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Helmets and other stuff 21 Apr 2004
The helmet rule went into effect around April of 1993. We were issued helmets at a zone taikai or they may have come in the mail, I don't remember exactly. They looked alot like the ones in the picture on the website, really stylish. At least people weren't too interested in stealing them, although I know some choros forgot to lock them up and "lost" them. We had to buy new ones if that happened. Judging from the elders around our area, it seems that you can pick from other helmets now, or don't have to use the church issued ones. Like Stanger Choro said a good bike and a pair of good boots are well worth the money. The members probably aren't in a position to donate the money to buy a bike for every greenie, so plan on spending around $500. If you get outside of Sapporo plan on riding and walking alot of miles (or kilometers). The areas are large. Your feet will thank you for some good boots, and you legs and rear end will thank you for a good bike with a good seat. One suggestion for any new missionary that wears glasses. My trainer brought two pairs of glasses, and he took them with us every where we went during the winter. Whenever we got into a lesson, he traded the glasses that he had in his pocket inside his suit. That way he didn't have to wait until his glasses weren't fooged up to see who we were talking to. If you can afford it, it seemed to be kind of a nice thing to have. Luckily I didn't wear glasses or contacts and didn't have to deal with it.
Matt McBride Send Email
Boots 21 Apr 2004
The newer Sorel boots look really nice. One thing I can't tell from the site is whether they have removable liners. The Sorels that I had *did* have removable liners, and I was very thankful for that! They could be dried very quickly when not inside the boot. Also, the liner tended to wear out faster than the rest of the boot, so I had the parents send me a new set of liners (which weren't too expensive, I'm told). It was like having new boots.
Dustin Caldwell Send Email
Paying for bikes?? 20 Apr 2004
Senkyooshi's PAY for bikes now-a-days???!!! That's a real change from 83-85! Like Elder Foote wrote (Hey Brian, how are you doing?) we NEVER paid for bikes. Granted, some of them were possibly acquired in a shady manner (i.e. abandoned at the local eki), but paying money for one was unheard of. Are the senkyoshi-member relationships good enough to ask for donations? It seems that mission money could be spent on a lot of other worth-while things...
John S Finch Send Email
Mugi 20 Apr 2004
The mugi that we ate during the Christensen and Beckstrand eras was not from the local zoo. Christensen shimai assured me of that. Althought there was a rumor that some of the shimais bought some from a local farmer that was intended as chicken feed that had some steroids in it and they gained about 40 pounds in a couple of months. Probably a mormon myth, just like the choro riding his bike upside down in a tunnel. I don't know how much our messages have helped the new missionary, but they sure have been fun to read.
Matt McBride Send Email
Bicycle Helmets 19 Apr 2004
When did the bicycle helmet rule go into effect? I didn't see a single helmet 89-91. I don't think I could even have bought one if I wanted to.
Dustin Caldwell Send Email
mugi & bikes & pan no mimi 18 Apr 2004
I can relate to Bowes-kun as I was there at the same time ('76-'78). I had someone translate the writing on the side of a bag of mugi on the way home from zone conference. It was wheat and intended as 'chicken feed'. We were buying large bags of 'pan no mimi' at Roba Pan in Sapporo one time and the fellow asked, "How many dogs do you have?" When we replied "none", he asked, "The what do you feed the pan no mimi to?" He was really taken back when we said we ate them. So, our typical breakfast was chicken feed and dog food!
I also never bought a bike -- they were all morau-ed.
Lonnie K. Frost Send Email
Re: Mugi 14 Apr 2004
Try a Google search on "hato mugi", "Job's Tears", or "Pearl Barley". Here is an online store that sells it and has a pretty good description of the stuff:

