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.