view of Aizu Wakamatsu.

This is kind of a memorial of one of the Samurai looking towards the castle.

These are some of the grave stones of the 19 young Samurai that committed suicide after they found out that the castle had been overtaken.

This was Emily's yummy Karaage dish. Just underneath the dish was a flame to keep things nice and warm.

Apparently my hungry face... That sauce katsudon was dang good!

Pretty ant. I know it's hard to tell, but some of the ants here are about 10 times the size of ants in the states.

Sorry for the blurry picture... The spiders here are weird. They are very colorful but thankfully not as big as tarantula.

On Sunday, Emily gave her first talk in church on Family Home Evening. It was really good (no surprise there). It was really funny when she got the assignment to speak. The other counselor in the branch presidency gave me a slip of paper that was written in Japanese to give to Emily and told me that he wanted Emily to speak in a few weeks and that English was ok. When I gave Emily the paper, the only part she could read was “English OK.” She had mixed emotions about giving a talk where most of the people wouldn’t understand so she ended up making it an easy-to-understand talk and had me help her with the translation. She did an excellent job and there were many people that said her Japanese was perfect. She has been studying so hard and I am very proud of how quickly she is learning the language; it’s so much fun!

Well, although I didn’t write about too many different events, things continue to be busy here with work and church activities. We love you all lots and appreciate your prayers for our safety!

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