Monday, November 20, 2017

“Green hair, wings, big sword” - week 65

Hey everybody what’s up? How y’all been?

This week was way cool, me and Elder Mateaki worked like crazy. We talked to a ton of people and had some way cool conversations with a lot of people and really focused on ministering to individuals and showing love this week, and it was great.

We were doing some housing and I started talking to this one lady, probably in her early 40’s, about families. I talked how our message can bless families and we can have more trust and love and all that kind of stuff and she was super nice and then I asked “Do you have kids?” “No.” “Are you married?” “No.” At this point I’m a little taken off guard seeing as I got the hardcore “mom of a couple 5-10 year old kids” vibe, and I ask in my confusion “how old are you” and follow it up promptly with a “wait, you don’t have to answer that”. It was hilarious, Elder Mateaki roasted me waaaay hard after that and it was a bit embarrassing but I’m beyond the point of feeling embarrassment. Hooray for being desensitized to awkwardness.

So we met this other guy while we were finding and I was able to have one of the most relaxed, not awkward conversations I’ve ever had with a random person we met, he was so chill and nice and we just talked about what he believes and the path he personally chooses to follow and ramen and all sorts of stuff, it was awesome. He didn’t end up having interest, but I’m convinced our conversation will have a profound impact on his life.

We had a day this week where I was a little derpier than normal and I was just having trouble doing the basic things (putting on tie, getting the order right on clothing, getting my scarf to fit into my jacket) and we got out the door a little late and I was a bit flustered, but I told Elder Mateaki “It’s OK, nothing can go wrong when you’re eating a mint” and proceeded to pop a mint into my mouth. But I did it in a kind of vertical motion and the mint proceeded to pop right back out of my mouth into my hand and he laughed so hard he almost cried, and proceeded to squeak out his dismay “THIS IS MY TRAINER???!?”. Thanks buddy, really helping my confidence. It’s cool though, you can learn just as well from mistakes as you can from a good example, and I have plenty of stupid mistakes.

We were talking when a couple of other missionaries were over and the conversation led a little bit into the types of girls we like. This one elder pipes in “I told Elder (...) my type once...” And we’re all expecting him to leave it at that or leave it a mystery or something, but he then says “Green hair, wings, big sword”. It was so unexpected at least two of us were on the floor with laughter.
I got an ab workout the other night as well, we were calling the ward mission leader to make sure we didn’t have a meeting the next morning and he gave some explanation and I did my best to show my acknowledgement by saying “分かりました!” (it’s kind of like “I got it, understood”) and I said “わかりません” which is the opposite, “I don’t know”, but with the emphasis of the positive affirmation. It was so unexpected and such a simple but big mistake that me and Elder Livermore just started busting up laughing. That took a little bit of explanation the next day.

Bottom line of what I learned this week - everything is funnier when you’re tired. But you know what? That’s kind of our purpose in life. Alma 34:32 says something along the lines “This life is a time for homies to perform and prepare to meet God” and I think that’s awesome, that’s the absolute truth. There’s a lot of stuff in this life we gotta do, and a lot of things which are tiring, but what’s more important than being physically rested is being spiritually rested, gaining rest for our souls. Being weighed down by guilt, hate, misery, unnecessary stress, and other burdens is EXHAUSTING, but we can find rest for our souls by letting Christ take the weight. Working every day can be tiring, but it is a walk in the park compared to the weight we carry when we harbor grudges for others, when we can’t forgive ourselves for our weakness, when we forget that the details are in God’s hands and little minute things in life are just parts of this life, a blink of the eye in the scope of eternity. I’m not good with words, but I know that when I pray to God for the energy and the willpower I need with all energy of heart, when I read the Book of Mormon as if it contains the answers to all of my problems, and when I take the sacrament with the faith that it will give me the healing power I need and cleanse me from my sin, mistakes, and weakness, I can make it through the week and be happy despite any challenges that come my way. I know that this is true, and no amount of rejection or disappointment or frustration can change that - I myself am weak, but I am strong in Christ.
Have a good week yo, eat some ramen

オーギル長老 (Elder Orgill)
Elder Mateaki and Elder Orgill

汁なし担々麺 (soupless noodles) - really good ramen that makes your tongue numb

"The boys"

There’s a girl at the place we do service who has a gigantic
collection of squishy food-shaped things

He made pancake syrup out of an energy drink ...

A pork-bone broth based ramen which was reported to be "amazing!"

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A week of just pictures -- week 64

This week there were a few private e-mails and other than that, a bunch of pictures, including many bowls of noodles.  He's having a great time.  Enjoy.

