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.
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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Hello family and friends! Grace and peace to you from God our father. Emi here. We’ve been posting other topics on the blog so I’m sure you’re curious to know what Erich and I have been up to. Thankfully, we have been doing way better compared to the last update in February. I. YMCA and […]
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 […]
Hello friends! Thank you for your prayers for our safe trip – we’ve made it to Japan! You may be wondering what Erich and I have been up to since landing. Our last post was over a month ago! It’s been a crazy past two weeks—let me tell you the highlights of our experience. こんにちは！たくさんの祈りを感謝します。無事に日本に着きました！日本に着いてからのエリックと私の状況についてアップデートしたいと思います。 Table […]
I was looking forward to being sick. Lacking time management skills and general self-control, sickness (when it’s not completely debilitating) affords me an excuse to skip some work, stop worrying and think. It also provides me ample time to read and write, two things that consistently escape me during the regular hustle-bustle. It’s been […]