April 14, 2019
We have returned! Kim and I returned from Japan last week after a wonderful nine day journey through Tokyo and Kyoto. Our reason for going was a combination of interest and a good deal on tickets, and neither disappointed. We were with a tour group of around thirty-five people from all over the United States, as we travelled around Japan by bus and train. As I do not have enough time to go over all that we saw, did, or ate, here are the highlights:
One thing that struck me while in Japan is how good everything is. Now I know that sounds exceptionally simplistic and naïve but hear me out. In the US, our culture claims to value hard work, cleanliness, honesty, kindness, nature, intelligence, and reverence among other things. In Japan, in general, you will find all of those things to be the norm. You could be quietly working on your laptop in a café, walk outside to central Tokyo, take a deep breath of cool, clean smelling air, and return to your seat to find your laptop untouched. How long would that laptop last in a Starbucks here I wonder, and have you ever smelled the air in the SF Bay Area? If you are lost you need only ask a local shop owner or passerby and they will do their best to direct you to if not take you to your location. We never found ourselves feeling scared or worried of anyone at any point in Japan. Japan is in many ways what American culture aspires to be. And yet Japan is known for having an exceptionally high suicide rate. What could be the snake in paradise?
Less than 3% of Japanese is Christian. That 3% trying to convert the whole nation would be like San Diego triying to convert the whole population of California! Japan is a land of blessings where the Source of all blessings is unknown; a land of hard work without the joy of pleasing the Master; a single race nation without the unity of being one with the Body. Japan is a reminder that no matter how great our standards are, nor how often we meet them; nothing is greater than life with God, now and forever. Of all the things I learned and experienced on my trip, nothing is more important than that.