Gyouza (pot sticker) party

English language class

"Where the magic happens" - must be one of his favorite ramen shops

Ramen ... note HUGE scoop of minced garlic toward the front

Another ramen with melt-in-your-mouth huge slices of soft pork ... and a HUGE scoop of garlic

Teaching the new missionary how to properly enjoy a really good ramen

Elder Mateaki, Elder Orgill, and a Sendai church member who apparently knows Elder Orgill's sister, Natalie.

And let's end this batch of pictures with yet another picture of noodles ... this time, "oil noodles"

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Back again behind the decks -- week 63

Y’all wanna hear something crazy?

I’m gonna be a trainer. Yeah, I’m gonna get a fresh missionary right off the plane and teach him everything. This is gonna be gnarly, but wish me luck.

So it’s transfers and the party in Kamisugi is getting broken up, I guess it takes the mystery out of it now that you can see transfers on Facebook, but my boy Elder Fujiki, companion of three months and fellow ramen-lover, is getting bounced to the far and distant land of Tsuruoka, literally all the way across Japan (width wise, not lengthwise, it’s on the west coast whereas sendai is on the east coast), to be a TRAINER YEEEE he’s gonna kill it. It’s been an awesome three months, and we'll see how long I stick around here in Sendai, there’s a decent chance I have another three months here.

So this last week we had something pretty crazy, that being an all-mission photo shoot. Which means I got to see my friends from Aomori and Iwaki and everywhere in between. The reasoning is this - we were thinking about what kind of cards and flyers we can pass out to get peoples' attention and their interest. Well, there’s the boring "what’s the purpose of life?" Or "is there life after death?" But really no matter what we put, no picture would really work and not freak people out or be weird. But President Sekiguchi, the madman, came up with the idea of using pictures of missionaries, seeing as the reason for the cards is to get people interested enough to be willing to meet with missionaries. I think as good as pretty sunsets and temples and pictures of the savior are, what really touches people is seeing the light in the eyes of somebody who is really really trying to be like Jesus, who is enlightened and endowed with knowledge of who they are and what they are doing and what their purpose is. So we got dressed up all nice and took some lovely pictures as companionships while walking down a path with some lovely fall colors and it was legit. And since it would be a waste to get everyone together just to take pictures, we played sports afterwards and I wrecked in volleyball.

We ate some good food this week. Since the transfer was ending and the other guys in the apartment had been super busy the whole transfer, we had to do two splits back to back, so we did them Friday and Saturday. On splits with Elder Kurihara, we decided to eat ramen so we went to a place called Kirinji, which I’ve been wanting to come to since I got here. I went with the "soupless pork noodles" 汁無し豚, and it was spectacular. It’s pretty similar to my beloved Jiro, with the pile of bean sprouts on top and the huge chunks of pork and tons of garlic, but it was nice with the soupless variation because it was just a really dense flavor sauce in the bottom that you mix around and it’s delicious. Flavor was also a little different from normal Jiro too, can’t quite put my finger on it but it was excellent. Still have a good list of ramen shops to go to, so I’m glad I’m not transferring, and I’ll teach my "son" (you call your trainer your dad, and your train-ee your son) the art of finding and eating a good ramen. We also had a gyouza (potsticker) party this week, so we made up 100 meat dumplings this week in the evening. Also chopped up some Japanese barbecue flavor meat and mixed it with the Napa cabbage and made egg rolls with that, that was a good day. The other really cool thing I ate is called a zunda shake. The specialty food of sendai is grilled cow tongue, and zunda, which is crushed up sweetened edamame which you eat with mochi (pounded rice). It’s decent by itself, but when blended with ice and cream, it’s AMAZING, so I had by mind blown by that this week.

So by far the coolest thing this week was the cultural festival on the Touhoku college campus, it was SOOOO lit. We went as the four of us with four of our friends and it was so cool, we saw magic and went in a haunted house classroom thing and there was tons of food stands and dancing and bands and best of all........ we found a DJ club. They were super chill and let me step behind the decks to drop a couple tunes and it was awesome (well it sounded like poop because the tempo adjust was being weird and they were routing serato into cdjs so I couldn’t use the cue and i have no idea how to use the headphone outs so i can see what songs I’m using but whatever it was fun). Made some homies, traded some lines; it was lit.

Last week was also super lit; we went to Matsushima and it was awesome and I got cool samples of cracking old pieces of bamboo and sand and scraping sand and the ocean and a jackhammer (there was construction), it was awesome. I mean, it was pretty too, but I was paying more attention to the sounds.

