Unusal Events 4

21 09 2007

For four years I had been praying for a family member to quit smoking.  I am not against smoking unless the smoker is one of my loved ones in which case I’m not at all happy with their habit.  Anyway I had been praying hard and had grown discouraged thinking when is this person ever going to quit, God please help them and so on.  Then one day we went to the theater and watched The Passion of the Christ. which in itself is a new post, however,  several days after the movie this person had stopped smoking cold turkey.  The  habit had definitely been broken too because to this day this person has absolutely no desire to smoke, whereas before they were really enthusiastic for a puff.

What happened?  I can only guess but Id encourage everyone to keep praying don’t give up because amazing things can happen.


September 14

19 09 2007

September 14 has come and gone so now priests can say a Tridentine Mass without permission from their bishop.  I saw that EWTN celebrated by having such a mass and airing it however I was out and unable to watch it.  I would like to attend one either in Tokyo or where my parents live, next time I visit, but after checking churches and even the diocese websites of those places I have found no mention of Latin mass times.  My local parish I attend has also made no mention of such a mass as of yet.  I will have to mention it to the priest next Sunday.  When I mentioned it to my Mom I was surprised that she didn’t sound very excited about a Latin mass.  I read a comment from her local bishop that most people asking about a Latin mass are young people which I completely understand as I am one of them.  The bishop however didn’t sound very enthusiastic about a latin mass in his comments which is sad.  I am guessing that it will be my generation who will embrace and attend a Latin mass not simply the elderly that many of my parents generation expect.

I have an earlier post about why I am interested in a Latin mass but to quickly sum it up.  I saw my first Latin mass on you tube, a mass from a couple of years ago in Paris.  I was awestruck and thought to myself now THAT is a mass.  It was more beautiful and reverent than any mass I had ever seen.  It was about God not about entertaining the parishioners or trying to be trendy.  Plus they used a lot of incense and I have always liked it and wished it was used at every mass, not simply at Christmas and Easter.


18 09 2007


In a country where around 99% of the population is not Christian Christian style weddings are very popular.   The setting in the above photo is pretty typical except that that wedding was in a hotel courtyard while many hotels have specially built chapels only for weddings.  Many hotels here offer wedding packages that include in the price the use of the chapel and (usually fake) minister, banquet, photographer, plus clothes rental for bride and groom.  Everything is in one building, highly choreographed, and unless you attend the so called after party with close friends and family  everything is over by around 6pm.  There is no dancing let alone late into the night unless there is dancing at the after party which I have never attended. 

From my own observations the ceremony is about 15-20 minutes long.  It is conducted in Japanese with a sprinkeling of English.  The English is not necessary but seemingly simply for show.  The minister is usually not an ordained or certified minister of any sort just a man hired by the hotel or agency.  A foreign caucasian English speaking clean cut type is popular and gets paid around 10 000 yen an hour (about $100US) and with several weddings on a good weekend he can make a lot of side money from his usual day job.  The music is often on an electric keyboard so they can even play bells ringing, and there may or may not be a few singers.  Some ceremonies even have a reading from the Bible usually Corintheans  about love.  The minister may even use phrases like “may the Lord Jesus bless you.”  I haven’t witnessed any “do you take” vows  rather a few simple lines, a ring exchange and a kiss.  Flower petals may or may not be thrown after.  From my experience it is always flower petals thrown not confetti or rice.  The real marriage is considered to have taken place when  all the forms are filled out and taken to city hall which may be on a different day.  If people choose to have no ceremony and just submit forms there is no civil ceremony conducted by a justice of the peace or other such official the couple simply hand over the forms. 

