Monday, February 16, 2015

Strawberries and Gomi

Recently the English class coordinator for the city Volunteer Center invited us (six missionaries) to go with her to pick strawberries.  We were so surprised.  It’s winter, we’ve had a little snow, where would we find strawberries? We carpooled with a group of people from our English class, drove for about an hour, went up into the mountains, and by some farms.  We arrived at a beautiful farm with rows of green houses, full of strawberries.  The owner did an orientation, and let us sample their berries.  They were some of the sweetest berries we had ever tasted.  He handed us little baskets, little scissors for cutting the berries, and let us choose the berries we wanted.  The berries were easy to find, because they were hanging off the side of the growing racks, with all the varieties labeled.  We took our filled baskets to their store/office, they weighed the berries, we each paid for our berries, then headed the hour drive back to town.  I don’t want to make that drive very often, but the berries and the good friends made it well worth the drive.


“Gomi” is a cute Japanese name for garbage. Garbage is a complicated thing in Japan.  Everything has to be rinsed, sorted, tied, or bagged in transparent plastic bags.  You take something out each of the five week days. Each day is a different group, since they sort into several categories for recycling—burnable (kitchen scraps/yard scraps), plastics, newspapers, etc. etc. We receive a “garbage” calendar, which helps to remember what to take out each day.  It is all in Japanese/kanji, but luckily we have an English translation paper for the categories.  Each evening before going to bed we get the gomi ready to take out the next morning.  We try to stay on top of it so we don’t have garbage build up.  There are gomi drop-off points on every block.  They have a green net to cover the gomi so the crows don’t get to it.  It is all very neat and organized. 
The garbage trucks are neat, clean, and kind of cute.

This is the neighborhood drop point, every couple of blocks.

This is an extra big pile before the New Year's break.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Week of Miracles

We came to Japan with International Drivers Licenses but are legally required to get Japanese licenses within a couple of months, if staying for an extended time.  We had been putting off getting them because we understood it was very hard and very expensive.  After gathering up all of our legal papers and previous licenses we made a couple of trips to the DMV testing center about fifty minutes away from our home in another town.  We found the testing and processing people to be very helpful, friendly, and kind.  We are so blessed to be able to say we got our drivers licenses.  Now we can focus on other things that need to be done, like learning Japanese. 
The test range.

The miracle licenses. 
We have also met a lot of wonderful new friends.  Many have started coming to church and to our dance exercise classes.  The members and our friends seem to love the exercise class and say they want to come every week.   We had thirty people come to the class this past week.  People in their twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties have been coming.  It makes this sixty-five year old instructor feel pretty good.  We get a chance to share a short gospel message at the end which they also seem to enjoy.  We love sharing these good things.