Charlie has returned to his roots! (That is, he’s been transferred back to Osaka, which is where he started out.) This time he’s on the north side of town, and his new companion is Elder Yamaguchi. So far he’s had companions from Mexico, Australia, Canada, and the U.S., but this is the first one from Japan, and you know what that means: all Japanese, all the time. Gambatte ne! [Good luck!] Here are some of his thoughts from the past few weeks.
On his new area and companion:
The area is saikooo [awesome]! Yamaguchi Choro is the man. He’s sadly going home next transfer, so I only get to have him for six weeks but it’s going to be a good six weeks. These past few days have stretched my Nihongo [Japanese] in ways I didn’t know it could be stretched. Yamaguchi Choro speaks some seriously gangster, mumbly Japanese. He’s way funny. He’s from Aichi ken. I love him already.
On choosing to be happy, regardless of your circumstances:
This week was good, it had its ups and downs, but all you have to do is choose ups rather than downs! Happiness is always a choice. We can choose to be happy and positive, or we can choose to wallow in the mire of our trials and challenges. But then how would we grow? (And who would want to be around us?) It seems so very easy, but it’s also so very hard, because I would actually rather solve the challenges and make it easy to be happy, but sometimes we can’t. That is part of the plan. And for the things we can’t do, we can rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
We’re working with some good people here in Senri. We’re really trying to work with the ward again, something I haven’t done since Hanayashiki (Nishinomiya was purely working ON the ward). 111 people came to sacrament yesterday! It was awesome!
On speaking and translating Japanese°:
So you know how I said my Japanese was being stretched… Well there’s a gaijin [foreign] family in our ward who moved in about two weeks ago. So now I’m the ward translator! Yabai! [Dangit!] It’s so hard! I didn’t do so well yesterday translating the Osaka Ojiichans’ “Japanese”*. The gaijin family said I did a really good job, but in all honesty, I just made up stuff half the time because I couldn’t understand and neither could they. It was intense. This morning I listened to a Preach My Gospel CD in Japanese for about two hours while I was cleaning to practice translating everything into English… It’s way hard! Even if you understand perfectly what they said in Japanese, it doesn’t directly translate into English so you have to think fast about how you would say it in English, and then by the time you do that, the person talking has already moved on. Ganbaru zo-! [I’ll hang in there!]
*Osaka Ojiichans’ “Japanese”–what the old men from Osaka (called “grandpas”) speak, which according to Charlie, is not Japanese at all but rather some mangled form of Chinese and Japanese put together.
°Japanese is a notoriously difficult language. Heber J. Grant, after opening up Japan for missionary work years ago, called it “the devil’s tongue.”
Thanks for keeping up with Charlie Choro! Have a great week, and remember: choose the ups, not the downs!