Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Love Story: Part 3 (The Day Reynolds Choro Became a Human Being)

Okay, so I got a comment from Kelly, a "mum" in New Zealand who wants to hear the rest of our love story. Isn't that just FUN? (Hi Kelly! Are you flying to the Power of Moms retreat in Australia this week? I wish I were.) I love random comments from random people (especially in faraway places), especially since none of my family and close friends who I KNOW read my blog ever make a single bloomin' comment! (You know who you are, and I love you anyway.) (I know, Mom, you are having technical difficulties. You are exempted from this guilt trip.)

I suppose it's partly my fault. I'm not very interactive. I don't read and comment much on other people's blogs, and posting on FB and twitter seem both insufficient and redundant to me after blogging. And if I do make a comment on someone else's status on FB, then I spend the rest of the day getting emails of all the other comments to that post. (Information overload!) This is why I mostly end up just sending private messages through FB, which is basically like email, so what's the point? But I will be attending a little webinar with my cute editor and others over at Deseret News next week to get trained in the ways of promoting our blogs (as in, the DN blogs) through various means (FB and twitter included), so maybe after this little training session I will be motivated to be more "interactive" on my own personal blog. That will be a stretch, because on most days this one-way blog is all my social media self can muster. (See"Crazy".) 

Ah well, thanks for the comment Kelly! 

And many thanks to my awesome neighbor, Katie, who walked her SWEET hot pink Hello Kitty tape player over here with a baby on her hip just so I could listen to our recently unearthered "B&A History" tapes from 1995. Here's Part 3 . . . 

I started to see Reynolds Choro as a human being the day we rode our bikes to the umi. 

P-Day is the day every missionary looks forward to the most. P stands for Preparation, which means P-Day is the day set aside each week to clean, do laundry, grocery shop, write letters (back in the days of snail mail), and PLAY. Unfortunately, the P in PLAY always got a little squished out of the schedule due to all the P in Preparation (kind of like my current Saturdays), but occasionally we would spend most of our P-Day PLAYING and just hope to squeeze in all that other stuff whenever possible.  

Such was the case on the day the Sendai missionaries rode our bikes to the umi (ocean). 

This little day trip was the idea of our fearless leader from the other Pacific coast, Reynolds Choro, who had apparently done it a month or two before with a different set of missionaries before I transferred in. I was always up for an adventure, so I thought it sounded like a great idea.

It was about a 45 minute bike ride (according to "B&A History: 1"), but I remember feeling like it took much longer than that as we rode deep into the boonies. We always stuck out as missionaries, and never more so than when a group of us traveled together with those dasai (tacky) bike helmets on. I can still remember that long row of helmets as we biked along a narrow pathway running beside a field full of workers planting the already sprouted rice shoots into the fields. Wikipedia will tell you that rice planting in Japan is done mostly by machines, but I never once saw it being planted any other way than this:

(I took more than a few pictures that look just like this very scene, but heaven help me if I can't figure out how to use my scanner, and I'm really too lazy to go digging through the boxes of old pictures that have been packed up since we moved here 1.5 years ago anyway!)

One of my (our) favorite things about serving in the northern part of Honshu is that it was more country than city compared to Tokyo and some of the other larger cities. And it felt so good after the long, cold winter to be riding along in the country with the sun on our backs and the warm wind in our face. The winters were pretty long and brutal where we were--especially since we lived most of our waking hours outside on a bike--so it was nice when the weather turned warm again. It must have been late May or early June, because the weather couldn't have been more beautiful.

(Another interesting side note is how odd it was that none of the homes had central heating despite the fact that the latitude was similar to the northern states of the U.S. and we had tons and tons of snow. Our apartments were warmed by space heaters that we would take turns getting up to fill in the mornings with STINKY KEROSENE when it was FREEZING outside. Hated that job. Everyone had electric blankets on their futons on the floor where we slept, but it was murder to get out of them in the morning to go start up that stupid space heater. I even have memories of watching my clothes that were hanging from a rope in the corner of the room blowing in the wind from the crack in the sliding glass door that was letting in snow.)

We left pretty early in the morning. Early enough to go to the fresh fish market by the ocean where local people would come to buy the catch of the day. Being from Illinois where the most exotic restaurant in town was the Yen Ching near the mall, I was fascinated by the amount and variety of ocean animals that were being sold FOR PEOPLE TO EAT! (Have I ever told you about the whole, pregnant, deep fried fishy I ate? And that wasn't even weird.) I thought the regular Japanese grocery stores sold some pretty funky stuff, but this fish market was over the top. (Those are some of my favorite pictures! Maybe I will try to dig and scan . . .)

Once we got to the beach, Reynolds Choro led us all in an hour long devotional and personal study time before we broke off to enjoy the day however we wanted. (What did you expect?) For whatever reason, I thought it was the perfect setting to do a bit more in-depth study and discussion of one of my favorite chapters of scripture: Jacob 5--The Allegory of the Olive Tree. (The ocean used to make me contemplative when I was young and serious. Now it just makes me sleepy.) I invited whoever in the group wanted to to stick around a little bit longer to read and discuss it with me.

Reynolds Choro was the only taker.

I can't remember anything about our discussion, only that I was surprised and impressed that the shallow, arrogant, rich kid from California was the one who wanted to have a deep discussion with me on the scattering and gathering of Israel.

After a lengthy back and forth, and before I knew what was happening (blame it on the sun, the sea air, and the sand between my toes), the conversation turned more personal. Again, I honestly can't remember what we talked about (and unfortunately it's not mentioned in "B&A History: 1"), but I do remember suddenly feeling like I could open up to him about some things that were on my mind. Things that were bothering me. And I definitely remember how he responded: By pulling out a letter from his mother.

Again, since I can't remember what was bugging me (other than it had to do with missionary work), I can't remember exactly what it was in that letter from his mother that comforted me and helped me to put things into better perspective. But that's when it occurred to me:

Reynolds Choro has a mother. A mother who loves him. And she sure seems like a pretty good mother. Maybe he's a human being after all! And with a mother like that? Maybe it's even possible that he's a pretty good human being too.

And that's the first day I remember thinking of him as my friend.


  1. I don't know -- this guy sounds creepy to me. I mean, who brings letters from his mother on a date? Norman Bates?

    What does Brandon think about this "Reynolds Chorro" character? I am looking forward to the part where you dump this loser and marry that doctor from LA.

  2. Oh All-y-son (said with Japanese accent), this is so cool.

  3. okay, I love B&A History:3. This is some of your best writing...seriously.

  4. We really should get together with our spouses one day! Remember, my husband served in the Sendai mission in 1991!


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