Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Happy Mother's Day in Japan

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there! It was nice this last week to get back into a routine with things. We had missed three Sundays of church here in Aizu Wakamatsu, so today everyone kept saying, "we thought you died..." We did tell them that we were going to be gone. Anyways, Emily and I noticed that people here in Japan seem to celebrate Mother's Day differently. For example, usually the speakers at church are male and they speak on a theme around mothers, but today, most of the speakers were women and they spoke about the blessings of the Priesthood; have to admit it was a little funny. Women get no breaks here in Japan.

Like I mentioned, it is nice to get back into a routine here at our apartment; also our routine of posting every week. Last weekend we went to Yamagata Prefecture and stayed with a missionary couple that I served with, the Niwa's. It was fun to spend the night with them and then go to the branch we served together in the next morning for church services in Tsuruoka (the couple served in the neighboring branch, about two hours from their house at the same time I served there about six years ago). It was a lot of fun to reminisce in the experience and was surprised at both how many people I remembered, and how many people remembered me. The most common thing said to me was in reference to Emily, "bijin da ne. Yokatta desu ne," which interprets, "she's so beautiful, good for you." So much fun! 
I don't remember the sister on the left, but next to her moving left is Sister Niwa, Emily, me, Sister Chiaki, and Brother Niwa,

We have some pictures of some of the other highlights of the week as well.
We got to tour a famous pottery place in Aizu Misato yesterday. We visited a girl's family that Emily had taught at one of her high schools. Consequently, after she graduated, she went to college at the place that I teach. It's pretty funny. This is a room where the do the sculpting of cups and dishes and what not.

This was in a locked room,  a kiln that was made 400 years ago. 

The kiln was amazing to see, but it was locked up because it got pretty messed up in the 3.11 earthquake last year. There are plans to restore it, but nothing has happened yet.

The kiln was pretty impressive. They explained that this place makes really famous pottery. When I asked why the pottery made there was so famous and ridiculously expensive, they told me that the materials were taken from a nearby mountain and when combined with the 8th generation pottery maker family that owns the place and the large kiln, it makes for some rather unique colored pottery. 

After our tour, we went over to our student's house, played card games, relaxed, and had yakiniku for dinner. The easiest way to explain yakiniku is to say Korean bbq. Pretty much it's different kinds of meat and veggies cooked on a hotplate in which you dip in yummy special sauce. It was awesome!

We really had a fun time with the family. From left to right; mom, Wako (front, youngest sister), Yuka (back, currently one of Emily's students), Kana (Emily's previous student and my current student), Emily, and me.
Other than that, Emily has been hard at work on applying for graduate positions at University of Oregon. We hope everyone is doing well! Much love and again, Happy Mother's Day!

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