japan

Bamboo Tree and Christmas Tree

When I was at language school I was swapping stories with my language teacher. I was asking him about the collections of bottles of water you often see outside Japanese houses around the obon season; I had been assured by an experience missionary that they were offerings to the spirits of the ancestors who returned to earth at obon, so that they could have a drink on their journey. Well, not exactly, said my language teacher; they’re there to reflect the sunlight into cats’ eyes and stop cats peeing on people’s gardens. Read more about Bamboo Tree and Christmas Tree




Japanese culture in pictures: Yonige

A few months ago, our neighbours downstairs—a family with two young children—went missing. They apparently left the house as one would find it every day, with a pram and a bike outside the door, (and even the children’s bubble toy) and disappeared.

Last month, the owners of the flats went in the flats to change the locks, (presumably checking for bodies as they did so) and posted a notice on the door asking them to get in touch as soon as possible. They haven’t. Read more about Japanese culture in pictures: Yonige


"The son of man"

“Man is God appearing in the universe, appearing visibly in the midst of all he created. That changes the meaning of man, doesn’t it?

“I can see you Masai shaking your heads and saying, No! Man is not God. We know man, and he is filled with evil. He fights, he kills, he destroys, he does everything to separate others, and to separate himself from them.


An illustrative example from history

I’m editing a book on the history of the Japanese Orthodox Church. It’s a fascinating story for me because the pioneer missionary period was by far the most successful in Japanese Christianity. One missionary and a couple of short-termers planted hundreds of churches and a hundred thousand church members. It’s amazing. Read more about An illustrative example from history




"Detrimental to the public order"

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This afternoon I was giving a talk at a local event; speaking before me was Mr. Sō Mōri of the South Kyoto Legal Center. He was explaining the LDP’s proposed changes to the Japanese Constitution and their effects. I’ve only seen a little bit in English on this and I hadn’t seen the extent of the changes until today. (Should Christians, missionaries, foreigners be engaging in Japanese politics? Read more about "Detrimental to the public order"



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