Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ode to Quiet Shopping

There's a place in Japan I dread going. It sucks the breath of me when I know I must. No, it's not the dentist or even the immigration office (that is an experience, though). It's the large chain electronic store.

Visitors to Japan will quickly notice that quiet shopping is hard to come by in Japan. The worst "offenders" by far are electronic stores. It seems that each store has its own unique theme song promoting it's outstanding prices, great service, thoughtful employees, and so forth. The one I visited yesterday pumped out this information at 2 minute intervals to the tune of "My Eyes Have Seen the Glory."

These infomercials are blasted quite loudly and so repeatedly that one wonders how the employees are able to endure their workday. I suppose like the person living next to the railroad tracks that never hears trains anymore, one eventually grows acclimated to even this environment. Still, I can't believe it can be very psychologically or physically healthy to be exposed to the decibels and repetition. As for myself, I make a beeline for what I need (an ink cartridge, some batteries, an audio cable) and get out as soon as I can.

Lately I've that is a much quieter (and often cheaper) option. Now if only I could make the gas pump stop giving me instructions and promoting items to the Japanese pop tunes. That is a topic for another day.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Creamy Drink We Enjoy

I like this picture of Kaori, age 6. There she is sitting along the riverbank in Yamagata, sipping her Calpis (an uncarbonated dairy-based soft drink in Japan around long before Pepsi) with her brother, Ryuji. Never crossed her mind at the time that some 15 years later a foreigner would come along and -- for better or worse -- the adventure as a missionary wife would begin. Thankfully it turned out to be a foreigner who enjoys a cool Calpis with her now and then. We don't do much sitting along the riverbank these days, but at least the world is in color.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Life in Christ

I'm always moved beyond words when someone makes a decision for Christ. This past Sunday when a young woman and a small child placed their faith in Christ as their Savior, I again had the privilege of experiencing the Gospel anew. This is a big step for a Japanese seeker. It's said that the average Japanese takes seven years from their first encounter with Christianity, to their decision of faith. Our Heavenly Father waits patiently, planning the celebration party to welcome them home.

Lately the lyrics of a catchy song by a Christian Japanese musician have renewed me in the transforming depth of the Gospel. In her album "New Day" Asiah sings: "It's a new start, it's new life, it's a new heart, it's a new world, it's a new melody, it's a new day. I have been set free..."

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for beginning this change in the life of another Japanese.