Mom and Dad,
It seems like the weather hasn't been incredibly dissimilar in Toyooka and Utah. We had a really nice week up until about Friday, then things got pretty chilly. No snow, but it's been unpleasantly cool. Yesterday it was going from raining sheets, to sunshine, to hail, then it was just cloudy and cold for the rest of the evening. Today the skies are clear and things are beautiful. The morning was really cold, though. When Elder Nelson and I went running around 6 there was frost on the cars and the display at the Eki (train station) showed 0 degrees.
MLC this last week was fantastic, and the ZTM we did this last Friday was probably one of the best I've done yet. Elder Nelson and I work really well together. It went smoothly and was a very powerful and spiritual meeting. After ZTMs I always call everybody in the Zone to get feedback about how it went, what they learned, and how we can improve. Many of them also said it was one of the best Zone Training Meetings they've been too yet, so that was encouraging.
Yesterday I met one of the saddest and strangest people in my entire life. He's a Japanese man in his 60's. We were looking through our area book, found this man, and said, "Hey, why not?" We found his house and knocked on the door. His wife answered and said she remembered the missionaries from before. She seemed like most any other Japanese lady. We asked if her husband was available, and she said he was probably sleeping, but she'd go check. After a minute she came back and said, "Seems like he might come out, wait just a minute." We stood there for a minute or two, and then out comes this rather pale and sickly looking fellow. "Morumon kyou? Will you come in?" he said in Japanese and English in a raspy garbled smoker's voice. We went in and he led us through his house. The house was big and way nice, but then he led us to the little room that he seems to spend almost all of his time in. It was a nasty little space that smelled of sake and cigarettes. There were bookshelves lined with all sorts of books, most of them in English and (as I came to find out) Yiddish. There were discarded cartons of sake lying all over the floor kept company by a bunch of old newspapers and a nasty old space heater. We sat down with him and started talking to him, and by the way his breath smelled and the way he talked, it was apparent he was drunk. Also, he was drinking alcohol from a mug the whole time we were talking. We asked him what he had been up to lately, and he said he was translating a book written by the same person who wrote "Fiddler on the Roof" from Yiddish to Japanese. I have no idea why he knows Yiddish, and when I asked him, he started speaking in English (his pronunciation was ridiculously good, by the way) about how he believed the Book of Mormon is imagined history and he knew that because he's read the Old Testament and he doesn't believe the New Testament except for the Revelations because he named his only son Renew. It was really strange and didn't make much sense. He said he was Catholic and Communist and then asked us about Obamacare. After that he gave us an apple sitting on his desk because it was old, and then when we asked if we could pray with him, he insisted that we didn't pray in his room but that when we leave that we pray for him. I'm pretty sure there are other things that we talked about and other strange details that I'm missing, but that was the gist of our visit with this man. It was on of the weirdest things I've experienced in my life, and it was really rather sad to see that this man has chosen to waste his life like he has. After that Nelson Choro and I felt way weird after that as we dendo-ed the rest of the day.
Papa, don't worry, I'm getting plenty to eat. After we went running this morning we came back and worked out, so I was starving. This morning we ran out of milk so instead of putting milk over my protein and corn flakes, I used mugicha. Then we had a little yogurt left, so I threw that in too. After that I tossed in some Milo as well. It was rather delicious, actually. Also I had 2 eggs on toast with vegemite (the Australian sister who was in this area last transfer got more vegemite than she wanted from her family and was kind enough to give me some), karashi mayo (spicy mayo), and shoyu (soy sauce). Then I had a carton of natto (fermented soy beans) - and it was the natto with the seaweed sauce rather than the shoyu and spicy mustard. Probably one of the best breakfasts I've ever had.
I'm way excited to get to see General Conference this Saturday and Sunday! Things are going way too fast. I love life and I love being a missionary!
Elder Kyle Hutchings