Crowd of people? Carrying your bike? Just lift it over all of their heads #MuricaPerk #ImHuge ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... I don't always ask for directions on the train, but when I do, I end that conversation talking about God #Missionaried ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Biking for twenty minutes to buy chicken and beef for dirt cheap? Worth it!! #NoRoomInOurFreezerAnyMore ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... We just made Raspberry Jam from Scratch, put the hot stuff that wouldn't fit in the jar onto ice-cream and ate it all ... Love ... my ... life ... #FatKid ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... I don't always lead us around Tokyo but when I do ... we're early #LikeABoss ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Alright iPad, you think you can fix my spelling? #ChalngeAcceptprw #noSuggestions ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... We just ate $100 worth of sushi; you then took us to an Italian Restaurant and made us keep eating till we all want to die ... Of course we'll go to round 3 with you! ... #GoingToPukeAllOverYou ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... #NoImNot28 ... it's alright, you're like the 12th person to make that mistake ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... All we bought was potatoes and meat #GriffithsChoroWentShopping ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Curry for Lunch, Curry for Dinner; #HappyPDay ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Typhoon, worst one in 10 years? Please, my bike has missionary steroids, #DidNotEvenFallOver ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Oh, you sell Melonpan? yeah, I’ll buy them all, right now #TheRecipeTooPlease ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... #YouMightBeAMissionaryIf you don't hear about the giant wall of water which will hit the city where you live until next Monday; because you only get eMail on P-Days ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... New favorite conversation starter "I don’t speak Japanese and if I don’t learn I can’t go back to America, please help me" #ForeignerPower ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Whatever I just ate, exploded with little eggs all over my mouth #WhatDidIJustEat ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Is it wrong that I want to ask the local tattoo artist if he can run the face painting booth at our Halloween party, I think he would be pretty good ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Being a foot taller than everyone else in the whole country #GaijinNoMondai (Foregner problem) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Hitting your head on every door way cuz it’s made for people a foot shorter than you #GaijinNoMondai ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Having a hole in the ground for a toilet? #FirstWorldCountry more like #FirstWorldProblem ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Typhoon season #ComeAtMeMotherNature #Murica ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Cow Piss? Oh you mean Calpis #YesIllTakeAllOfThem

Monday, August 26, 2013

DD 1.35 ... so on we ride ... learning as we go ... that's not the same ... Now that's fun ...

I feel better about the language, still don’t understand much, at this point … but, I get by. Yes, Ormond Choro, the Elder from Australia, is way chill. He’s the only reason I haven’t gone crazy living with two native Japanese Elders, I really do love hearing my native tongue. We go running sometimes, but the mornings are so hard, we are all exhausted. We do exercise in our apartment, but it’s hard, mostly pull-ups, push-ups, and abs. We also have some weights here in our apartment. We bike way too far to count the number of miles,  we bike everywhere ... I was in decent shape when I arrived; so going the distance is not a problem. Thank-you dad, I don’t know if it was how you taught me to shift or if it was our mutual love of physics which helped me learn how to shift on a bike, but thanks for the training ... my companion struggles with his gears, it makes for an ineffective & entertaining ride; I’m not sure how to explain the inefficiencies in English, and I know I don’t have a prayer in Japanese; so on we ride.

I am doing well, I feel as though I am learning a lot here. Things are hard, and I just want to sleep all the time cuz I’m sooooo tired, but that’s missionary life for ya. Thank you for all the information that you have given me, turns out I was not as prepared for a mission as I thought ... but here we are learning as we go ...

