Sunday, June 14, 2015

Prologue


3/30/98 Monday - On Sunday night, my parents and I drove to Tama Lodge on the American military base in Tama. We arrived a day early before the Missionary Field Conference got into full swing. This conference comes only once every two years, so you can bet I was excited to see the other missionary kids (MKs) whose parents also serve as missionaries in various places in Japan.

This day, Mama, Papa, and I hiked around the grounds of the military base. By the afternoon, the Ronan family had arrived. After lunch, I went with the Ronan kids to practice archery. Neither Kristina (age 11) nor I had shot arrows before. I hit the target about four times.

Then I played two games of miniature golf. I beat Kristina both times, but Stephen (age 9) was better than I was. Kristina and Stephen played some games with me at my cabin that evening. Kristina slept in my cabin. It's fun to have sleepovers.

3/31/98 Tuesday - This day, Kristina and I started out by playing another few games. After breakfast, we went to the archery field again. This time, I hit the target 17 times. Big improvement, huh?

I am surprised at how much easier it is to get along with Kristina compared to other times. I'm pretty sure it's because we are in "free territory." Neither she nor I was in the position to boss the other, the way it is when we're at each other's houses.

In the afternoon, I played croquet with Stephen and Kristina. I lost both times. On the third game, Mama walked over with Elisa Mita (age 12). She had a short haircut and looked different to me, even though I saw her last fall. She's taller, too. I'm used to being the tallest one of the girls and ladies, when I'm around Japanese people. I've been taller than my own mother for the past year, and I'm only 14.

Until about 4:30pm, when the missionary families were gathering in the conference room, we played the "get acquainted game" that Mama made up. There were 16 different activities written on a sheet of paper, and the idea was to ask people whether they had done a certain activity, and then get their signature if they had. The question the most people asked me was, "Have you ever ridden a unicycle?" I had - though not well!

I'll try to include some of the funny or interesting things that people said - there were such a lot of them. However, I'm sure I missed a lot of them that were spoken in Japanese. Paul Yoshida (age 15) and Christine Tajima (14) in particular kept up a continuous banter in Japanese. I don't know how many times I asked the other MKs, "What are you guys talking about? Could somebody please translate?" or in Japanese, I would beg, "What? Who? They did what?"

You see, out of all the current MKs at the conference, I am the only one who does not have at least one parent who grew up in Japan. I am also the only one never to have attended a Japanese school full-time. My education is strictly homeschooling in English, studying Japanese as a foreign language, participating in my drama club, and "picking up" what I can of the language. We have been in Japan for the past four years, and I've learned a LOT, but still find it hard to follow rapid-fire Japanese.

In any case, during that first supper, the subject of brothers and sisters came up. Kristina asked Paul (in Japanese) if he would rather have a younger brother or a younger sister (hypothetically).

He said, "A little sister," and I quickly spoke up: "A little brother." (We both answered in Japanese.)

Kristina and Christine looked at me like I was crazy, probably because they both HAVE a younger brother.

I guess I voted "little brother" partly because I felt sorry for Paul's imaginary kid sister, who would be teased endlessly, and partly because I've always been the girl in my family and it would be strange for some other girl to get the same kind of attention from my parents. Another factor could be that I already know what girls are like, whereas a boy would put more spice in the cake.

Thus endeth Tuesday.

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