And I’m not just in Japan randomly, I’m actually safely unpacking at the place I’m staying this first two weeks, having made it here without any getting-lost moments!
Now, this is an achievement that I can only really put down to God, as the Tokyo train/bus system makes the London Underground feel like a doddle, and because I wasn’t connecting at any of the main stations, it meant reading a fare amount of kanji on the way.
But I am here.
Today’s achievements have also included sending my luggage by delivery service so I didn’t have to manoeuvre my huge suitcase on busy trains (although it hasn’t actually arrived yet, so maybe I shouldn’t speak too soon ;)), and successfully renting a Japanese mobile phone for the 6 weeks I’m here. This means that I’m at least easily contactable by people in country! If you had witnessed me, trying to explain what I wanted in a phone in my very limited Japanese, to a poor boy who spoke about two words of English, you would have laughed! Probably quite hard. But we got there in the end… And the phone works!!
So I am here. Smack bang in the centre of Shinjuku, a 5 minute walk from Takadanobaba station, in what feels like is the perfect place to pray over this crazy-yet-wonderful city.
To put some of the crazier stuff you see in context, I’m in a really safe part of town. The place I’m staying doesn’t even lock the front door. Ever. But yet, I passed 4 shops advertising services that would fall into the ‘sexual exploitation’ bracket on my brief walk from the train. I can’t tell you how much it breaks my heart to be surrounded by thousands of people on these busy streets, and know that so few of them have even heard the Gospel. This country needs the prayers of the saints, our prayers, to rise like incense. So much.
I just had a lovely introductory chat with the lady who now feels like my host-Mum. She was showing me round the house and along with the practicalities was telling me a bit about Shinto and how I needed to go and visit her favourite shrine whilst I am here. She said many of the Buddhist temples are busy and commercial, but that I will find peace at this shrine.
She was so convinced.
That everyone would want the peace that could be found there.
But as the incense from that shrine and so many others physically represents the multitudes trying to find some kind of peace through tradition or location or their own works, our prayers need to rise as the real incense, that we pray that true Peace will be known.
Because there is real and unshaking peace far beyond the counterfeit of that shrine, in the reigning Prince of Peace, who is Jesus.
Now, I’m going to go and explore some more before I hit my bed at a reasonably early time to avoid some jet-lag effects.
I don’t have any meetings these first two days so it gives me a good chance to get my head around the trains I’m going to need to get in order to meet people, commute to Yokohama, Hamamatsu and all those other places on my list.
The WiFi here is grand so I’ll blog again soon.
Love to you all 🙂
P.S. It’s 29 degrees here today. Yup.