10:08 PM

My biggest accomplishment of the last three (but feels like 40) days: I heard people speaking Japanese and I KNEW that they were speaking Japanese. 

It has been quite the journey. After three flights, a weird hamburger, and lots of non-alcoholic Shirley Temples, I made it to Fukuoka, Japan.

I invite everyone who is reading this email to please Google, "Japanese Toilets." I will NOT proceed to tell you the reaction that I had in my first restroom in Japan. It's a little bit embarrassing.

So far, the closest comparison that I have to Fukuoka is actually Tahiti. While we've been driving around, Sister Clingo commented several times how impossible it seemed to drive there because of the narrow parking spaces and narrow streets. I've been there, done that. They do drive on the left side of the road, though. But the green-ness, over-populated streets, lack of zoning, and large amounts of bike-riders are definitely similar to Tahiti. The only difference is there are much more buildings, and they are much-much taller. Oh, and everyone here speaks Japanese. And I can't understand any of the street signs.

This morning, we went out to "dendo" by handing out flyers advertising our free English class. I got to test my Japanese and make a fool of myself for the first time. I must say that after almost a whole day of being in Japan, I am not drowning quite like I thought I would. I spoke Japanese - REAL JAPANESE - to a few people. And they RESPONDED, which means they could understand me. Things are looking up. But the day is not over, and I have a feeling that I will be participating in a lesson pretty soon. So that could change.

It's beautiful here. I love the people already. I was lucky enough to exchange some smiles with some seemingly busy Japanese people on the street. My mission president, President Gustafson, is wonderful. I ate some Japanese curry and I loved it. I ate real eggs that don't taste like cardboard (as they do in the MTC). Life is going all right. 

I made it here safely, fear not. I'm not that much worse for wear. I do not know where I'll be serving yet, but I'll find out soon. SOON.

I love you all, take care! I'll be in touch next Monday!

-Sumisu Shimai

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