Week 3

Thus far, Japan has been pretty great. We’ve taught about 9 or 10
people, three of which were totsuzen (unplanned). Last night, we
housed after church for about three hours, and got yelled at twice by
cranky old men. Before that, we also had no success. Everywhere we
went, we’d push the button on the door, and they’d just say “bukyo
des.” Which means that they’re “buddhist”. Apparently everyone in
Japan is buddhist, that’s what some old lady told us. Apparently, this
may or may not include the members of the ward that we’re serving in.
She said that if they’re Japanese, they’re buddhist, if they’re
American, they’re christian and we can’t change it. She then closed
the door and we left a little flyer in the door. The work here is
hard. On the more positive side of things, we found three new
potential investigators this week. Two are down at “Bunkyodai” Which
is a college campus about a 30 minute bike ride away. One is a college
student, and is very busy, the other is a family that lives down
there. It’s a mother and a daughter (at least we didn’t see the
husband), so we’re probably going to be passing them to this area’s
shimai (sisters). When we rang their doorbell and introduced ourselves
as the church’s missionaries, they asked us to wait a second and came
running to the door. The mother and my trainer, Elder Thompson, then
proceeded to have a good conversation, of which I could understand
much more than I thought that I would. She was telling us about how
most Japanese people are very tunnel visioned, but one day she decided
to broaden her perspective, and is willing to hear our message. They
are also both very interested in English, and were shocked to hear
that we actually teach a free English class every Tuesday. I’m pretty
sure that they’ll come. If they do, we’ll probably set up a return
appointment with the sisters, who also help us teach. I have come to
the decision that they were prepared before we met them, because from
what I’ve seen, Japanese people are terrified of change, and will
refuse to stick out in any way. They very much also follow each other,
which is why they’re all Buddhist. None of them would just one day
choose to be different. They’re too afraid to even ask each other
questions. An example of this is that last Monday we went to exchange
my American dollars for yen (I traded 212 dollars for a little more
than 250 by the way.), and it works a lot like the DMV. You take a
number, and wait for service. The machine counts how many tickets are
taken with a number displayed on the front, and every 50, it resets.
It was on 0, when some young lady walked up to it. she wanted a
ticket, but the counter was on 0, so she was afraid to take it. She
spent almost a minute on worrying about it, rather than asking one of
the people working there. She refused to stick out and ask for help.
Another example is that nobody except for old ladies that could be
anywhere between 90 and 400 years old walking together, and the
occasional college or high school couple will talk to each other while
walking too. The trains we ride on are totally silent, except for my
companion and I talking to each other, and stuff like that. On the
trains, people will go to great lengths to avoid speaking with us as
well. It’s so weird. Anyway, because that one lady changed on her own
is why I think she was prepared. Also, it was a small series of
miracles that led us to finding the college student. We were in the
area, trying to visit some other investigators, who weren’t there. We
were going to leave when my companion kind of zoned out and walked
right past the door we go through to leave. He then stopped at a door
and just said “how about this one?” We knocked, taught about God and
Jesus, and when we asked if we could return, he said “yes please”, but
that day was special he said, he’s very busy, and usually can’t meet.
We’ll just have to return again sometime and hope for the best.
Other than those couple of things, not a lot else has happened. On
monday we’re doing a zone activity (going to the zoo) so I’ll have
more to talk about then. \\

-Elder Smith

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