Culture

Why are Japanese people so honest?

I remember feeling completely stumped. During dinner with some colleagues, the conversation turned to how much more likely it was to recover a lost wallet (with money and credit cards intact) in Japan than in […]

Culture

A café with a difference

Nagoya is known for its café culture. In most cafés, some people chat with their friends while others sit by themselves and study, read, or work on their laptops. But I’ve discovered a very different […]

Culture

Three key cultural dynamics – part two

In my previous article,1 I noted three dynamics that shape Japanese people and influence their behaviour: group identity, deference, and shame. Here, I consider how these dynamics influence Japanese living abroad and returnees and note implications […]

Culture

Reaching out beyond church walls

Uchi and Soto In Japan, there is a difference between how you treat people who you consider your inner circle of family and friends (uchi) and those who are outside of that (soto). This is […]

Culture

The Japanese Mind

Being a slow reader and owning more books than I could possibly hope to read in a lifetime (over 7,250 at last count), I hardly ever reread a book. But one book I have read […]

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 […]