Sunrise from our apartment

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday, March 19th - Driving down the middle of Japan

The Japanese Alps along the way.

This was our driving route from Fussa (Yokota Air Force Base) to our new mission home in Fukuoka.

We left just before 9:00 AM and immediately had a hard time getting out of town because the road we usually take was jammed with cars trying to get fuel. We were finally able to back out and take a different route to get to the Chuo Expressway. We had filled up with fuel and decided to stop as frequently as possible and top off the tank. At the first stop we were limited to 1,000 yen (about $12.50). There was no fuel at the next stop. At the third stop we could get 10 liters. After that there were no issues. We had smooth sailing until about half way there when we came to the Kyoto/Kobe area. These people really aren't affected that much by the events up north except for maybe some shortages. Monday is a Japanese holiday and the cherry blossoms are popping out all over so I am sure there were a lot of travelers visiting the old capitol of Japan. It took us about an hour and a half just to get 30 km. The beauty of this trip is that the route you see in the picture is one long connection of expressways. We never had to get off. We could just pull into rest areas along the way. The little drawback for such a good road system is the cost of tolls-15,900 YEN so far (about $190 dollars and we aren't there yet). Near the end of our day trip though we encountered another backlog at Hiroshima so decided to get off the clogged expressway and travel the remainder 70 km (about 45 miles)on the surface road. Bad idea!! That took us over two hours to make that little jaunt--through the city and countryside. If it had been daylight we probably would have seen some nice scenery in the Hiroshima area. The base wasn't accepting anyone into their lodging facilities due to the evacuation orders from bases up north but then they called back when they found out we were coming from Yokota Base and said we could stay there. But we had already made arrangements to stay in the home of Sister Chambers, the Iwakuni Branch Relief Society President. I crashed as soon as I could get to the bed.

We will attend church at the Iwakuni Branch this morning and then will drive the remaining four hours to the Fukuoka Mission Home. Since Monday is a Japanese holiday we will stay in that area until Tuesday and then will fly to Okinawa. We have a church car which will be ferried over there sometime later that week. There is already a Military Relations couple in Okinawa so they are going to help us get set up. Apparently we will be staying with a member until we can find and apartment.

We are really excited about this new adventure.


  1. I am glad to see you two are ok.
    I am grateful for LDS members any where in the world who might help missionaries. I feel happy with it. Elder Armell, please take care and have safe trip to Fukuoka. My prayer will be with you.
    Bro. Fujii @fussa ward

  2. I agree that it's such a blessing that where ever you are in the world, as a member of the Church you will always automatically have friends. So happy that you made it there safely and I look forward to Skyping sometime soon. Love you mom and dad.