Why Japanese is hard (or why we should send the gospel by fax)

Foreigners, especially westerners, often struggle to integrate in Japan. This is evidenced by the prevalence of “gaijin pubs” dotting Japanese cities, packed with white faces almost any night of the week. It’s a place where they can be themselves and talk to people who “get them.”

I’ve been on a journey recently exploring why we foreigners have such a hard time feeling at home in Japan. Some people have cited in-group/out-group mentality or simply “racism.” But while there’s plenty of xenophobia to go around in Japan, and certainly old prejudices don’t help foreigners feel at home, that’s certainly not all Japanese.

And while ingroup/outgroup can be part of the it, I think another huge component of the struggle is in a fundamental difference in communication.

Leaving Noah’s Ark

Some of our readers know that the building we moved into shortly after coming to Japan was called “Noah’s Ark.” Over the time we’ve resided in Noah’s Ark, I’ve taken an interest in the story of Noah, and we’ve seen some fun parallels between the biblical story and our own lives.

What we’ve learned from 18 months of simple church

In September 2015, Emi and I started out on a journey with a few close friends that has completely transformed how we look at church and Christian community. We’re still in the midst of it, so I can’t claim to be an expert on any of it, but I really want to share some of the things we’ve learned along the way and from watching other similar groups grow.

Why language learning is missions OR: Why I stopped waiting for the gift of tongues and just started studying the language

For those Americans who have had the experience of studying Japanese (or any foreign language), they can understand that is no easy task. Some would go so far to say that among the world’s most commonly spoken languages, there are no two tongues so different in grammar, form and use than English and Japanese. With […]

On Injuring Yourself in Japan

Super Speed Exactly three weeks ago, I was in a rush to change trains in the early morning hours when I lost my balance on a staircase. I was in quite the hurry to make the next train, so using my Flash-like supernatural speed, I attempted to use the last step of the staircase to change directions […]

After one year or: when it rains it pours

Yesterday marked one year to the day since Emi and I moved to Japan. And as if He were honoring this anniversary, God has been providing us with more and more chances to serve in the community and local church. True to the maxim, “when it rains, it pours,” it has been and seems that […]

The History of Christian Persecution in Japan: The 26 Martyrs of Nagasaki

It might surprise you to learn that in the late 16th century, Japan nearly became a Christian nation. We don’t normally do this, but my friend Cody discovered an excellent article on the history of Christian persecution in Japan that I felt I just needed to re-post. The article is a short read, considering that it spans from […]

Japanese Christianese: 200 Spiritual Vocabulary Words

While school stretches year round for me here in Japan, I’m thankful that the YMCA rewards our dedicated study with lengthy breaks between terms–breaks that enable to us to catch up on work, hobbies and do a little traveling. We have a some great photos from our trips we’ll put up in another post, but for […]

Prioritizing the Family of Christ

When I was a kid, during the summertime my Dad used to take the family camping or on day trips out to one of Michigan’s many lakes. We would bring the boat along and go tubing, swimming or just hang out and barbeque on the shore. On one of these occasions, we went out to Gun […]