Sunday, October 18, 2015

Amazing Tunnels!

When the airplane landed in Japan we were surrounded by level ground, big cities, and beyond that farms and some rolling hills.  Not far away are the mountains.  We were assigned a car from the mission and pay a monthly rental fee which is reasonable.  We drove our car from Fukuoka to our assigned city of Kagoshima, four hours away.  There were a lot of hills and mountains between the two cities.  There are many tunnels through these mountains and hills.  We’ve only gone to Fukuoka a few times.  The last time we made the trip I decided to count the tunnels.  I counted approximately 25 tunnels.  We went through 24 of them in about 30 minutes.  They are various lengths.  Some are very short and some are surprisingly long.  The longest one is about 6 kilometers, which is 3.7 miles.  Some have many lights and feel bright, and some have only a few, and some have only a third or fourth of the lights turned on and feel dark.  What an engineering miracle to have these tunnels.  Without them we would be driving up over the mountains or around them.  Either way it would take many more hours to drive.  The longer tunnels have large ceiling fans circulating the air, and escape exits in case of an emergency like an earthquake.  We are always glad when we see the light at the end of the tunnel.  It reminds me of a talk from our recent General Conference, “Choose the Light” by Elder Vern P. Stanfill. He said “There is no darkness so dense, so menacing, or so difficult that it cannot be overcome by light.”
 (  or Japanese  )

Some of the tunnels have interesting pictures engraved, like this one of the volcano.

you can see two tunnel entrances.  We drive on the left in Japan.

One of the interesting tunnels.

This is one of the long 6 kilometer tunnels.

You can see variations in tunnel wall tile colors. 

This photo is not clear, but one tunnel ends and in a few feet a second tunnel begins.

This was one of the bright tunnels.

This was also one if the bright newer tunnels.

Another view of Sakurajima.  A cloudy sunrise with our awesome volcano.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Grandma to Grandma

Sometimes I forget my about my age and being a grandma.  Then I look in a mirror and say, “Oh yeah,  I’m a grandma”.  We have two mirrors in our Kagoshima home, but neither is in a useful location, so we don’t look very often.  Sometimes, I see a recent photo or my window reflection and think I don’t look too bad.  Other times I say (as Grandpa Rowe said) “who is that old guy?”  When I’m walking through town or sitting in the train station it is so interesting that the grandmas look at me, a lot, more than other people.  I smile and say “konichiwa” (hello).  They are pretty quick to return the smile and greeting.  I guess you could say that there is a connection of “One grandma to another”.  Usually when I greet them, “ohayo gozaimasu,” they answer back.  Sometimes they start speaking Japanese.  I can only pick out a few words.  I usually tell them that my Japanese is very small, “watashi no Nihongo sukoshi desu”.  It is really fun to smile at these people and make friends.  Oh, how I wish I could carry on a conversation with them, and learn more about them. I have to be content with my limited “baby talk”.  They are so cute, kind, and patient.  I love them, “aishite imasu”. 

While out inspecting missionary apartments we took a few minutes to visit the Castle in Miyakonojo, on the same day a group of school children also visited.

It was so cute to see all of their backpacks and shoes neatly outside the castle entrance.
This was a cute farmer's wife and grandma.  I fell in love with her.  We were looking for an address in this city, about 45 minutes away from us.  We went back another time to give them some strawberries.  We felt like old friends.

This was a cute mother and daughter we met in the bus station, on transfer day, while waiting for missionaries to arrive.  They are so beautiful, and were so nice.  The train station is across the street.  There is a tunnel under the street, where we go back and forth helping missionaries.

This is a cute grandma that I met at the Miyakonojo Castle.  Glenn helped translate, when she said she had never met foreigners.  You can't help but love these people.

Another view of our awesome volcano, with a beautiful sunrise.