Our mail ... the ”Dear Elder” letters get sent to our apartment after the mission home, I believe that other letters will simply be sent onto us as well when they arrive. I have not gotten Sam’s letter yet, maybe today. We, the four Elders in the apartment, all eat lunch and breakfast together; sometimes dinner around 9:00 if we haven’t already had dinner. My apartment came with blankets for me to use, how often should I be washing my sheets? We have a washer, but no dryer. I have yet to wash my slacks, maybe today or maybe next week. We have no oven, but we do have a boss toaster oven; ah, that’s not the same at all. Speaking of food and my throat, I have yet to choke on anything, the throat is way good! I recommend it! *cough TeJay cough*

We only go to one ward each Sunday; we attend the entire 3 hour block. It is the ward we are serving in; there are over a million people within its boundaries; BTW. I only heard about the volcano from dad and Sam; I have heard nothing here. Apparently there is no ash falling in Chiba. It still rains, but its less than it rains in Utah, I hear that typhoon season is coming up, but I haven’t experienced it yet.

I love shaving with a blade (non-electric); I learned a new way to shave in the MTC where I feel like I have a new face every day, but now I don’t have time ... so yeah, I feel scruffy all the time. The new way involves scalding water on your face, and by scalding I mean as hot as the sink will go. I have not had to charge my camera yet; apparently I don’t take that many pictures. My computer keyboard is in English, to get Japanese you just type the letters that make up the characters ... unless you are on a cell phone, then they have both! We teach English every Wednesday!!! Now that’s fun!!

You asked if I needed some stories from my ancestors; no, I don’t need them; I just think that they would be cool to have, along with that, where are they from? I’ve been telling people my ancestors come from England and France, maybe Ireland, and little bit of Native American, am I right?

Pretty much I’ve worn my Levi’s once to do some manual labor service, we cut this members grass one evening around 7:00, it was pitch black; we have these little hand held scythes, we were sneaking around trying to not wake any one up ... I know … in America we would have had the cops on us so fast ... but in Japan, every one trusts us/me as long as I’m with a Nihonjin ...

3 Nephi 1:8 - it’s all about having faith that your faith is not in vain, I like that, it’s about the coming of Christ and stuff. TeJay, thank-you for the “home grown” parables you have sent to me; your wisdom really has helped me.

Sam, things are going well here, I have yet to get your snail-mail letter, I look forward to reading it, thank you for all the advice! Thank you for the pictures, they are always hilarious!!!! I hope that things are going well with just you living with the parentals.

Abi, now that you too don’t live at home, I feel obligated to write you separately, I hope that school is going well and that you are getting along with you roommate, are you living in Cobble Creek? How do I know this? Let me know how your first Sunday was!!

``私 は I am doing well here in japan, it is hot and humid and we ride our bikes everywhere, this week I went on splits with Ormnd Choro and then on Friday with Kondo Choro, they are both way sick! I hope that my companion and I can become as effective as they are in their area! As of right now we are working on building trust with the members of the ward, starting with the bishop. We are confirming the address of the inactive members for him, and while there, we are trying to get them to come back to church ... there are over a million people living in our ward boundary, and there are lot of inactive members we have to visit.

Hey, I heard that they changed the scripture mastery list! They changed forty of them ... I know right, now you’re thinking, why haven’t I heard about this, when will it happen ... yeah, it went down in May!!! I know, right!!!!! This week I have an interview with President Budge, so that should be fun, I think.

The food that I eat most often here is call Gyudon, its rice and cheap meat, its way good though! and it’s way cheap! I love it. The convenience stores here have really good food, I have never had so much buttered crap before, but it rocks my socks!

Here are some questions that I have …
What toothpaste should I buy, they don’t sell crest here, right now I’m using some "GUM" stuff, but I don’t know how good it actually is, please Google and report.
The water/ condensation in my watch, is that alright?
Did I bring a Flash Drive?
How come no one told me that Japan feels just like the bubble at tree house, I literally feel as though I’m going to swim practice whenever I leave my apartment! It’s so great, it reminds me of home!

Challenge for the week: Everyone call Grandma and tell her that you love her and think that she is awesome ... I think that it would really cheer her up, also tell her thank you from me for all that she has done in raising such a wonderful family and has been such a good influence on me and on my life!!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

DD 1.25 ... futons rock ... it's all hills here ... it was terrifying ...

