Sunrise from our apartment

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kitchen and Living Room

This is the living room area. The first picture is taken standing in front of the closet in the second picture. The kitchen is just off from the living room. We have a very nice large regrigerator but only a two burner stove--no oven. We do have a convection/microwave oven but like the washer/dryer unit all the buttons are in Japanese Kanji characters. Soon we should have an interpretation of these so we can figure out how to use the convection part of the unit instead of just heating up frozen entree's. Woody measured the place and it is about 400 square feet.

Bathroom and Laundry

This is the shower/bath area. Actually the shower is the entire room. We heard if you fill the large tub with very hot water it turns the room into a sauna

This is the size of the bathroom/laundry room. We are blessed to have a stackable washer/dryer unit--except all of the buttons are in Kanji characters. The District President took photographs of the buttons and is having his Japanese dental assistant transcribe them for us. Meanwhile, I just select one and hope everything works.

It could be worse--I could be hanging out my clothes on our balcony like this neighbor just outside our kitchen window.

Unique toilet facilities

There is a faucet on the top of the tank of the toilet. When you flush then water comes out of the faucet so you can wash your hands and then that water fills to tank for the next use.

Entryway and bedroom of apartment

Apartment Entryway Bedroom--Just wide There is a bit of room
Everyone takes their enough for the bed and at the foot of the bed
Shoes off in Japan end table for a large dresser.

Where We Live.

We haven't been here for a whole week which seems so strange since we have done so much. I posted quite a few pictures on my Facebook page but I know many of you are not on Facebook so I will try to post some here as well. I haven't figured out how to put captions on them yet so bear with me. The first picture is of Elder Arnell at our apartment door (picture of apartment on the immediate left). We live on the second floor just past the red brick building on the right. And yes, they do build that close to each other. We have a mission car (Toyota Carolla) and as you can see the steering wheel is on the right. We drove on the left side of the road 30 years ago in England and so far Elder Arnell has done a very good job. Of course, we have only driven the few miles between our apartment and Yakota Air Force Base. In case you were wondering--our landlord put a aqua-green tarp down on the ground to mark our parking spot. We assume it is to keep the ground clean and free from potential oil leaks. He sweeps the road around the complex every day and fills in our tire treads with the extra dirt. All of the roads here are very well kept. The last picture on the left was taken when I turned to the East right outside our apartment complex. This is the Fussa train station, one of the major ones in the area, and the large five-story building in the background is the SEIYU which is owned by Walmart. It has everything in it, except for food. There is also another store just around the corner called the DAISO which is a 100 Yen store, similar to a Dollar General in the states. Right now the exchange rate is about 83 Yen for each dollar. It is about as low as it has ever been. Hopefully it will start going up. Saturday we went shopping for the first time out in the Japanese economy. We didn't buy anything at the SEIYU but did pick up some curtains and kitchen stuff at the 1000 Yen store. We are very blessed to be able to do most of our shopping on base as well as buy gas at $2.47/gallon opposed to $1.78 per liter in town.
We are in the unique position of being able to serve a Military Relations Mission which means our job is retention and reactivation of the Young Single Adult military over here on three bases. Yokata Air Force base located in Fussa about 20 kilometers (km) from the mission home in downtown Tokyo. Our apartment is located about five minutes from the main gate. Camp Zama is an Army Base with a Naval Air Force installation nearby and is about 20 km from Yakota. Yokuska Naval Base is 73 km (45 miles) from Yakota. I understand it takes about three hours or longer to get there. Yesterday we rode with a member of the Military District Presidency (like the Stake Presidency in the States) to chuch in Zama. It took us just over an hour to get there early in the morning and an our and a half to get back because of the traffic. We hear that it can take as long as 2 1/2 hours sometime to make that drive. The train system is very good here, from what I hear. We haven't tried it yet. If we were to take the train to Zama it would be a guaranteed 45 minute ride but we would have to walk two miles from the train station to the chapel. We may find that we will go to Yokosuka and stay for a few days at a time either at the military visitors quarters or with members to cut down on the travel time. Since we are the first Military Relations couple in this area everything is new to us as well to the people we are working with.

