These persimmons, called kaki in Japanese, come in a few varieties. Some are not sweet and are only good to eat when dried. You can see below someone drying some kaki by hanging them from their porch.Below is one of the trees nearly picked clean by the monkey thieves.We also snapped a shot of the Daikon Radishes being dried by a local resident as we drove through the village.Here are some more pictures from the Maizuru area...
After church we drove past the port and Japanese Naval Base and found a small village called Mihama located on the back side of a mountain opposite the port facing the Sea of Japan. We stopped to take a picture as we went over the mountain. It was cool and rainy all morning, but cloudy and only threatening more rain in the afternoon. Mihama Mura is down by the sea.I made it a point to walk out on the beach and touch the water. We went from coast to coast and back today. The Sea of Japan faces China and Korea. The mission home in Kobe looks out over the inland sea and Pacific Ocean towards North America.We met a very kind grandma in the village as she was cutting flowers and tending her garden. She told us she was born on Christmas Eve and her father, who was Christian, died on Christmas Eve as well. We shared with her some materials and she gave Sister McIntyre some flowers. You can see a persimmon tree in the background. We saw many growing in the valley there. In the fall the leaves drop but they leave the fruit on the trees to sweeten. Grandma told us she had about 30 wild monkeys down in her garden yesterday raiding the trees. We wish we could have seen that.
It is a wonderful experience to spend several days with a general authority of the church being taught, instructed and uplifted. Much of our instruction focused on how to use the Book of Mormon and help people commit to read and pray about it. Elder Evans also focused on "finding when you teach and teaching when you find." I know the missionaries felt a wonderful spirit and came away with a renewed energy and commitment to apply what was taught. We love Elder and Sister Evans and appreciate all their council and support.
Above: Sister McIntyre and Elders Taketomi and Castleton standing in front of the church doors. The Maizuru Branch had 2 investigators attend today and counting us that brought the sacrament meeting attendance to 13. They do have 2 baptisms scheduled for December. The Branch President is a wonderful young man (return missionary) in his thirties. It was a great day getting to know all the members there and speaking to them and learning with them in Sunday School and the other meetings. Maizuru is home to a Japanese Naval Base and other than that it seems to be basically made up of several small fishing and mountain villages. The two non-members who came to church were both Japanese sailors stationed there. They both had a keen interest in what was taught and were very friendly and likable and said they would come again. These small branches are precious. The members that attend are wonderful. I am still seeking for guidance on how we can better support them.
Most all day Saturday was spent in Ibaraki (Osaka) where Sister McIntyre and I were asked to speak to, and train, about 60 future missionaries with Elder Yamashita, one of our Area Authority Seventies here in Japan, and President Kido of the Osaka North Stake. It was a wonderful day. The Kobe Mission provided about 30 missionaries in the afternoon who went proselyting for a few hours with all the attendees. This annual event is coordinated through the Institute and the local stakes.
Early Sunday morning Sister McIntyre and I were off to Maizuru clear across the country along the Sea of Japan to visit the Maizuru Branch.The church is located in the building above on the 2nd floor. As you can see there is book and video store below us. In the picture below, Sister McIntyre is pointing to the sign in front of the building which shows the name of the church. It is the top white sign written in Japanese. Not sure what the bottom sign is all about. But we do think there is a lot of "wisdom" taught in the building every Sunday!