First meal in Japan

We finally arrived late last night after 30 hours of straight travel. Thanks for all the prayers. Wifi is hard to find, but we’ll update when we can! This is our first lunch – udon!

We Have A Place to Stay!

Thank you for praying! We have gotten a free place to stay on Sunday night and a free ride to the airport! We get to see my (Matt) old roommate and spend time with him before we take off. Add that to your list of answered prayers :) We’ll keep pushing little updates like this to the site when we can all throughout the next month!

Prayer Request

We would like to ask for prayer as we prepare for our trip. We are beginning to feel mentally under attack from the enemy and would appreciate your prayers and encouragement.

Persecution in Japan

I received an email from a missionary friend of mine this morning and I thought I would share a portion of it here. He wrote: 

Mr. Manabe, we believe, has trusted the Savior, but now is being called to ‘bear his own cross.’ He is being pressured by the his family and neighbors to be involved in the local shrine. His family has now told them they hate Christianity. He is standing firm though. It must be tough for him. Please pray that the grace of Christ would abound to him. Please pray that he will be baptized October 31.

This is an example of the cultural pressure believers face in Japan. Although there is no legal recourse for becoming Christian, there is loads of societal pressure. Please pray for Mr. Manabe to have strength to stand in this time of trial. It’s never fun to feel alone, and I feel like that is one of the biggest lies that Satan whispers in Japan.

Free Online/iPhone Japanese Bible

Finding a Japanese Bible that’s not on paper is really hard. Even finding on that IS on paper is hard if you’re not in Japan. But I stumbled across a site the other day from a Pastor’s twitter feed and noticed that the site had a Bible app for the iPhone. I already have a great Bible on my iPhone, but I figured “hey, it’s free. Why not check it out?” (more…)

inter // states (Tokyo time lapse)

This is such a cool time lapse. My favorite part is the planes near the end. Very cool! I know Japan can be reached through music and movies.

Giant Salamanders Helped to Spawn

This is really cool! Okayama is about an hour North of Takamatsu and it’s where many of our friends live. We’re hoping to visit when we go later this month. Maybe we’ll see some giant salamanders!

One thing to take notice of is the Japanese attitude towards both advancing and preserving nature. We often saw many trees covered in protective ropes and barriers in order to help them survive. I think it’s a great thing to be conscious of nature. Because they are so limited for land, I think it drives the Japanese to be more cautious than they otherwise would be.

Anger simmers over Okinawa base burden – BBC

High fences with “Keep out” signs make it clear that these areas are off limits to Okinawans.

The huge April rally was held. The Okinawan prefectural assembly unanimously backed a letter demanding the removal of the base off the island. Seventeen thousand people formed a human chain around Futenma.

But – after intense US pressure – Mr Hatoyama back-tracked. In May he said he had been unable to find an alternative site for the base. His “heart-breaking conclusion” therefore, was that the relocation should go ahead as planned. Then he stepped down.

Naoya Iju, of the prefectural government, says that many people think that Okinawans are being treated as second-class citizens.

In April, 90,000 residents gathered to protest, in the biggest show of opposition for 15 years. This is an interesting read on the effects of America’s permanent bases in Japan. We were hearing about this last year from multiple sources and in the news. This article brings up the very touchy issue that many Okinawans feel like the Japanese government’s scapegoat. That their voices have been ignored for centuries and that they alone bear the burden of housing the foreign base.

Former yakuza Tatsuya Shindo turns to God via Japan Today

…From the age of 20, Shindo peddled stimulants in and around Tokyo for a gangster family under the nationwide Sumiyoshi-kai yakuza syndicate. After several stints in jail, he decided to start offering something else entirely: the gospel…

This is an encouraging read! Those tattoos you see are not just part of pop culture in Japan. People with tattoos are outcasts from society and generally signify gang membership. I’d love to talk with this guy.

Japanese Resort Caters to Men with Virtual Girlfriends

File this one under “only in Japan”: A beach town near Tokyo has begun catering to a specific segment of young men, ones who play the game Love Plus and have a strong desire to take their virtual “girlfriends” from this game on a romantic holiday in the real world.

Love Plus is a typical dating sim game in which the protagonist, a high school boy, finds himself in a relationship with a young woman. He must work to maintain the relationship. Players can become deeply involved and engaged (no pun intended) with their virtual girlfriends, to the point that one young man even married his in a Tokyo ceremony last year.

The most recent version of the game, which came out June 24, also includes a “field trip,” created in partnership with the seaside town Atami. In 13 locations around the town, players can find 2D barcodes to scan and call up images of the young women in the game. The girls wear different clothing from their typical in-game looks. One hotel has gone as far as putting a barcode in its rooms, allowing players to see their “girlfriends” in a more private setting wearing summer kimonos.

What does this say about the desperation of men in Japan? Of course many people would not go for this type of relationship, but a rare few would and do. I think the desire is driven by the fear of real-life rejection, the desire for control, the lack of social skills, and a growth in the attitudes of women who seek to be self-sufficient and free of relationships.