Wouldn’t you like to know…
Actually, Seth, I think I shall live a long and healthy life not knowing.]]>
Now, for my regrettable eikaiwa moment. I transferred in to a small city on Shikoku late in the evening after long boat and train rides. My Japanese companion met me at the station and told me we were late for eikaiwa, so we would have to go straight to the church with my luggage. I suddenly realized that I would be completely in charge of eikaiwa since it was a 2-missionary town and my companion was Japanese. There were new students there that night, so I greeted the class and carefully explained how I would run things, and started organizing the students into levels. I was starting to feel proud of myself for being so organized on the fly.
Towards the end of my introduction and explanations, a housewife with decent English skills rose her hand and said that she would like to explain something to the new students. She proceeded to say that after a few weeks we would pressure each of them to join our church, but they could just say no to that and could keep coming to eikaiwa. She then looked to me for confirmation. Caught off guard, I didn’t know what to say, which made me turn bright red for some reason – like some tacit secret had suddenly become explicit. I fumbled around and then blurted out that she was wrong and we would not ask anyone to join our church.
I could tell that she was hurt and dejected that I contradicted her like that, and I ended up saying the wrong thing anyway. Needless to say, it took a few weeks for the awkward feeling to dissappear.
I’m sorry Nakamura-san and the rest of the eikaiwa class.]]>
“How do you know what an ashtray tastes like?”
Wouldn’t you like to know…]]>
I can relate quite a bit. I have a few bitter memories of my own from my own self-absorbed times on the mission and it’s nice to know some people are willing to share some of their regrets and not just all their rosy successes.]]>
How do you know what an ashtray tastes like? ;)]]>
Scratch those baptism statistics. I thought they were correct, but then I started wondering if they were yearly, or merely monthly. Now I’m just puzzled. I think they were yearly…]]>
John, the traumas of my mission had life-changing effects on me too. My suggestion is to look towards the Savior and the Atonement. The Atonement covers for, pays for, and heals our wounds, regardless of how we got wounded. The Atonement covers for our mistakes, and it pays for those offenses committed against us. All we can do is repent the best we can (knowing we can’t possibly make restitution on many things), forgive others for their offenses against us (knowing that the Savior paid for their sins/errors/mistakes too), and do the best we can from this point on.
I got off my mission 20 years ago, and I still sometimes stress over things from back then. But we just have to move on.]]>
Yes! I love that ashtray aftertaste!
Great response. I must say that Eikaiwa has to be implemented correctly to serve its true purpose. As originally conceptualized, Eikaiwa is accompanied by a series of focused activities that are geared toward bringing people closer to accepting the discussions (although not overtly religious). Under Pres. Figuerres, about 80% of our investigator pool was coming from Eikaiwa. During his tenure (he left in 93 or 94…), mission baptisms tripled, and dwarfed every other mission in Japan.
Unfortunately, once he left, the follow-up was lacking. Missionary discipline took a nosedive, the programs became unfocused, and convert levels settled back to normal (I believe it was once around 105 in one year for a mission of over 300 missionaries). I would hazard a guess that by 1996, Eikaiwa wasn’t really being implemented the way it was originally intended.
Kobe mission got merged into the Fukuoka mission right after the big earthquake. You’re right about the “central” part of AC and heating. At the tail end of August though, a kind student in our English classes insisted on buying our apartment an electric AC and wouldn’t take no for an answer. The Japanese are increasingly moving away from the “squatters” and adopting more western-style toilets. I doubt you’ll find one in the home of anyone under 50 in Japan anymore.
Like John, I treasure my painful memories just as much as my happy ones. Possibly even more.]]>