I'm still reflecting on my experience working in a Japanese church. I've written before about the sense of expectations I've felt put on by myself, and by my church in the UK (or at least my perception of what they expect) but I didn't really think before about the expectations of my local congregation, the church I was working for. Perhaps at the time I was too close to the action.
So with the news that Geert Wilders has been denied entry to the UK, and the passage of time, it's time to tell you about an email I got a month or so ago, asking me if I'd help to translate “Fitna” into Japanese.
I’m looking through “Mentoring Like Barnabas”, by Mitsuo Fukuda, which I think is something that every missionary to Japan should read. Well, that’s sort of why I’m translating it. Anyway, I came up with this nugget: Read more about The temptation to show off
So through a tortuous chain of yak-shaving, I ended up trying to find out some more about the song ã«ã¼ã¸ã¥ã®ä¼è¨, which is used in the titles to Kiki's Delivery Service. And Youtube provided me with its original music video. This is, I warn you, a crime against good taste.
Warning: This does get a bit graphic.
So yesterday and today I have mainly been assisting at Nagahama’s first Latin American funeral. This was the first Christian funeral I attended in Japan - you can read about my Buddhist funeral experience - and I get the impression it was fairly typical of the genre, despite the Latin cultural influence. Read more about More funeralia
So this week marks my second Christmas in Japan. I think this has been the least Christmassy Christmas of my life so far. I have felt like Charlie Brown (hence the sermon) for most of this month. I'm sure this is partly to do with the fact that many of the things I associate with Christmas haven't been here.
I've been asked to write a post about Christmas in Japan, which I will later on, but first I want to talk about the Brazilian situation here.
One of the few things that the Koizumi administration achieved was the promotion of Cool Biz - an environmental campaign where government offices were encouraged to allow workers to remove their jackets and ties so that air conditioners could be set marginally higher than normal, saving energy.
I spent most of today helping to destroy a church. One of our church plants had run out of money, manpower and members, and so we made the obvious decision to close it down, end the contract on the building, revert all the alterations that had been made to it and to return it to the landlord. For some involved, I'm sure it was a sad day, but I have to admit that I took a perverse pleasure in it, laying into bookshelves and partitions with a ball-peen hammer. It's a great way to take out your frustrations. I wish I could call it creative destruction, but it wasn't, it was just destruction, pure and simple. I wish I could say that symbolically I was breaking down the building to set free the church, but no, really, I wasn't. I was just merrily swinging away, laying into pieces of wood that didn't really deserve it. And I loved it.