We finally went to the aqarium! It was basically like the aquatic part of the Indy zoo with the exceptions of killer whales, belugas, and a mackrel exhibit. For the mackrel exhibit, they had a bag of fish food on a wire that they would plunge into the tank so the mackrel would swarm in their silvery tornado to that point. Above the tank they had spotlights in various colors so the fish reflected those colors. For our entertainment they set it to music. It was actually pretty, but the novelty wore off after a few minutes. One poor penguin had no feathers on its head. I'm not sure if it was sick, if it got picked on, if it was born that way, or what. I finally filled up my first SD card! I have now switched to a new one. I don't think that I will fill this one up by the end of my mission unless I take a lot of videos. We went with the elders to their recent convert's house for a going away party since Elder Richard was transferring. We ate a lot of meat, which is rare in Japan.
We went out for the day, only to find Sister Hansen's front bike tire flat. I have tire patches, but no pump, and the elders have no pump, and all of the stores were closed for New Years (which is about as big as Christmas is in the States). So we had to do with no bikes for that day and for all day Wednesday. We had just finished lunch when one less active texted us and said "I'm so excited to meet with you today" and I said, oh no, I forgot we were meeting her today, so we had to rush out the door and catch the train. She then fed us second lunch and read our fortunes from what color nail polish we chose. She's a funny lady. Then we had to catch the bus and then walk to a member's house. Unfortunately we were late, but they were very understanding. We had cheeze fondue again. Maybe it's the thing to eat on holidays in Japan. Then we roasted marshmallows over the table stove. We taught a lesson about baptism and the spirit using pepper and soap to help their seven year old get ready for baptism.
The biggest holiday in Japan, but not a lot of pomp or commercialism or partying, just families visiting the local shrine and spending the day together. We went to the shrines and talked to people there. Saw some interesting things there that only get shown on the first, but no pictures of them because that's rude. The bishopbric asked us not to go housing this week because it is such a big deal in Japan. Imagine getting our doorbell rung on Christmas by Jehovah's Witnesses. But, it was hard not to because there were so many families together and at home. We spent the evening watching the Work of Salvation Broadcast since Sister Hansen didn't get to see it when it first came out.
We got Sister Hansen's bike fixed. There was some strange metal sharp thing that poked a hole in it. Then we went out to find some less actives. Most of the addresses we had didn't have apartment numbers, so we asked the people living in the apartment complexes and just guessed. We went to Denny's for lunch, but it is not anything like American Denny's. The only thing remotely close to breakfast food was salmon cakes on pancakes covered in holandaise sauce (which I got, it was good). Everything else on the menu was completely Japanese, like fish egg rice bake.
We met with a returning member whose circle of friends just got smaller because they got on the wrong side of the law. She was worried about various things, but we talked, and just as we were finishing up, the elders came and they gave her a blessing of protection. She said that she had been praying for help and that the missionaries coming to her house was a recognizeable answer to her prayers. As we were riding home, we ran into one of our investigators. We stopped and said hi, when the person with our investigator was like "hi, do you remember me, we met once in April. Here's my phone number, give me a call." I know that Heavenly Father put us there at that time so that we could meet with this former investigator once more. I know that he blesses others through us.
We went to a mochi making activity held by the ward. Mochi is pounded rice that is then topped with or filled with various things. See attached pictures. I ate so much mochi I had a stomachache. We visited with the bishop and got a betty crocker brownie mix from them. We were very delighted to take it off their hands. When we made it, I was only able to eat one because it was so sweet. I guess I have turned Japanese.
No investigators at church, but four less actives came. Yay! We found the first house to actually stump the missionaries. The first floor is the parking spot for the cars. The second floor is their business. The third floor is their house. There is only one stairwell and only one doorbell, which means that if you want to visit with the less active, you must disturb their business. They got the better of us this time. But we will be back!