Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28, 2011

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!! I love saying that! You say it to Japanese people and they have no idea what you are talking about. Soooo I don't know if I have ever mentioned this, but the Tokyo Temple is in my area!! Isn't that awesome!!! So since now it is officially Christmas season, my companion and I and the elders in our district do what we like to call caroling christmas dendo. Which means we stand outside of the temple and try to get people to listen to us sing Christmas hymns and then tell them what the true meaning of Christmas is. We did this last night and it was hilarious. One man said that he would listen but wouldn't cross the street to come hear us so we sang from across the street. It was so funny. People in Japan are always BUSY so they sometimes don't stop but it sure is fun to do! My companion and I pretend like we are Temple Square sister missionaries. It's fun.
So for my Thanksgiving, we woke up, did our normal study, did weekly planning which takes 10 years, and then went to a member's home with one of our investigators and had Thanksgiving dinner and a lesson with our investigator. So, Thanksgiving ROCKED. Also don't worry that was certainly NOT the only Thanksgiving dinner we had. I think we had about 4 others this weekend. On Saturday we went to and investigators house to eat lunch at 11am and then went to a member's home for Thanksgiving dinner at 3pm and then went to another member's home to eat Thanksgiving at 7pm. It was hilarious. We were so full we thought we were going to die. I kept leaning over to my companion and saying, "on a scale of 1-10 how are you doing right now?" and she would say, "I dont know if i can answer that.." hahaha it was fun. Needless to say, the bikeride home was a little harder that night.
Ok so I am obsessed with Japanese children. I think I have already said that but I'll probably say it 100 more times. They are so cute!!! You get these like 5 year olds who are fluent in Japanese AND English and it blows my mind. So when we were at a member's house for actual Thanksgiving this little boy named Noah was saying the prayer and he would say, "please bless the food, please bless my sister, please bless the missionawies, please bless mommy..." and so on and so on and then in between each thing that he would bless his sister would say "nameajesuschristamen" because she wanted him to end. it was hilarious. And he is like 2 and speaks english and japanese. #coola2yearoldisbetterthanme
One quick thing I have learned on my mission ( I think I have already said this before but I will say it again) is how important members are to a missionary's success. THEY MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE. I can't wait to get off of my mission and be the rockstar member that helps the missionaries out always and goes to teach with them and is always thinking of different friends who need to hear the gospel.. That's all! haha
I think that is all I have for this week! I love all of you so much! I pray for you!
sassyshibuya gossip girl,
Sister Swainston

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011

Week two!!!!
Ok so... Tokyo happenings... I got my bike this week, the first few days I legit could not sit down I was bruised. No major accidents yet just kind of had a situation with a pole the other day. All in a days work!! We had a big Thanksgiving activity this week for our Eikaiwa (that is the english class we teach) students. It was fun. Don't doubt I had them all make hand turkeys and write on the fingers things they are thankful for. Didn't think I would ever use my stu-co craft making ablilities again did you? Fun fact, JAPANESE IS SO HARD. Sometimes it gets the best of me but mostly it is okay. Sometimes in lessons I legit have no idea what is going on but I can always feel the spirit. Honestly so many times I find myself crying because I feel the spirit and I don't even know why. (besides the whole ihavenoideawhatanyoneissaying thing.) I ate McDonalds this week. (had to). It tasted the same and the portion sizes were the same. Don't doubt I got a full on BIG MAC. haha Sadly to report, they don't serve McDonald's cookies. I WAS SO SAD. I'll live. One fun fun fun thing we did this week was go to an elementary school and make mochi (rice cakes) with them! It was for a cultural exchange event for the embassy. It was so fun to play with the Japanese kids. I asked them if they liked American music and one of the girls told me she loved Hannah Montana so I of course sang it for her. We had quite the downpour of rain and I definitely felt like a missionary walking everywhere in the rain getting SOAKED. It is times like that that make a mission so FUN!!! It was windy and rainy and I believe we broke 3 umbrellas throughout the day. We were laughing so hard. Today I went to Forever 21 AND H&M with a potential investigator. It rocked I was in heaven. I believe forever had like 7 floors what. a. dream. So last night we were streeting (which is when you just go talk to random people on the street about the gospel) and we were talking to this one lady about mountains and snow (at the time I had no idea this is what we were talking about) and then my companion was like yeah Sister Swainston, Las Vegas doesn't really have snow right? and I was like no we have snow! The whole time I thought the word for snow was actually the word for mountains so obviously I looked really dumb. Again, times like that make the mission all the better. One day I will be able to look back at that and laugh. ANYWAYS!!!!! I gotta go PREACH and I love it!! I love all of you and I love these Japanese people so hard!!!! OHHHHH almost forgot, today we went over to this lady's house who is 82 years old and has green hair. She is so fun and so nice. A lot of older women here have full on neon hair it is so funny.. anyways.. that made me laugh so I thought I would share...
gossip girl
ps the picture is of us missionaries and our Eikaiwa class! FUN!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ariel's First Letter from Japan

