Why I Am Going to Japan

Sapporo. Source: Sapporo Convention Bureau.

I will be spending the next six weeks in Japan. The first four weeks I will be studying Japanese at the OMF centre in Sapporo, then I will have two weeks of independent travel with a rail pass. The trip was made possible through a combination of a year’s work tutoring, the Queen’s summer school bursary and generous support from family.

I have studied Japanese as a night class since sixth form. My reading and writing (well, typing) isn’t bad but my conversation skills are pants. It’s hard enough doing conversation in English! That is why I decided the only way to properly make progress is to put myself in a situation where I am forced to speak Japanese in everyday life.

Hikikomori. Source: European Journal of Internal Medicine

I’ve always had an interest in Japan since primary school. When growing up I watched Pokémon instead of Disney, and things took off from there. Then, when I became a Christian, I considered how I could use my interest in a meaningful way. When I first went to Japan with family three years ago I really liked visiting the churches and seeing the good work they do. I am particularly interested in the pastoral care side of things, and Japan suffers from many social issues that I have personally experienced, such as depression and social isolation. In Japan young people who withdraw from society are called ‘hikikomori’, and there is evidence that a lot of these people have undiagnosed autism. I wonder if the church can help reach out to those that society forgets, just like Jesus did.

However I am no help to anyone if I can’t speak Japanese!

There are other perks of being in Japan, of course. Like rabbit cafes. And Rabbit Island. And the Shimanami Kaido bikeway.

I would be deeply grateful if you could remember me in prayer. Language learning inevitably means going outside of my comfort zone and making lots of mistakes, I will definitely need God’s help. Also pray that I would not be too homesick (and that my family won’t worry about me too much!).

I am also currently struggling with the side effects of my immune-suppressant medication for arthritis. It’s been really good with improving my quality of life, but face + little immune system = a lovely face full of cystic acne (acne is essentially a skin infection). The benefits still vastly outweigh the negatives, and cosmetic issues are insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but it is natural to be insecure about it. So please pray that it wouldn’t hold me back from making the most out of my trip.

More posts to follow! 😊

RABBITS 🙂 🙂 🙂 Okunoshima, aka Rabbit Island.

 

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4 thoughts on “Why I Am Going to Japan

  1. Thank you Erin, for your story, so far.
    You’ll be in my personal prayer life.
    I know the Lord will be with you and what you do for Him.
    He’ll never leave you or forsake you. JOSH 1v9, is the Lords word over your life, my sister.
    Know the power, freedom and liberty of the Holy Spirit be your portion when your away, in The Saviours name. George

  2. May you be greatly blessed in your weeks in Japan and your courage rewarded by the fulfillment of your dream.

  3. I’m excited to hear that you’re here in Japan! Welcome!

    Well done for stepping out of your comfort zone, too. The fact that you’re already expecting to make mistakes is a good start! If we aren’t prepared to make mistakes, we won’t learn very much!

    One lesson I had to learn at language school is that God will help you!
    This passage from Exodus 4 and Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush was a huge encouragement to me:
    ‘But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.’ Ex 4:10-12

    Trying to speak in Japanese naturally makes one slow of speech! But God made your mouth and He is with you.

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