So ima drop a quote right here, "when the time for performance is here, the time for preparation is over". Oh snap, I have to be responsible and train a new missionary next transfer and, well, I’ve prepared a lot for this, but I still wish I’d prepared more. I used to be super into survival and stuff in high school, and I loved playing out in my head zombie apocalypse scenarios, and I had weapons stashed all over the places and I made mental notes in my head about what could be used as a weapon if I needed it and I knew what places would be sweet and protected. And life is kinda like that. I mean, not with the zombies, but you never know when you’re going to be put into a position where you need to be patient, you need to be knowledgeable, you need to have super fly japanese, and you’re out of preparation time, so yeah. Preparation is important and I’m glad I’ve had that mindset for most of my mission, even if it was partially (mostly) pride for wanting to be in leadership, but I’ve been sufficiently humbled and am excited to see some sick miracles this next transfer.

Love you all,

オーギル ”DJ Shantan” 長老(Elder Orgill)

Editor's note: "shantan" is apparently a Chinese soup base which Elder Orgill is quite fond of.

Dropped the club remix of called to serve and blew some minds

"I have no idea what I'm doing"

The original gang from the MTC

The 6kg kimchi bazooka resurfaces

At a restaurant called Moritatsu


Pretty tree, nice.

"Album drops next month"

Finally went to kirinji and boy, did they deliver

Ice cream time!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween -- week 62

Hey y’all, did you have a super sp00ky week? Because I did.

And by sp00ky I mean stressful because of planning a Halloween party. But that’s ok because it’s all over and we went to Matsushima today and I got a ton of cool sound samples and we have some chill stuff coming up too, i just need to turn my brain off and chill for a while. There’s logically no reason to stress over missionary work because it’s the work of the Lord and He is trusting us and is handling all the details, but that’s waaaaay easier said than done.

But it was a good week. Halloween party took up a lot of time, but we also got to do an additional Halloween party as service in a cool little spot called Miyagidai where a bunch of members live, and it was there that a little 8 year old walking monster energy advertisement did his best to kill me. At one point he was trying repeatedly to kick me in a spot that should not be kicked, and when I finally stopped him, a couple little girls came over and said they wanted to play too and I was like "bruh play what" and then one grabbed my hands and tried to kick with all the strength she could manage. Luckily I have super fast reflexes, and no worries, I can still have children. But basically inflicting me pain was the most fun attraction at the Halloween party, so I don’t know if I should be flattered or what. For Halloween I wore a white cape and put on a white shirt and pants and put a cutout of the character "Shiro" (or "Haku", depending on the reading because japanese is fun that way) on my shirt and I went as "Haku-Man", a kind of made up "I have no other costume ideas" superhero. Also I carried around a Napa cabbage, which is referred to in japan as a "Hakusai", 白菜, which means white vegetable, and it had on a little mask with eye marks. See, the joke here is that I’m white, which is referred to as a "hakujin" 白人 and I was carrying around a hakusai, and I referred to myself as Haku-man with my trusty sidekick Haku-boy(the cabbage). So basically it was a very creative dad joke. Please laugh.

We met some interesting people this last week, but none interesting to merit talking about in my email.

Found a guy who’s really cool and is at least down to listen to what we have to say, which is pretty cool.

Matsushima was great, got some great sounds of sand.

It’s been pretty cold and i absolutely hate the cold so ima give an analogy. The cold sucks, but we can put on warm clothes. It doesn’t make it warmer, but it makes us less cold. The world has a lot of bad stuff in it, but even though surrounding us by good thoughts and things like reading scripture don’t make the world any better, they make the area around us warmer, and the we can "huddle for warmth" by sharing the good things we have in our lives.

Love you all! Have a good week, take care and keep warm! 

オーギル長老(Elder Orgill)



Yeezys (we are going to eat ramen with him because I talked about his
shoes with him)

We each at 5 meat buns one night for dinner

Triple-thick tonkotsu (pork bone broth) goodness

"I love noodles" ... how appropriate

All these people were taking pictures of a tree with nice cameras andI just jumped in and took a pic with my iPad, exclaimed that it wasperfection, and walked off.

My super spooky "your average Chinese street food" Halloween yakisoba (friend noodles)

In a land filled with Japanese signs, only this guy can find the English sign which says "LOSER"

Apparently he has a thing for the local brand of MSG

Just one more food pic!! Korean bibimbap

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Candy is falling from spiders -- week 61

Hey hey hey y’all!

This week was pretty cool, I’m learning a lot and learning a lot about myself and had a couple funny/humbling experiences which I’m honestly not sure I’m going to share since I don’t want to seem super shallow haha but let’s not dwell on that, let’s get into what happened this week!


