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。」)
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
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
Perhaps a key verse for Japanese pastors is John 17:12.
When I was with them I kept them safe and watched over them in your name that you have given me.
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
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
Eight years ago, Thomas Hastings and Mark Mullins wrote an excellent article about the congregational leadership crisis facing the Japanese church [free subscription to IMBR required]. They said Read more about The congregational leadership crisis still facing the Japanese church
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