September 15, 2013

Elder is doing great, ladies and gents.  This is the email we got a little over a month ago and it goes a little something like this…

“Hey everyone!  Another preparation day here.  It has been so crazy here.  My doryo (companion) is the district leader so I have to travel around a lot.  Because of that, I have been out of Katsura a lot!  Things are going great though the key indicators have been a little low especially in church attendance.  We try to encourage our kyudosha (investigators) to come even though they might by busy, but it hasn’t been in the plan as of yet.  Just keep them in your prayers if you would-that they will feel the need and drive to come and partake of the glorious fruit of the gospel.  We actually have a baptism coming up on the 29th of this month which I am so looking forward too.  And there is another potential baptism from a referral we received from another set of missionaries in Shomogamo.  SO possibly two baptisms coming up.  WOOT! WOOT!  Kyoto is fun.  There has been a definite break through with the work here although the adversary is hard against us in this area and trying to mess with things, so I would appreciate any prayers that the Kyoto area can have some baptismal and conversion success.  

Our apartment is on the fourth floor of our building and its a good size.  We are the only companionship there so we don’t need a lot of space though.  It has a washer and we hang dry our clothes here, so a little bit different from American amenities.  Its really nice though because of the space; we have a room for study and a room for our suitcases, so all in all pretty sweet.  

So far my favorite delicacy here is okonamiyaki or cabbage pancakes and they are delicious!  I will definitely make some for you all when I get back.  The teriyaki is pretty good too as well as fried octopus balls and mochi which is a rice paste with bean on it.  I have also eaten nato, which I will refrain from explaining because it will probably gross you out lol.  They do eat American rice here and lots of ramen (although ramen will never be the same for me cause its legit here!)  Spaghetti and korean BBQ is delicious along with fried rice.  I just recently tried Indian curry when we went out to eat.    There is just to many good foods to name them all, but those are some of my favorites…

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki

Takoyaki or fried octopus balls

Takoyaki or fried octopus balls

Mocchi or a Japanese rice pastry thing

Mocchi or a Japanese rice pastry thing

Natto or "soybean mush" lol

Natto or “soybean mush” lol

We had one dinner appointment so far.  The ward is awesome and they really like me although I can’t speak really well or understand them.  Its really small; perhaps estimating 23 people not counting the missionaries.  Lets hope the numbers increase soon.  Keep all my investigators in your prayers.  Love you all.  Til next week.”

  • Okonomiyaki– Loved throughout the ages in Japan, “Okonomiyaki” is often described as a “Japanese-style pizza” and is a dish that is especially popular in Osaka. Fresh vegetables, meat, fish and/or shellfish are blended into the batter that is used as a base, and that mixture is then poured onto the griddle. Once it is cooked, a special sauce – together with mayonnaise – is brushed on top, a further topping of dried bonito or seaweed is applied. The taste of the Japanese people, Okonomiyaki is something everyone should try at least once.
  • Takoyaki (たこ焼き or 蛸焼) or fried or baked octopus balls is made of batter, diced octopus, tempura scraps , pickled ginger, konnyaku, and green onion, topped with okonomiyaki sauce, green laver (aonori), mayonnnaise, and katsuobashi (fish shavings), originating in Osaka. Making takoyaki requires aa special frying pan made of cast with hemispherical molds.  Although takoyaki can easily be made at home if the equipment is available, it is usually considered to be fast food and mostly sold on the streets. Frozen takoyaki are also sold, and there are restaurants in which customers can cook their own takoyaki at their tables. Takoyaki is especially popular in the Kansai area, but has risen in popularity all over Japan. In the Kansai region, takoyaki is eaten as a side dish with a bowl of cooked rice. Elsewhere in Japan, it is eaten without rice as a snack food.

  • Ramen is a noodle dish that was originally imported to Japan from China. Over the last few decades, however, ramen has become a typical Japanese dish and gained great popularity inside and outside of Japan. Ramen noodles are about as thin as spaghetti and are served in a soup with various toppings.

  • Nattō (なっとう or 納豆?) is a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans.  It is popular especially as a breakfast food.  Nattō may be an acquired taste because of its powerful smell, strong flavor, and slimy texture.
  • Mochi (?) is Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grain japonica glutenous rice. The rice is pounded into paste and molded into the desired shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsukiWhile also eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year and is commonly sold and eaten during that time.
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