I don't recall eating mugi all that often on my mission, but do remember sleeping on pillows stuffed with it.
Alex F Gonzalez Send Email
mugicha 14 Apr 2004
I have found mugicha at Sato's, a local Idaho Falls Japanese food store/ resturant. As for mugi I have never looked for it. Howard Choro tried to finish my bowl of it at the Honbu, and could of if Christensen Dendo bucho San didn't have eagle eyes. I really don't mind the taste of it, but talk about a brick sitting in your stomach.
Katie Marie Parkinson/Staten Send Email
Japanese At Work 13 Apr 2004
My Ohio company has an opening for a Japanese speaking sales rep. We sell seat adjusters to Honda, Subaru and Mitsubishi. The position was recently vacated by a Tokyo North kikan senkyoshi. You really will use your Japanese and it will be appreciated. My Japanese isn't perfect after 20 years, but has been somewhat resurrected to my delight! If you are interested to learn more call me (419-529-5650) or reply to the message by e-mail. Let me know if you know someone who is interested as well.
Craig Larsen Andrew Send Email
Re: Mugicha 13 Apr 2004
Stallard Choro,

Try an Asian food store. That stuff should be easy enough to find.
Craig Larsen Andrew Send Email
Buying rather than inheriting a bike 13 Apr 2004
I heard that years ago missionaries would go to the train station and claim bikes that looked abandoned, but that now the police do random checks on bike registrations and you could get in trouble if you are riding an abandoned bike that was registered to someone else.
Kenji Masato Oman Send Email
Bicycle seats 13 Apr 2004
I had the seat of my pants worn out by not using the grocery bags or garbage bags on the seat. The plastic bags also tended to give elders a "shiny hiney" so to speak. It is interesting to note how important a good bicycle is to an elder or sister. This has been a major discussion topic, and I think that it resembles farmers and cowboys determining a good horse. Another message was the the ode to The Mighty Elder Williams. This should encourage you to get a good helmet and course on bicycle safety prior to sending Elder Kenji out into the field. Have fun!
Mark Alyn Montgomery Send Email
Mugicha 13 Apr 2004
Any oriental market worth their salt should have Mugicha around. My wife is still trying to figure out why I drink so much of that stuff during the summer. If you really can't find any and you really want some give me a shout and I'll get you some.

For those in the 'north of Salt Lake' area I have found it in the Oriental Market in Riverdale (near the Roy Harmons)

As for the Mugi itself. I remember being told to eat it during the winter months from Sister Christensen. What I figured out was that mixing it half and half with rice and then adding a little brown sugar would hit the spot.

I sure hope the Hombu wasn't purchasing from the local zoo...... Not sure if you can really find a similiar product for sale here. What you might have to do is get a good wheat grinder and make your own. It was basically a cracked wheat anyway.

Wilcox - I don't remember you eating mugi that often, but you were still pretty green when we were together. You must have picked it up later on :) Email me is you find any for sale.

Scott D. Pickett Send Email
bikes and mugi 13 Apr 2004
Well, to put all the rumors to rest...mugi is crushed wheat and is really good for you. (With about 5 cups of brown sugar.) If you wanted to make your own you could just put your wheat storage wheat though the grinder on the med course setting and whalah you have mugi. Another recipe that is really good to make with your food storage wheat is whole wheat pancakes...just pour about a cup of wheat in your blender and add milk to the consistency of regular pancakes. Makes a filling pancake mix.

As far as bikes are concerned...When I was serving in Shinkotoni, I ran into the back of a parked car while bringing home a box of BOM (this was right before the new translation came out and we were trying to pass out as many of the old Book of Mormons as we could. If I remember correctly my companion and I passed out 96 in one week.) So with my bike out of commision and no one going home for 3 weeks one of the sister missionaries (Fifita Shimai, I think) offered me a bike that was outside of their apartment to use until an elder with a mountain bike went home. I had so much fun riding that bike, but I was glad to get my mountain bike back. Stick to the knobby tires and you'll be fine. Also make sure you know how to fix your bike, your companions will love you to death.