I got my bike today!!! It’s way sick! Including lock and light, it was only like ¥44000 ($400). So whoo! Last week, Kondo Choro, let me borrow his bike; which was way nice, walking is not fun. Thank you for emailing Budge Kaicho about my ATM card!!! It brought me much peace of mind, and because of it, I was able to make the withdrawals and purchase a bike today. If you guys had not, I would have had to wait until tomorrow at the earliest, likely next Monday! Thanks again for sorting out my ATM card situation!! I feel much better about being in a different country now!!!!
Its a Schwinn ... aren't they Made in America

I have been feeling a lot better; I think that it was just an adjustment to the weird, but delicious food I have been eating these weeks. I had some Natto for the first time this week. It was terrible. Natto is fermented soy beans ... but it looks like someone kept all their snot for a year, and then threw in some beans ... it tastes a lot worse than it sounds ... yeah; I almost died.

My contacts are great actually, humidity contributes to comfort while wearing them!!! They are fine, and my asthma has not acted up at all the whole time I've been here. I have not used or needed my inhaler; nope, no drugs for me! Except some Motrin, my foot was hurting way bad one night, I couldn't sleep at all, and I took some in the morning. I have been fine ever since.

Yes, futons rock my friggan socks right off every night!!! They’re so great!!! We live in an apartment; we are on the third of four floors; so it is not too bad. We cook ramen and stir fry, and eggs and stuff for breakfast, we usually have all three meals here, just because it’s cheaper. No markets or grocery stores; we have a field with vegetables and rice we harvest from each morning. We eat really healthy here in Japan. Sarcasm alert, of course we have all sorts of stores here.

We get 90 minutes, here in Japan, to read and send our emails. It is not a problem, we have plenty of time!!!! So yeah. and yes, I can get pictures!!!! I have received all the ones that you guys have mentioned, and talked about … how do I make sure that I received them all??  I just assume I have received them all.

Thank you father for the letter/poem, it was way good. It moved my heart! I loved it so much and I am glad that you spent the dollar to get it to me.

I think that I will be fine without another pair of pants, and we have to wear slacks and a white shirt on Monday too BTW. But I forgot that missionary mall has that guarantee. I may send in a picture when they get bad. They are fine right now though! Thank you all for the schedules too!!!! 

I actually had a question though I have been getting some water condensation on the inside of my watch throughout the day, is that all right? I think that it is, it is always gone in the morning, so I think that it is just the humidity here that is getting inside of it.

JanDee, I’m sorry it rained the whole time you were at seven peaks. That’s a bummer. It made me laugh to hear that mom convinced Waylon that she was getting him a toilet for his birthday, although that would be a funny gift to give him. I hope that he likes what mom has in store, I know that I would thoroughly enjoy it!!! I hope that all is going well, and tell Waylon and Axton that I am proud of them for riding the sheep so bravely!!!! They are awesome!!!!!!!!!!

I’m sorry to hear that there are turkeys in your back yard, which serenade you in the afternoons whilest you enjoy the sun on the back porch ... actually no I’m not, I love the idea; I’m sorry that mom doesn't like them ... once again, a lie; I bet it is hilarious to watch her freak out over the giant birds.

I hope that all is going well on the home front and that school and work, as it starts up, goes well. I hope that Abi moving out doesn't bum you out too much Sam, what are you going to do BTW? Still living with the parentals? That should be interesting, but I bet that you can get Abi to come home a lot more this year, she won’t have me to chill with up in Logan ... so yeah, she’ll come down more; right Storm? I mean if not, that’s cool ... I’m in Japan and Sam has friends so ya know, what eves ... oh yeah, did I forgot to mention, I’M IN JAPAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE IT HERE!!!!!

This week was pretty good. We are visiting all the inactive members in our ward, which is the Chiba Ward, in the Chiba area, in Chiba zone, I think that it is the Chiba stake too, but I don’t know. My address for my apartment is: ... apparently i am not allowed to tell you guys that information ... bummer right. Well, that’s that.

