Dog or monkey?

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The place where we stayed this week had both a lot of international guests and a couple of spidermonkeys. So I managed to overhear these two conversations, which managed to neatly sum up a lot of cultural differences in parenting:

Western baby: “Dog!”
Western parent: “That’s not a dog, it’s a monkey!”

Japanese baby: “Dog!”
Japanese parent: “Yes, it is a little bit like a dog, isn’t it?” (「そうだ、ちょっと犬見たいよね。」)

Six Things We Learnt About How Japanese People Run Events

I’m going to do something dangerous and novel on this blog and actually try and give useful practical information; at least useful and practical if you’re a missionary in Japan. A lot of missionaries run events in their churches for various reasons, but not many missionaries go to events outside of the church, run by ordinary Japanese people. Read more about Six Things We Learnt About How Japanese People Run Events

Japanese church statistics, revisited

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A few years back I tried to gather as much information as possible about the state of the Japanese church. Last time I reported on these statistics, church membership was down, church attendance was down, baptisms were down… it wasn’t a great time for the Japanese church. Periodically I wonder what, if anything, has happened since then. Read more about Japanese church statistics, revisited




ヒルソングはパーフォマンスのメタファーがあるから、ステージがあって、ステージでバンドが中心であって、コンサートみたいな賛美礼拝をしています。カトリック教会は政府のメタファーがあるから、教皇、大主教、主教、祭司の組織階級があって、公会議や回勅を強調しています。救世軍はやっぱり軍隊のメタファーがあります。 Read more about 教会のメタファー

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