Last Item--does anyone remember a story of an elder that would actually ride through a tunnel and loop upside down while going through. I remember such a story from my mission, but never verified it. Help me out.
Jef Hatch Send Email
Never bought a bike 13 Apr 2004
Bowes Choro's reply on bikes is the only one I could relate to. I was in Hokkaido in 1983-84. I never bought a bike and don't remember any missionaries who did. Bikes were donated by members or investigators or whoever. Every apartment had it's own set of bikes that the missionaries had "morau"-ed from somewhere or other. When you showed up, you inherited the junkiest bike at that apartment. When someone with a better bike was transferred, you would get the better bike--based on seniority at that apartment ("better" meaning not as junky).
If you could not wait until someone transferred and your bike was beyond repair, you just kept on the lookout, or let the members know you needed a bike and soon a bike a bit less junky could always be found. Never a new one, just one less junky.
I never took a bike on a transfer, and one was always waiting for me when got to the new apartment.
We even got bikes while tracting sometimes. Someone would see us doing a quick bike repair and say something like, "My son got married and moved away and his old bike is there next to the house. It has not been ridden for years and may not work, but you are welcome to it if you think you can fix it."
We would take the bike, fix the flat tire, and it would work fine, or it would at least supply parts to fix up other bikes at the apartment. Many offers for free bikes were declined because we had enough at the apartment already.
In Shiroishi the Chikatetsu ran through the middle of our area. We bought a month's subway pass to cover our area, then started collecting bikes until we had two bikes locked at the bike racks of each subway stop. We would ride bikes from the eki to an appointment, then if the next appointment were closer to a different eki then the one we were near, we would ride to the nearest eki, lock the bikes, use our passes to get to the appropriate eki, unlock our other bikes and ride to the appointment. It was VERY sweet!
I don't know if I ever even saw a mountain bike in Japan!
I realize this natsukashii reply provides no help in the traction v. comfort v. reliability debate because we never really had any of those luxuries. It was all about minimal function, but those bikes had a lot of personality and got us where we were going!
Brian Foote Send Email
Bikes 13 Apr 2004
I also would recommend getting a two piece rain suit. The mountain bike is the way to go if you end up anywhere outside of Sapporo, and even in some of those areas the hills are bad, i.e. Makomanai, Moiwa, etc. And Watts, I never saw you an a Chari, but that would have been good to see you and Dillon riding down the street on a couple of Charis. I regret convincing my greenie Neal Hatch to buy a psuedo Chari with (3) gears. We were in Makomanai and he had a hard time keeping up going up the hills, especially coming home from church. I know everyone else on a bike is probably the same but, I figured up one day that I logged in at least 5,000 miles on my bike. (10 miles day for 600 days) It would have been a pain to try and ride that many miles in one gear which is all that a chari has.
Matt McBride Send Email
bikes & mugi 13 Apr 2004
I had completely forgotten about the plastic bags over the seat. Only senkyoushi... I actually used them to prevent chaffing. My seat was much less sore thanks to the grocery sack.

A note about the mugi - a Japanese friend of mine called me after I made that post. She said they sell it in most of the oriental food shops and cooking rice with a little mugi mixed in is kind of an "in" thing now.
Richard Wilcox Send Email
Mugi 13 Apr 2004
I am not sure where you can purchase it but Mugi is barley. My wife and I cook barley in our rice cooker with rice to give it a little variety. Usually about 25% barley. You should be able to pick it up at most supermarkets. However, the quality will be better than what we ate on our missions so it might be a little more expensive.

For those looking for mugicha, most Chinese/Oriental supermarkets carry tea that is exactly the same as mugicha.

Enjoy your mugi!!
James Rodgers Send Email
Mugi 13 Apr 2004
I believe that Mugi is actually "cracked wheat". My grandpa used to feed it to us and I didn't like it then, so never learned to like in while in Japan. As for availability - not sure where you can get it, but I believe some health food stores carry it and you can buy whole wheat kernels and make it yourself.

Hope that helps.

Mike Thompson
Mike F Thompson Send Email
RE: Mugi 13 Apr 2004
I have to disagree with it being "brown rice".

It MAY have been barley - however barley is generally only used for malting and feeding livestock. I stongly believe that it was wheat.

In japanese wheat is called komugi. A wheat field is mugibataku and wheat tea is mugi-cha. Missionaries refered to it as mugi - but I believe that it was cracked wheat. Like I said earlier - try Zoom. It tastes the same.
Jason Lowry Send Email
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