Saturday, October 4, 2008


Hello, It's Saturday and Jane and I are still sick from a week long bout of sickness with fevers and coughing. This is Mihoko's dad's last day here with us and we are bored. And we still have three days left on our train passes. So what do we do... road trip to Yokohoma. It was great sort of. There are just literally millions of people in Japan over 127 million but who is counting. When your not feeling well and should be in bed you notice things a little more than normal. But today God was blowing my mind. In one department store in Yokohoma station I road an escalator for three floors down and there wasn't a step empty on the 7 floors of the building and there were lines extending some 10 persons deep waiting to get on the escalator. The store had an army of workers shouting "Irrashai mase" in nasal tones on a frequency higher than dogs can hear. It was Saturday and that could be the reason but Mihoko and I reflected on the ingenuity of the Japanese to wrap their transportation system in and through department stores and malls. In seems like in some places you can't exit into fresh air without first going into a depaato (department store). I was already dizzy from a low grade fever and this was worse. We went to the famous China town and every other vendor was trying to force us to eat roasted chest nuts. Why? I don't know. One thing I noticed was that in some windows the pictographs or Kanji would be turned upside down. When I asked why they said because of Chinese superstition they want the gods of heaven to be able to read their sign. So they think they'll receive favor for being nice enough to allow the gods to view it right side up since they are looking down. Ravi Zacharias says that "Fear is the basis of all superstition." It is out of fear that people make gods and good luck charms. The Bible says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." When we have a proper understanding of who God really is and how great and wonderful he is and how much he loves us. Well the Bible also says, "perfect love casts out all fear." Jesus is that perfect love we need to get into the hearts and lives of the Japanese people. When Buddhism first came to Japan it originally took god out of the lives of the people. They sought to become enlightened themselves but then they realize how fallible we all are and so the people began to fear and then Shintoism which means the way of the gods took off to irradiate fear and superstition reigned in Japan. When Christianity came into Japan it was because of fear that it would upset the balance so they closed Japan to the outside world and entered a dark period. The Buddhist realized this and so they deified the Buddha who himself was quoted in a conversation as saying. "Are you Spirit?" he said, "No I am not. "Are you God?" he said, "No I am not. Then what are you? He said, "I am awake." That means he is enlightened and that is the word Buddha or the awakened one. So Buddha's followers made him into a god and then they began to pray to the Buddha. Which prior they just chanted away all desires and self and worked at becoming enlightened. But sad to say even today as much as the Japanese devote to appeasing the gods it is not enough and they have turned to the ancient gods of money, power, fame, and pleasure. When they wash up on the rocks of cynicism and find themselves empty and void life becomes a meaningless existence. (I got some of this from Ravi's books Lotus and the Cross and Jesus Among Other gods)On our way home from Yokohama which really was fun it ended on a serious note as our train stopped dead in the tracks both the Yamanote line and the Tokyo Maru lines shut down for a clean up crew to once again gather a person who washed up in the emptiness of their own miserable existence. The jumper remains nameless to us and faceless. We don't know much but the digital sign in the train indicated the tracks were being cleared and the wording was indicative of a personal suicide. Oh may God open up the hearts of the Japanese people. All people from around the world indoctrinate their children into a philosophy or world view. Japan is no different. They are programmed to operate a certain way at certain times it is just a social norm. We too have this. But this is where we find a the Christian mindset we are shown grace through out our childhood and told to initiate grace. Japan is taught to reciprocate another's actions. We gave a neighbor a small gift they reciprocate with a bigger gift. Grace is known here but only in the instance of some great individual giving to a lessor who can in no way repay. Thus there is the bondage of indebtedness. Jesus did this with us and this is what the Japanese need to see. His act wasn't just a trivial act but an Eternal one that no one can even begin to see. It is so huge that for many they don't like to believe it for the indebtedness they sense is overwhelming and inside they don't want to have to work so hard to pay it back for all eternity. There is the problem they don't have to; it is a gift. But they are raised to pay it back and greater than others. The pride of gift giving here is amazing. Japanese people are very gracious but only in a "I'm going to raise your pair to 4 of a kind, and then the other responds with a flush and then a full get the point. They don't forget. Japanese protocol is that even though you gave them a gift 20 years ago the first thing they say to you is thank you for that gift you gave me 20 years ago. You'll be shocked they still remember. They have been hanging on to the sense of being in your debt and now they have their payback. I don't know where I am going with this and I had taken some medicine to make me sleepy for my cold and I have totally lost all mental function. It must be the Lord telling me to stop before I get into trouble speaking about something I am not very well versed in. I do welcome all comments and views and criticisms for educational purposes not personal attacks. I am still learning and as Pastor Chuck says Just teach the word and don't get caught up in all this. He is right as usual. Goodnight. Oh yea, Yokohama was fun and

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