Culture

Funerals in Japan

“Please come and visit my wife today. I don’t think she has long to live!” Mrs. M’s not-yet-Christian husband had faithfully served his wife during her year-long hospitalization. It was time. That morning Mrs. M […]

Culture

Three key cultural dynamics

Japanese people are renowned in the West for being opaque and inscrutable, and even those who have lived and worked among them for a long time still sometimes have trouble understanding their reactions. Part of […]

Culture

Marrying non-believers

“I’m going to get married!” My wife and I rejoice with them at the happy news. But when we enquire who the lucky man is, we discover he’s not a Christian. This scene has been […]

Culture

Lessons I’m learning in Japan

I have been in Japan for some time now, but pray that I will remain malleable in the hands of the Holy Spirit and always open to learning and change. I want to keep asking […]

Culture

The importance of face in Japan

The importance of showing face I remember attending my first pastors’ retreat 36 years ago in Hokkaido with JECA pastors and OMF missionaries. My Japanese was limited, the topics challenging, and I floundered. While enjoying […]

Culture

Bridge-building among Latinos in Japan

When we walked in, everything looked and felt like a Japanese church. About 30 people in four rows of chairs facing the pulpit and a few were speaking Japanese. Almost everyone looked to be of […]

Culture

Children of the outcastes

My wife Karen and I first learned about burakumin—descendants of Japanese outcastes—in 1994, while praying through Operation World. Two years later, I retired from the US Marines, and we began a trip through western Japan […]

Culture

Independent, not self reliant

Two missionaries had high blood pressure,” I reported, “because they ate instant noodles every day.” My husband nodded gravely. “What else did you learn?” I recited the alliteration of doom that befalls some missionaries: “depression, […]

Culture

Foundation builders

On Nov. 23, 1891, 15 young missionaries arrived in Yokohama from the United States: six men and nine women. The youngest was 19 years old, and the oldest was 35. Most were in their late […]