• 30 . 04 . 04
  • I was approached by Mormons today. This was one of my less frustrating interactions with a church.

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As a Gaijin, Japanese people avoid speaking to me because they assume, correctly, that I couldn’t hold a conversation with them, and in any case what would they want to talk about? – The weather? Or ask me for directions? So I was surprised today when a Japanese man actually approached and began speaking to me. Naturally, I could only really get a couple of words because he spoke quickly, so when I asked him to repeat himself a bit slower I was surprised when he did it in American English. It turns out that he was Hawaiian with Japanese parents, and a regular trick of his was to speak to Gaijin and pretend he was Japanese. He was a pretty funny guy and had been living in Japan for a couple of years.

He was only about 25, so I should have guessed his job from the badge he was wearing which said “Elder Patterson”. However, it wasn’t until he asked me about my beliefs that I realised he was a minister, or as it turns out, a Mormon missionary. Many of you already know my thoughts on missionaries, – religion is a personal thing, and in my opinion you shouldn’t have to be cajoled into ’seeing the light’. In fact he seemed to be a pretty bad missionary as he wasn’t nearly pushy enough, only inquiring if I knew of the Church and its teachings. He seemed happy that I knew a little of the Church’s history (Mr Magor, my history GCSE teacher would be proud) and didn’t push me when I said I respected them but didn’t believe. Maybe he could sense my cynicism for all things religious from the start. We chatted for about 10 or 15 minutes and he was a thoroughly nice bloke. The worst thing I can say about him is that he made me miss my bus, but it was a nice day anyway and another one came two minutes later.

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