Saturday, November 19, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving week to all our friends and family back in America! We definitely won't have a traditional Thanksgiving this year, but I'd still like to take some time tonight to count our blessings.

First, I'm so thankful that James and I both have good jobs and that we are able to live comfortably. My job with the JET Program has made it possible for us to have this great experience in Japan and jobs have just fallen into place for James. He even got another job offer today to work at yet another school. They love him! It has been great to get to know the students and teachers here. Below are some pictures of our English club activity this week: making fudge in a bag. I was so glad that it worked out better than last month's ice cream in a bag activity (which was basically a complete failure...)!

Second, I'm so thankful for the capacity to learn and progress. The student in the above picture has agreed to be my Japanese tutor for a couple months. Last week, she wrote out (in English - not an easy task for a Japanese high school student!) a five-page lesson on Japanese grammar with illustrations. She is pretty amazing, and her lesson has really helped with my Japanese comprehension. I'm also thankful for the opportunity that James and I will have to attend grad school in the next couple years. Although it continues to be a struggle to try and decide on a school to attend next year, I feel blessed that there are so many options open to us.

Third, I'm very thankful for the Church and the gospel of Jesus Christ that brings James and I closer to each other, to our families, and to the little branch of Church members here in Aizu Wakamatsu. Yesterday, the Relief Society sisters held an activity to officially welcome me to Japan. At the activity, we learned how to make sushi. There were about 15 women who came to the activity, but by the time we had finished all of our sushi rolling, you would have thought that three times that many had been cooking; there was so much food! Sadly, I forgot my camera and only got a picture of some of our pathetic-looking leftovers, but just trust me when I say that my Thanksgiving feast came early - Japanese style! The women in the branch have made me feel so welcome and loved. I feel the love of Christ through them, and I know I'll look back on this experience for years to come with sweet affection for the sisters in the Church who have prayed for me and served me with all their hearts. I'm thankful for them.

Finally, as always, we are grateful for all of you, your love and support. Our friends and family are such a blessing to us. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

What are you thankful for?


  1. This is lovely Em! I love reading about your adventures. Are you learning Japanese? Or are there enough English speakers to get by? You are so brave to do this. I know that while I was in Hungary this summer it was a struggle to comprehend church meetings and such. In general Hungarians don't speak English and don't have a translation service available at church. So it made for some interesting adventures, esp. in Relief Society, where Phil isn't allowed to explain things to me. Haha. But, I know this experience will be one that you will never forget and that helps you to become an even more spectacular person.

    I am thankful for you, and I am thankful for the globalization of the world that allows for such adventures. Happy Thanksgiving! Love ya,

    P.s. I have some exciting news for you. Check out my blog to read about it ;)

  2. Emily,
    I am glad you shared your blog on facebook! Now I know you are enjoying Japan (I hope this is true). I skimmed through a few posts and it got me homesick for Hawaii AND Japan. I just wish i could be everywhere at once. Well, enjoy it while you can- soon, like Hawaii, your adventures there will be just memories. Live it up!

  3. Keola! Thanks for your sweet comment. I'm so excited to hear about your exciting news! I think I have an inkling as to what it could be :) I am studying Japanese like crazy, but it hasn't come nearly as fast as I would have hoped. Slow and steady wins the race though, right? I will have to catch up on your Hungary trip - that is so amazing! Love you lots!

  4. Amy,
    It is definitely true that I am enjoying Japan - everything except for the cold weather, which is probably not nearly as bad here as it was in Sapporo! Isn't that where you were? Thanks for the encouragement - I hope things are going great for your cute family!