Just kidding, we had a few things, it just went kinda fast. We had Zone Conference which was sweet, I learned that President Sekiguchi uses, or at least keeps on hand, a Lenovo Thinkpad, so basically mad respect for that. I’ve made a lot of goals to be more organized and keep my mind active and focused and speak with more boldness when I talk to people.

We found a super cool guy on Wednesday and ended up going out to eat with him on Thursday, and as we sit down to ramen with him he drops the bomb on us that somebody very close to him passed away very suddenly that day, which was pretty crazy, but we were able to testify with confidence that he would be able to see his friend again. He still isn’t technically an investigator, but I’m confident that we can form a strong relationship with him and he will realize the joy that will come to him from the gospel.

I got some sweet sound samples this week of trains and train crossings and street sounds and buses and engines and also there was this old guy walking down the street playing a weird drum chanting stuff. Also I got an idea - if I could figure out an environment free enough of noise to take samples of watches and clocks, I could make those into some SWEET kick clicks and snares and whatnot, although I’m a little short on ideas for good things with tone I can use. I’m thinking I’ll buy a pair of drumsticks and rubber/felt mallets and carry em around on p-days to sample little things like tapping on chairs and wooden things and railings and things like that. Also President Sekiguchi is going to hook me up with a media interview to talk to some people and I’ve been thinking about ways I can find it to find people to teach, fun stuff.

We had a “typhoon” on Monday. So President told us to stay inside and read the Book of Mormon all day. The rain cleared up about 1:00, but we were given the chance to read basically the whole day and it was a really really cool chance to be cleansed and renewed by the power that is in the Book of Mormon, reading for an entire day is really really cool. I decided to read in Japanese, and I was surprised by my level of comprehension, having characters with meanings attached that you understand helps a lot even when there’s weird vocabulary. I didn’t make it too far, but it was a really really cool opportunity. I want to finish the Book of Mormon in Japanese by the end of my mission, and starting from the beginning yesterday was a good way to start off.

I made ramen this week and menma (flavored bamboo shoots you put on ramen) and also developed my own version of something slightly resembling moo shoo wraps. The ramen was boring, but the menma was super killer good, menma is pretty expensive and I love it for snacking, so I got a two kilo for about 10 bucks this last week and leeched the salt out and then flavored them myself and wow, those things got eaten fast. The moo shoo wraps were kinda interesting, I was wanting something slightly healthy but also interesting and burrito-like, so I made basically super watered down savory pancake mix with cornstarch and a little Chinese flavoring in it and made wraps from that, and then made little tofu steaks (tofu dusted with cornstarch), and a little Napa cabbage and pork thickened stir fry and wrapped it all up with a little bit of kimchi and Korean spicy miso and it was pretty dang good.

I heard something this week that really made me stop and think. The AP's were over on splits and Elder Free and Dance were talking about some dumb funny twitter conversation between basketball players and Elder Dance just says out of the blue “Man, I just love Jesus”. Now it’s not uncommon for me to jump through 5 or 6 rabbit holes on my brain before saying something completely unrelated that leaves some people scratching their heads, but I don’t think I’ve ever just said completely unprovoked "I just love Jesus". Elder Dance's thought process was this: those hilarious basketball players are in this world, and who created the world? Jesus! And Jesus created this world with all this amazing stuff in it because he loves us, and because of that he loves Jesus. And you know what?; I want to add my voice to that of Elder Dance: I love Jesus too. He gave us fall colors and house music and indie movies/music and naps and everything else that is good, and I love Him for that and for giving us all of the hard stuff too. Jesus is the best.

Love you guys!

オーギル長老(Elder Orgill)

Daily muffins

Apparently a potato muffin

"Think outside the box yo" ... toast made with a space heater

"Ramen with a friend"

"I'm Cafe" -- what a great name!

Eating with Elder Fujiki .. both drinking "salty lychee" drink

Elder Orgill dining with the missionaries

My monstrosity

"Family Home Evening is lit"

A local church member did a sketch of Elder Orgill

Apparently the missionaries gave a local member a 6kg "bazooka" which was filled with Korean kimchi

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Week 60 -- no general e-mail this week (again!!)

So he sent a brief e-mail to the family that he has been very busy. He also sent a lot more pictures to compensate for his lack of updates.

The boy loves his food

Note jacket which says "I like to go camping with family".

Missionary caught cat-napping

Elders Orgill and Fujiki with some church members at a local festival

Bathroom selfie

Yes, apparently he took a cabbage to a baseball game!

Tonkatsu (pork cutlet) curry rice

Eating curry with his dining companions


And even more noodles ... the type you dip into the soup on the right, we think.