Yes many couples these days exchange and wear wedding rings but even just a generation before their parents did not have the custom.  It simply wasn’t part of Japanese culture.  Most likely the parents were married in a Shinto ceremony where the marriage is sealed by taking three sips of sake and no kiss as far as I know.  I will go slightly off topic but Japan is a country where spouses or couples rarely show affection for each other in public.  Holding hands especially among young people yes but that is pretty much it.  You will see men reading very lewd porn comics though right there on the train and no one sems bothered yet if a loving couple were to part or greet each other with a kiss even on the cheek there would be shocked looks.  So for many couples their wedding kiss may be their first and last in public.

My own guess as to why Western Christian style weddings are popular over the traditional Shinto weddings is for one it’s fashionable, and two it’s cheaper than a Shinto wedding.  I say Christian style because I don’t, and the Japanese I’ve talked to don’t consider it to be a real Protestant or Catholic wedding.  The Shinto wedding isn’t a style but a real ceremony of that religion.  There are no pre marriage classes for any type of wedding I mentioned such as the Pre Cana classes in the Catholic church. 

Shigeki Chiba

12 09 2007

I was looking for articles on Mother Teresa & Japan and came across this wonderful story with the headline  Converted by movie and Mother Teresa: Shigeki Chiba, Japanese documentary maker http://www.catholicweekly.com.au/01/may/27/story_11.html

Thank You Readers

12 09 2007

I don’t really pay attention to my blog stats like number of visits because reader volumn is not why Im doing this.  I did check the stats today though and it seems I have a small but loyal number of readers.  Yay!  Though you may be few Im so happy that people are actually reading my blog since it is a rather specialized subject in a way. In another way though the one billion Catholics on this earth are called to live their faith daily and thats what I really try to do so my blog isnt so special in that aspect just the location is kind of different.

So thank you readers I hope you like it here. 

Unusual Events 3

10 09 2007

One summer a friend and I were to take a night flight to Paris from Narita.  I was able to arrive at Narita earlier in the day than my friend so I had time to kill while waiting for my friend to show up.  As I was waiting the weather outside was getting worse, and while I was sitting in a massaggin chair with an outside view I saw heavy rain and lightening so I prayed that my friend’s train would not be stopped and that the friend would make it to the airport on time to catch the flight since there would be no more flights that day.

I got a call on my cellphone from my friend saying their train had stopped and that they were trying to catch a taxi.  Now there are several points here.  One Narita airport is one hour or so away from Tokyo, so there aren’t that many taxis at the various smaller stops along the way.  Two if the train stopped that means a bunch of people want to get a taxi, so that combined with the other people who need one because of the rain and you see how slim the odds start to get.

So my friend had phoned me and said the train had stopped very close to a station and was now trying to get a taxi.  Now I really started to pray  because I knew how hard it would be to get a taxi.  Some time passed and my friend called again this time from a cab!  Oh I was so happy because my friend had gone down the road a bit from the station (and the long waiting line for the next taxi) and caught a cab that was headed for the station.  Usually people dont hail taxis in Japan people wait at taxi stands, so my friend was lucky that the only cab in sight actually stopped.

My friend arrived at the airport in time, we checked in for our flight and had a great trip.  All thanks to a little divine assistance I think.

Unusual Events 2

7 09 2007

One the same day, just minutes before the story in unusual events 1 took place I had another thing happen to me.    As I said it was my first day of work at a new job so before finding my way to a new school I had to find my way out of an unfamiliar and large train station at rush hour.  I was standing on the train platform looking at my map and an exit map of the station trying to figure out which one of the many exits I was to find when suddenly a young woman stopped and offered to help.  She spoke little English and I spoke little Japanese.  I showed her my map and without saying  a word she motioned for me to follow her and she then lead me through the maze of the station to my correct exit.  I said some very appreciative thank yous and  went on my way.

For a complete stranger to help someone like that  young woman helped me in a rush hour train station is very unlikely but she appeared and helped all without my asking.  Without her who knows how long it would have taken me to find my way. Same goes for the preceding story about running into my coworker.  I think that these events had some divine help of course I have no way to know for certain but when I was in great need help appeared.