- 15 . 06 . 05
Another religious encounter, though again a lack of hard-sell. And the strangest pamphlet ever.
Japanese Culture, religion
I’ve just finished speaking with a couple of Japanese Jehovah’s Witnesses, who knocked on my door out of the blue. Apparently they’re going round all the English speaking people in the area and encouraging them to get exercise. They must have known I haven’t played football for a while. They didn’t take up much of my time and were very friendly and softly-spoken in the manner of most Japanese people who are imposing on you in some way. In general I hate the idea of missionaries, but it’s difficult to be angry when it’s just a smiling Japanese man chatting with you.
Naturally suspicious, I wondered when the sermon was going to come, but thankfully, it didn’t. There’s an interesting approach to evangelism in this country. This is the second time I’ve been approached by missionaries in Japan, and yet neither time have they tried to encourage me to go to church, repent for my sins, or questioned my own, non-religious beliefs. As a result, I find that I’m actually reading the pamphlet that he left with me. There’s sure to be something in here that’ll annoy me… But, 10 minutes later, there isn’t. There are a few articles on the importance of exercise, how to choose a watch, the workings of the Dewey Decimal System and, somewhat arbitrarily, a guide to ‘Equestrian Ballet’, but it’s missing the “we are right, you are wrong” message that I so love. It’s not bad actually…
Certainly nothing as irritating as the wonderfully patronising (and slightly Orwellian) “You have lost your way, let us show your path” pamphlet I received in America a few years back from a well-intentioned, but incredibly self-righteous pastor in Maryland. The missionaries certainly do have a job to do here, though. Most Japanese count themselves as Christian, Buddhist and Shinto at varying points in their life, and yet for all intents and purposes they are more atheistic day-to-day than even Britons. Not counting them worshipping at the altar of Louis Vuitton, of course.