Thursday, June 5, 2014

1st E-mail in the MTC! June 5, 2014

Ohaiyo Gozaimasu!

1. Well, the food is actually pretty good! There are different meals almost every day and plenty of options for me to choose from. I usually go with wraps because they're fast to make and taste really good! I just have to be careful not to eat too much, and I try to avoid meals that look super fatty or sugary. It's still fun to get a bowl of BYU Creamery ice cream once a week though! We don't have a ton of time for gym and exercising, so I don't want to rely on working out to stay healthy.
2. Nihongo wa hontoni muzukashi desu! The sentence structure much different from English, so they've been teaching us to not think of it as a literal translation. As my vocabulary gets bigger and I practice speaking, I'm gradually getting better at understanding our sensei, Gauther Kyodai, but I still miss some of the things he says. Pronunciation is much easier for me, but hopefully, I will get better at speaking as time goes on. Nouns and adjectives are pretty easy to learn and apply, but the verb system is really complex and difficult to understand at first. In order to conjugate and use verbs in certain ways, you have to change the "base" of the verb into one that's more usable, and depending on the type of verb (ichidan or godan), the bases are different. Plus, there are irregular verbs, which kind of do their own thing, and you just have to remember them. It's definitely a ton of information to digest, but it helps that we're practicing for almost 10 hours a day! I'm pretty sure we're in our classroom for three quarters of my day!
3. They teach us by rarely speaking English, and it is a really frustrating way to learn a language! When I walked into my class on the first day, I really had no idea what was happening, and it was kind of stressful. It was like a wave of Japanese that wouldn't stop, but by the third or fourth day, we could all understand the basics of what he was saying. Our district is really good at helping each other understand the language, and we're all progressing. Our sensei will write the definitions of words on the board to help, and recently, we've started writing only in Japanese characters, which is pretty hard. There are so many different rules and tricks to writing, and as a newbie, I get really lost sometimes. 
4. My companion and I have really similar personalities, and our entire district gets along really well! There are 10 of us altogether, and all of us, except for one, are going to the Tokyo South Mission. We're both pretty new to Japanese and teaching lessons is hard, but we do what we can and hope for the best! Guess what?! The Dai-Senpai (older missionaries) in the Japanese mission give everyone a Pokemon that evolves as you go through the MTC, which is pretty much the coolest thing ever! I'm a Magmar, and my companion is a Spheal (you can look up what they look like if you need to! :) Oh and Siebach choro (Elder) did have a Great Uncle who lived in Rochester and had a family with about 14 kids so I think that you were connected, which is pretty cool!
5.We haven't gone to the temple yet, but since today is our P-Day, we were planning on going this afternoon! I bet it will be a really great experience being there with other missionaries.
6. Sometimes our teachers and other missionaries will tell us about little cultural details about Japan, but we haven't heard too much. I would normally just google those sorts of things, but unfortunately, that isn't an option. 
Our first investigator's name is Koyama-san, and he's a pretty funny guy (not on purpose though)! He acts really shy, and sometimes it gets kind of awkward when he's not talking and we don't how to say very much. It's definitely a great learning experience, and it forces us to utilize what Japanese we do know! He accepted baptism yesterday, which was pretty cool, but I think it was much easier than it will be in the future.
I saw Elder Ashworth when he got to the MTC yesterday, and he seems like he's doing fine! It was probably nice not having to worry about a new language, and I bet he adjusts pretty quickly. It's pretty fun to see people from school around campus, but it's always kind of awkward around the sisters because we can only give them a firm handshake haha!

I love you and can't wait to hear from you,
Elder Adam Christensen

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