Friday, September 24, 2010

First Days In Japan

Wednesday, September 22nd: The mission president and his wife drove us to our area which is Fussa, Japan, about an hour and a half drive from downtown Tokyo. As far as I am concerned we will be taking the train or riding with others if we ever have to go back into Tokyo. The traffic isn't any worse than in New York City, but that isn't saying much.

We are in a three room apartment. It is comfortable and has enough space for the stuff we have. As soon as I get the internet hooked up at our apartment I will be posting pictures. We were able to go onto the base on Thursday and shop at the commissary and base exchange. I sometimes feel a bit guilty about all the advantages we have over other senior missionaries we got to know at the MTC.

Today we had to go down to City Hall to register. All foreigners have to register in the district within one week of arriving in the area. We fed the two local missionaries lunch of waffles and pancakes so they would go down there with us to help with the language. They didn't hesitate with that invitation. They have been living off Japanese food for the past few months and really enjoyed abit of American food for a change.

We are going to dinner this evening at the home of the Military District President. He is the equivalant of a Stake President out in the real LDS world. He is over all of the Military Bases in the area. We will be going to church with his counselor in a branch about an hour away this coming Sunday. The nearest church building to our apartment is only a five minute drive. We'll be going there next week I guess. So far we haven't been able to do anything with actual young military people but will eventually be setting up so programs for them. I'm sure it will be quite a few months before we really get anything up and going. At least we are getting familiar with the lead people who will in turn introduce us to the chaplains on the various bases and then things will start to happen. I should probably enjoy the slower pace right now, but if any of you know me well you know that isn't my way.

I am posting this from the Community Center on Yakota Air Force Base. We have the internet at our apartment as of lunch time today but I haven't been back there to use it. Hopefully tonight I will be able to post some pictures. Meanwhile, I just wanted to keep you all posted on what was going on in our lives.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Flight from Salt Lake City to Tokyo - September 20-21

Picture taken outside the Salt Lake Airport at about 12:00 PM on Monday, September 20th. We had to downsize one large suitcase just this morning when we discovered that the dimensions were too large. Woody did his packing magic and made everything fit. Once again he came to our rescue!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

First week of training

We just finished our first week of training at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah. We arrived on Monday, September 6th with 38 other missionary couples. It was pretty amazing to hear about all the different places they were going--Fiji Islands, Mongolia, Ukraine, Africe/Congo, Philipines, Germany, Sandwich Islands, Brazil, New York City!! just to name a few. The different things all of us are going to do was also impressive--3 military relations couples, Humanitarian, Church Education System, Family History, Public Relations, Perpetual Education Fund and even a dentist.

There are over 2,300 missionaries at the MTC this week--450 new young missionaries arrived on Wednesday. The cafeteria is an interesting experience. There is so much food and many different choices. Three full meals a day would take a toll on the waistline if we were going to be here for longer than 10 days.

During the week we studied a lot from the Preach My Gospel manual. We won't be proselyting missionaries and will be working mainly with military members but we will always be representing the Church and helping those young people to stay close to the Lord. Next week we will be learning the essentials to teach church Institute classes.

This weekend we will try to post some pictures of the magnificent Rocky Mountains right next to the MTC buildings. My friends from the East will be amazed at the height of the mountains.

Until Later--Elder and Sister Arnell

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

1st Day as Missionaries

We arrived at the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah on Monday, September 6th, 2010. There are about 35 other missionary couples in our group. They are going to missions all over the world in various capacities. We are grateful to be serving in Japan rather than the Congo, Ukraine, Micronesia, etc. I am sure many of them are happy to to where they are going instead of Tokyo Japan.

We are in a dorm room which is just big enough to be comfortable. After spending the last two months living out of suitcases it was nice to be able to hang our clothes up on a closet and put things in drawers--even if it is only for ten days.

There are currently over 2,100 missionares atthe training center at various stages of their training. Of course most of them are young people. They let us oldsters go to the front of the line in the cafeteria and also carried all of our luggage up the three flights of stairs to our room. It is fun listening to them practice their language skills with each other and also with anyone they can stop along the way.

We will be flying out to Tokyo on Monday, Sept 20th. I hope you all will enjoy our adventure through this blog. Feel free to e-mail us with your updates: or

Until later--
Elder and Sister Arnell