There are times when my trainer, remember he's is Japanese, forgets that I have no idea what anyone is saying around me and I have no idea how to talk back to anyone, but he is getting better about it. I hope that we will be more able to teach in unity as the weeks go on.  We are teaching a couple of investigators, and we picked up two more yesterday, hopefully they will progress well.

I have been well here; my foot really bugged me that one night, but it has been a lot better now that I took the Motrin. It has been perfect actually. I think that I will be in really good shape after my mission because of all the biking that we do here, last week was so hard, it’s all hills here!!! This must be where dad grew up ... its up hill every where we go ... both ways ... both going and coming ... just like dad always said.  There are people and cars everywhere! It was terrifying at first, but I think that I have gotten more used to it now, and that I’m going to be way pro at bike riding when I get home!

Well that’s about all I have to say this week, not much else has been happening. I think that on the Japan Tokyo Mission blog, there are pictures of my whole group getting here the first day, if it is the same website as the portal. I think it is the same! Thank you for all your love and support this week, I truly miss and love all you guys so much! I’m doing all right here though; I don’t think that I’ll need anything in a package ever (he says as he prays for more fudge). We have pretty much everything here we could want.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Volcanic eruption coats Japanese city with ash

This event happened on the southern end of Japan, way outside of Trent's mission area.  The event did not impact Tokyo.  It was news in America, yet Trent did not hear about it.  We sent him this information so he would be informed of this event which happened in Japan; this is his source of news.

Residents in a southern Japanese city were busy washing ash off the streets Monday after a nearby volcano spewed a record-high smoke plume into the sky.

Ash wafted as high as 5 kilometers (3 miles) above the Sakurajima volcano in the southern city of Kagoshima (Link to Mapon Sunday afternoon, forming its highest plume since the Japan Meteorological Agency started keeping records in 2006. Lava flowed about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) from the fissure, and several huge volcanic rocks rolled down the mountainside.

Though the eruption was more massive than usual, residents of the city of about 600,000 are used to hearing from their 1,117-meter (3,664-foot) neighbor. Kagoshima officials said in a statement that this was Sakurajima's 500th eruption this year alone.

Residents wore masks and raincoats and used umbrellas to shield themselves from the falling ash. Drivers turned on their headlights in the dull evening gloom, and railway service in the city was halted temporarily so ash could be removed from the tracks.

Officials said no injuries or damage was reported from the volcano, which is about 10 kilometers (6 miles) east of the city.

By Monday morning, the air was clearer as masked residents sprinkled water and swept up the ash. The city was mobilizing garbage trucks and water sprinklers to clean up.

"The smoke was a bit dramatic, but we are kind of used to it," said a city official who requested anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to the media.

JMA says there are no signs of a larger eruption but similar activity may continue. It was maintaining an earlier warning that people not venture near the volcano itself.

Japan is on the "Ring of Fire," the seismic faults encircling the Pacific Ocean, and has frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Monday, August 12, 2013

DD 1.15 ... I'm totally in Japan ... Watanabe Choro

I don't know if y’all realize this, but I’m totally in Japan!!!!!!!!!!

Its way great here, but first things first, the scripture case was too small, I will be fine though, I was able to get my scriptures here all right, and hopefully I will be able to buy a case at the hundred yen store, rather than getting an 80 dollar package with a case which might not work.

Second, the flight was alright. I sat between two sisters from my zone, one from my district, so that was good. It was weird not having a companion for 11 hours, but it was alright! I was in the very center of the plane so no window, but I did have a glass panel under my feet to see beneath me. Tell you what, Japan airlines are way SWEET!!!!!! Suteki desu yo ne!!!! As we would say here ...

We got in around eleven thirty, but by the time we got to the church, where the elders slept, it was like one in the morning. We slept on futons that night; they are way comfy turns out!

We spent a day in training, and then the next day we met out trainers and left to go to our new areas. Saying goodbye to my district wasn't that hard, because we didn't really get to say good bye, it all went so fast!

