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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Our first Sunday in Japan

by Nathan Crum

Today our team had the privilege to attend the Nakameguro church in Tokyo. It was a beautiful church that is built into 4 story building with the sanctuary being on the third floor. The first floor has glass walls going around it on two sides so that the occasional worship meeting held there might be visible to passer bys who have no idea what Christians do in a church. The worship in the church was beautiful to listen to but with all the words being in Japanese characters it’s kind of hard to sing along. We were also witness to an event that hasn’t happened before in the 30 years the Zirkels have lived here and attended the church. At the end of the service the pastor was interrupted by a couple radical German ladies that were trying to preach impending judgment and death on the Japanese as a people at which point they were quickly, yet kindly, escorted out the door and informed that it’s illegal to purposefully interrupt a religious service in Japan.

After all the excitement in the church that morning we ate lunch and then made our way over to the Meiji Shinto shrine. It was a section of Tokyo almost like a park with broad gravel paths and enveloped by towering trees and spiraling branches. 

Outside of the gate to the shrine.
Here we were able to observe and understand a little of Japan’s religious past and influences on today’s culture and beliefs. Where in the USA many of our large events like weddings and child dedications are held in churches by religious and non-religious people; the Japanese would have similar events at Shinto or Buddhist shrines like the wedding we were fortunate enough to witness today. It was a wonderful day for experiencing Japan and getting footage for the videos being worked on. At the end of the day we sat with Holly and the Zirkels and had a great discussion about youth in the church and how there is a great need for people that can connect to those youth. Not only is there a need to draw them in but retaining a group that are committed to the church and growing spiritually. This task is will be increasingly hard with the ever widening disconnect between the very traditional adults and the ever uncertain and western influenced youth that are living here today.

Nathan Crum enjoys a new Fanta flavor - Melon

This picture is from day one at about 5AM as we waited for our flight from Lexington.

I love the upload speed here in Japan!  12 MB/sec!  At that rate, we will try to post a daily video here from now on.  The video below is of Nathan Crum in the train on the way to the Zirkles house in Tokyo.  We were mainly testing camera settings, but I thought that you may enjoy seeing what we saw out the train window just outside of Tokyo when we first arrived in Japan.

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