11:54 AM

Here are the things that I am most excited for in order of least to most excited:

3. Going to Japan (in TWO WEEKS).
2. Calling home. I'll give you more details on that next week, Mom. But basically just clear out your schedule for the 19th.
1. Giving Sister Clingo a hug - which is written in my planner to happen on Sunday the 18th. My companion isn't touchy-feely, and I have respected her boundaries. But I told her that I'm going to get ONE HUG out of her before this MTC experience is up. And she better gear up, because it's going to be a good one.
The thing I'm least excited for:
1. Riding a bike.
We had a long conversation with our teacher, Sister Evans - who served in Fukuoka - about riding bikes in skirts. Apparently Fukuoka is super hilly. And riding a bike in a skirt is basically torture. This has now jumped to the forefront of my worry-list.
On a completely unrelated and totally secular note, I have come to realize how much I hate feeling sheltered from the rest of the world. I had no idea there was a big storm in the East US, I don't know what's happening in the election unless someone else writes me about it, and I am not there when big news gets released like Disney buying Lucasfilm! Sister Clingo and I are both big Star Wars fans - and her brother sent her a DearElder about it after it happened. If they can get someone like Joss Whedon on the billing then I'm totally for it. But that's all the input I will give because I am on a mission and I don't ever think about Star Wars or movies or music ever.
(That's not true).
Here are few things that happened this week:
-I learned the Japanese Sign Language for the Baptismal Commitment. We've been walking around inviting everyone in the MTC to be baptized now.
-Word on the street is all of my pictures are lost now. I sent my memory card home and something went wrong or something something. So I was not happy about that. I am trying now to make up for lost times in these last two weeks by taking pictures of everything. At least it was in the MTC though, and not in Japan.
-I am sick right now. I am determined not to miss anything, but my nose is all stuffy and my throat is all scratchy. It's more annoying than anything.
-Sister Clingo and I were selected to demonstrate "How to Begin Teaching" in front of all of the new missionaries coming in on Wednesday. I'll give you more details once it happens and let you know how it goes, but I think it'll be a really good experience for both of us.
-The new Japanese missionaries are here and I love them already! I am more excited than EVER to go to Japan and become acquainted with these wonderful, gracious people. There are four wonderful sisters and I have loved getting to know them better. However, we had an Orientation with them last Thursday night - me and the Zone Leaders. It was all in Japanese. I was really excited at how much I was understanding, but some of them just speak so fast that I have no IDEA what's going on. At one point, a sister bore her testimony, started crying, three other people started crying, everyone's looking around at each other with such spirit-filled eyes, and then the Zone Leaders and I look at each other and all said, "Well, we're screwed." Welcome to the rest of our lives. I just want to understand everything so badly. But, we'll get there. I guess. I did take a stab at bearing my own testimony in front of them, and one of the elders thought I'd been studying Japanese for 10 years. That made me feel good. But that is all dependent on whether or not he said "studying Japanese" or "eating chicken" because it easily could have been either.
-Our "investigator" Chin-san got baptized yesterday. It's funny, even though it's fake, Sister Clingo and I were genuinely excited for her and happy that she was making changes in her life. It has gotten me so excited to teach real people and hopefully make a difference.
-I finished the book of Alma this week in the Book of Mormon. The second half of Alma should seriously be made into a movie. It's LOTR-level epic.
-You know you've been in the MTC too long when you get super excited about buying "The Gospel Art Book."
-You also know you've been in the MTC too long when "The District" videos are the best form of entertainment around. But seriously, we watched the one where the elders teach the Law of Chastity and we died it was so hilarious. They're trying to tell the story of Corianton running off with harlots and one of the elders says, "He broke the Law of Chastity by... he just broke it." And then German, the investigator, three days later says that he thinks the Law of Chastity means he can't date anyone. "In my old life, I might have asked my sister's friend on a date, but I'm trying REALLY HARD to keep the Law of Chastity!"
...don't hate on our entertainment. IT WAS SUPER FUNNY.
-Sometimes I feel like my entire mission will be here in the MTC. It's weird to think that we don't, like, go home after this. The fun is just beginning. Or something. I'm starting to feel really scared and nervous, but I know that the Lord is with me and that He will help my Japanese once I get there. Japan just seems so intimidating right now. I know that that's where I'm supposed to be, though.
Happy birthday to my wonderful Grandpa Clements. I have many wonderful memories of him in California and us all calling him Grandpa Grump. I loved how he would always wear baseball caps and would do puzzles with me. He was a great man. I hope he and my dad get to hang out and talk about baseball together sometimes.
Love you all so much!
-Sumisu Shimai

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