It is way hot here; my trainer is a Nihonjin ... that means that he is Japanese ... his English is pretty good, for being in Japan his whole life. It’s rough sometimes, but I feel as though it will help me out in the long run. I already understand a lot more than I did before.

I didn't get a bike yet, because my debit card does NOT work in Japan, any advice? Thanks, there are two other elders in my apartment, another Nihonjin, and another one from Australia, but he has been here 18 months, so he’s way good at the Japan speak. It’s been rough, but I love it here!!!

The first day with my trainer, we just went to a ghetto little convenience store for lunch, we had to hurry, because we had a lesson that night right when we got back. It was interesting, it was like bread with chocolate on it ... I know right, but it was way good!!! That lesson went well, I helped teach a little bit, but it still went well, we actually met with that same guy again today. The next day we taught six lessons ... unheard of right! My companion is way good!!!! He is amazing!!!! He is so hard working, his name is Watanabe Choro, he’s so little and adorable and ASIAN!!!!!
Griffiths Choro & Watanabe Choro
The food here is way good, although it is doing funny things to my insides, mostly its ramen and curry, but not hot curry, its more sweet though. It makes my pooh orange ... I know, I’m a little concerned. I hope that I will get more used to it as I eat more of it, but I really don’t know yet.

My toilet is normal, in my apartment and at the church, but today actually I really had to go, like way bad, so we stopped at the Inage train station, and I used the toilet there ... now imagine how flexible I am, or am not; and remember that my friend has been telling me for weeks that japan is a first world country ... so in I go, and lo and behold ... I see a hole in the ground ... not just any hole tough, this thing is high tech, I’m talking automatic flush with like a jet tube that shoots your pooh down when you done, but still, it’s a hole in the ground ... so yeah ... this is gonna be interesting! I survived though, and more importantly, so did my pants ... wahoo!!!! Never again! I will hold it till we get to the church or back home! Is this what you mean by, think of it as an adventure; it was fun though. I need to get a picture to send to you ... it’s pretty cool actually, new life goal - be able to use those things effectively.

This week the weather hasn't been too bad, its bloody hot, but my native companion sweats more than I do, so I think that I’m doing alright. Its soooooooooo humid here, we got off the plane and it was like "this tunnel is really hot," and then we realized that it was the whole country!!! It’s pretty nice tough, shaving is nice! I like that heat, it feels good. We sleep on futons at night, they are way comfy and the sheets you sent me are great!! I love them!!! In the mornings, we just work out in the room, I have not been running yet, but maybe I will go someday.

I love Budge Kaichou (President Budge, the Mission President), he so chill, and so great! They are way nice people!!!! I am currently serving in Chiba area inside of Chiba zone! Its great here! My companion and his old companion had a baptism yesterday (for me) so I got to have one on my first week, here! It was great, and because the elder that baptized him is my old companions trainer I got to see my MTC doryo too! It was great!

I hear that if you want to ship anything here, you should use amazon! I am good for now though, I can get everything at the shopping center here, its massive!!

Bad story time: so walnuts are way expensive, so I figured I was pretty safe, I mean who spends 600 Yen for a couple ounces, no one! That is ridiculous, but apparently this sister really loves the missionaries, so I took a bite of a delicious cookie, it was small and my reaction wasn't that bad at all, but still, I was humbled by the Lord!

I think that I might get to eat Natto this week sometime; that will be fun. Natto is the fermented beans ... thing, it looks like snot in a can with giant boogers in it ... yeah ... oshie des ne?

Onto my family, I am sorry that y’all are starting school this week; that is hard always. I am jealous of the hot air balloon festival, and the running, that sounds way sweet;

I am also excited to check out said blog, I think that I will look just once (he can’t get to it, is blocked). Can you tell how many people have looked at it? I think that that would be cool, have dad work on applying a counting program to see how many hits my life gets. Also feel free to put anything from my letters in it, anything you guys hear from around the world can also go in it. I hope that all is going well.

