After various Google and blog searches I found basically nothing about life as a foreigner and a Catholic in Japan. Yes there are tons of blogs about people’s trips here, their year or two as a teacher or student but that is pretty much it. No one ever really mentions their own religion in their time here, maybe many don’t practice a religion or become more interested in Buddhism or Shinto or sex. Since I couldn’t find anyone else talking about being a Catholic here I decided to do it and through this maybe someone can feel like they aren’t alone, and that it is possible to keep and even build upon your Catholicism here. Of course anyone is welcome to read irregardless of religion or nationality.
I should also mention that the majority of foreign Catholics here are from the Philippines, Brazil, Vietnam and not so called Western countries like the UK, Australia, the U.S and Canada. The Filipinos have their own very strong community and are usually the majority of people attending English mass which is fine however if you are almost the only Westerner it might feel a little lonely in that you may not be able to relate to people from other cultures as well as you would from your own. Don’t stop going to mass though even if its in Japanese because you can hear the readings and homily on places like EWTN. The main thing you need is the Eucharist and if you want to go but cant find a priest to confess to in English you can contritely say an act of contrition and make an honest vow to go to confession at the next opportunity. There is an official church document that states this and you should be able to find by googling it.
The Eucharist is very important as is confession of course because for me when I finally went to confession and could happily go to communion it made life a heck of a lot easier. I felt more peaceful, able to deal with things better, I didn’t feel so angry at Japan and so on. So go to confession and communion!
In future posts I plan to talk about things like going to Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, which are very common sightseeing spots, but also less common encounters like going to someones house where they have a butsudan or Buddhist altar to the ancestors that guests may be expected to offer a brief prayer at.