I have finally made it to Japan!!! It is everything and anything I could ever imagine and much MUCH more! I am obviously obsessed with it. I just walk around in awe. 
 Ok so let's start with my companion slash trainer. SHE ROCKS. Somehow the stars aligned and I got a companion that is a perfect match for me. We are besties already. She is hilarious and perfect. Her name is Sister Derricott and she is from Bountiful, UT. She has been out for 7 months and her Japanese is bomb so it gives me hope. She is a great missionary but still normal and totes understands my humor. We have tons of fun together 
Ok so my area... It is called Shibuya!!! Google it! be jealous!! It has the busiest intersection in the world and is INSANE. It is literally a sea of people always. When you see Tokyo on movies and stuff, it is my area. I am in the heart of Tokyo. Seriously wouldn't have it any other way! This area is perfect for me! And I will for sure be here for at least 2 transfers and most likely more than that. I love love love it! The people here are SO awesome. I seriously walk down the streets and just stare at people's outfits. I feel like I am in a magazine 24-7. Japanese people are so much more fashionable than Americans. Also there are huge semi trucks that drive by blasting j-pop music which are their Japanese boy bands. It is hilarious. If you can imagine, most things here are so funny to me. I cover 1 Japanese ward and 2 English branches here so wooo I get to speak English too! Also we teach English classes on Wednesday nights and it is so FUN! Japanes people love to learn English it is funny. 
Today we bought my bike and put it in a bag to carry it from the bike shop, on the train, and back to our apartment (which by the way is the most expensive apartment in the missionary world). I am sure next week I will have plenty of stories of the dumb things I do slash things I crash into on that bike. Get ready. The trains here are so cool I feel so cool taking them. It is like waiting for a Disneyland ride waiting for the train amongst all the Asians I love it. Yesterday on the train there was this little Japanese girl counting on her fingers (better than me might I add) and I wanted to steal her she was so cute. The children here are SO CUTE I love hearing little babies speak Japanese it's hilarious. 
On Sunday we had a BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My first Sunday in Japan, my first baptism!!!! It was so awesome. I didn't know the man very well obviously but I was overcome with emotion when I saw him come out of that water GLOWING!!! It rocked. 
Unfortunately Japanese people LEGIT CANNOT say my name for the life of them so I got permission from my President to change it to something they can say. I am either going to do Ariel Shimai or Swain Shimai. We'll see. haha it is so funny everytime they look at my tag and then take 10 minutes to sound it out. 
The other day we were at a member's house making lunch with a less active and it was so fun. The member's name is Busso kyodai (kyodai means brother) and he is from Italy and speaks Japanese, English, and Italian. So the whole time he is cooking us this Italian meal singing Italian at the top of his lungs. It was so funny. We were speaking English, Italian, and Japanese with him. As he was cooking he turns to us and goes, "My mama always say, The food is like the woman, very delicate." HAHAHa he is hilarious. 
Ok so the food here is very interesting. Hahhaha I want you to google nato right now. It is fermented beans and unique to say the least. My companion loves it and of course my first day fed it to me. It's not my favorite not going to lie.. Hahaa but last night was my first time eating at a member's house and it was really good food. We sat on the floor on little pillows and everything! (I couldn't feel my legs when I stood up).
Anyways... I know I am forgetting SO MANY things but most importantly, I LOVE JAPAN!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nihonjin gossip girl
oh yeah and the garbage trucks talk. Mostly everything talks here. AND they don't have dryers. just washers.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Safely Arrived!

Families of Japan Tokyo Missionaries,

We are happy to inform you that we have met and talked to your/our missionaries. They arrived safely last evening in Tokyo and were brought to the mission home where they were fed and had a good night sleep. We are so excited to have them here. They are amazing missionaries.

Today they have written letters home and are being trained. This afternoon they will receive their trainer and go to their new area of serving.

We hope within the next month that we will send you a picture of your missionary with President and Sister Albrecht and a picture of them and their trainer. Please look forward to that as well as a map of the mission that you can track their service.

We are excited to have them here at this time in the mission. We know that your lives have been and will continue to be blessed by their service.

Any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us.

Japan Tokyo Mission Staff
Sister Hobbs

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ariel Heads to Japan!