I love it here though; everyone is great and loves the missionaries! I think that coming home will be harder than coming out though; but I have two years until that happens.

DD 1.15 ... rejected for exceeding ...

Ouch!!! My Debit card does not work in Japan ... I am not sure what to do.  I used it in the MTC, I think I did ... and it worked fine. I am unable to purchase a bike because I have insufficient cash ... I don't know what to do. I pushed the English button, put my card in, and hit the withdrawal button; the ATM said my card was not accepted and gave it back to me.

Your card has already been activated to work in Japan.
Here is what appears to have happened:
You Selected English
You Inserted your Card
You Entered your Pin Number
You Selected Withdrawal
You Entered in a very big number, likely exceeding 50,000 Yen (a little over $500.00 US)
Your transaction was rejected for exceeding the withdrawal limit of $500.00
US Dollars within a 24 hour window.

Try withdrawing around 45,000 Yen ... with the current exchange rate this will translate to about $465.31 ... it should work.  If this fails ... try accessing 10,000 Yen.

I read an article that indicates most 7-11's in Japan have international ATM's and have a very good exchange rate which works with most international ATM cards ... you may want to try at one of 7-11 stores in your neighborhood. Please let us know the result of your quest for cash :-)

The good news is, the credit union reported that you made a request and that it was declined around 1:34 PM on the 12th of August (Japan time). Is this consistent with your experience. This tells me that your card is working, the down side, is that it may take two days to get enough money to buy your bike.

Elder Griffiths to work with Elder Watanabe ... in an area called Chiba ...

Dear Brother and Sister Griffiths:

Your son arrived in the Japan Tokyo Mission on August 6, 2013 in good spirits and ready to commence his proselyting assignment. We had a wonderful time with him.

Elder Griffiths has been assigned to work with Elder Watanabe, and they will serve in an area called Chiba. Your son can receive his mail at the following address:
Elder Griffiths
Japan Tokyo Mission
4-25-12 Nishi Ochiai
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo-to 161-0031, Japan

Enclosed is a picture of your son with Sister Budge and me, along with a picture of him with his companion. We have also included a map showing the locations of the various areas in the mission. You can use it as a personal record of his assignments.

By the time you receive this letter, Elder Griffiths should be adjusted to his new proselyting area. The positive sustaining support he gets from you at home will be a great blessing to him. May the Lord bless you and your family as you share in your son's mission experience.
President L. Todd Budge

Sister Budge, Elder Griffiths, President Budge

Elder Griffiths & Elder Watanabe

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Japan Tokyo Mission

We just want to send you a quick note to let you know that your missionary arrived safely in Japan last evening. President and Sister Budge met them at the airport, fed them, visited shortly, and then sent them all to bed for a much needed rest.

Today they will receive training and will soon meet their new companions who have been chosen to train them. Thank you for entrusting your missionary to us in the great Japan Tokyo Mission. We so appreciate all you have done to get these missionaries to this point in their lives!
Sister Harrison
Japan Tokyo Mission Secretary
This is the largest group of missionaries the mission has ever received.
There are 14 elders and 20 sisters! They used every futon they had!

These are the newest missionaries, along with their trainers.
This group represents more than half of the missionaries in the mission!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chasing the Sun ...

Trenton left the MTC on Monday the 5th of August around 1:00 PM.  He called home and spent an hour talking to the family and then flew to Los Angels.  He then boarded Delta flight 637 for Tokyo.  He left around 8:15 PM (7:15 PM-PDT) and arrived in Japan a little before 7:30 AM (Tuesday, Aug 6th @ 10:30 PM JT) on the 6th.  This image of his flight path was taken around 2:00 AM on the morning of the 6th in Riverton.  

On this day, Trenton started his flight as the sun was setting and chased the sun all the way to Japan, we believe the sun finally went down about half way through the 11+ hour flight, call it a 6 hour sunset.