Ariel leaves for Japan tomorrow morning! Here is her new address:

Sister Ariel Swainston
4-25-12 Nishi-ochiai, Shinjuku-ku
Tokyo 161-0031

Send her a letter!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Some Pictures from the MTC

Last Letter from the MTC

Can you believe it?!?!?!?! I go to Japan in like 10 seconds!!
Ok so when I get to Japan I will be with my trainer for three months (same amount of time as the MTC) because they have a new program for the first 12 weeks of your mission where you get an extra hour of companion study and an extra hour of language study in the morning with your trainer. Cool huh?! I am really grateful for that I know it will help a lot. Anyways, I hope I get another BOMB companion because I will be with them for three months and then I will only have a YEAR left on my mission!! Isn't that insane?! Time flies here it really does.
This week has been filled with the usual and then all the lasts. Last gym, (don't doubt I sat there and did about one crunch every 3 minutes for good measure) anyways we had our last Relief Society (this week is Mission Conference) and Elaine S. Dalton came!!! It was so awesome!! So that makes 4 apostles, Relief Society AND Young Womens general president, and many members of the 70 for my mtc stay. Seriously I am so blessed.
OH for Halloween my companion and I dressed like eachother. She wore all of my clothes and I wore all of her clothes. It was kind of funny because we both have such distinct style and we were SO eachother. If that makes sense... Then we decided to try and eat so much candy that we would throw up. Much to my dismay, we did not throw up. Instead we just gained 3 pounds each. Yep. In one day.
On Wednesday, SHANNON CAME IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (that's actually Skalla shimai now...) but seriously I DIED upon seeing her. I got to be her host which is the missionary that takes the new missionary around right when they arrive and shows them around and takes them to their residence and classroom and stuff. COOL HUH?!?!?! It was seriously a gift from above I KNOW that. At first I wasn't going to be able to host because we had a departing meeting scheduled at that time but it got CHANGED!! Also, sisters have to wait by the residence for the elders to bring the new sisters to them to take them where they are supposed to go but I just so happened to be in the right place at the right time when Shan and Linny pulled up so of course I ran over!! (with quiet dignity of course) I just ran to Shannon and gave her a BIG hug and said, "You made it! You're here, you did it! Everything will be okay." as we are both crying... It was really cool and I know that the Lord was micromanaging the details of both of our lives at that moment. It seriously ROCKED to see Lindsey too! We said our goodbyes and I took Shannon into the MTC to get her settled in. It was a DREAM. Now we get to see eachother at every meal and at night we of course spend every second until quiet time together. It is so fun to have Shannon here. And don't worry every elder at the MTC is in love with her and she gets told she looks like Carrie Underwood at least 20 times a day.
On to other business... We had a little meeting with the Brother in charge of the International MTC's because he went to Japan and likes to give the Japan bound missionaries a little pep talk. He talked to us about how Japan is prophecied to be one of the most baptizing missions in the world someday and we have to believe that there are people there prepared by the Lord, waiting for their friends. We have to expect more our of ourselves so we can be as successful as the Lord wants us to be. It was a very sacred meeting and got me SO EXCITED to get to Japan.
Yesterday we had something called in field orientation all. day. long. It was really cool though and got me really excited to go on a mission too. It was all about knowing our purpose and how to use it in every little thing we do in the field and then about finding and using members in our work too.. (by the way if you didn't already know this, members are the MOST IMPORTANT SLASH EFFECTIVE TOOL IN MISSIONARY WORK) so I challenge all of you members to get to work and help out the missionaries in your ward. Also I decided yesterday that I think every member should go through the MTC. If every member understood the importance of missionary work a little better and had the desire and knowledge that full time missionaries do, the WORLD would explode with the joy of the gospel!! How much happier would we be?!?! Can you imagine? Anyways I'm done preaching I don't want to be annoying.
So something funny that happened... My companion and I were walking along, minding our own business when along comes this elder, by himself, (ummm.. excusemewhereisyourcomp) and he starts like jumping off of ten benches and then 20 walls just like parkour-ing all over the place.. we looked at each other and thought umm.. that was strange. and then all the sudden another elder (a little shorter and chubbier) comes running as fast as he can and is like, "Dang it!" because it was his comp that was running away... anyways i was like crying laughing
ALSO it is currently snowing outside and so cold I want to die.
This time next week I will finally be and Asian Harajuku LOVER!!!!! CANT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That is all I have, think of me on Monday I will be all the way in NIHON!!!!
I love you all so much!!
Family, TALK TO YOU MONDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I am seriously PEEING about that one)
Love love love,
harajuku gossip girl