Showing posts from October, 2010

St Luke's Hospital Chapel, Tokyo

This morning, I went to Mass at the Anglican chapel of St Luke's International Hospital in Tsukiji, near the famous fish market.  The chapel was built in the 1920s in Gothic style with clear Oxford Movement influences.  It boasts a fine choir and organ and a Catholic liturgical sensibility.  The blessed sacrament is reserved in a tabernacle on the High Altar, which seems to be fairly rare in Japanese Anglican churches.
The Chaplain, Fr Kevin Seaver, is a friendly Anglo-Catholic American priested a few years ago.  He has lived in Japan for some 25 years now. 
All services are in Japanese, but the liturgy is familiar enough for a non-speaker to follow what is going on, and the Sunday morning Eucharist is open to all. 
The congregation and Fr Kevin were very welcoming, and I would highly recommend the church to any visitors or residents in Tokyo, especially those longing for a traditional church environment.

Dharma talk at Tsukiji

Haseo Daien of Tōzenji gave a talk which helpfully summarised the conceptual differences between Christian theology and Shinran's thought as he sees them, with the aim of correcting potential misunderstandings by Westerners.

BBC News: Village cobbles too dangerous

If you needed any further confirmation that Britain has turned into a nation of wets, here it is.  Perhaps they should mount fluorescent disclaimers on every street corner to warn visitors that they walk the pavements at their own risk.  It would be risible if it were not so plausible, much like the compulsory 'no smoking' signs the Labour government made us fasten to the pillars inside mediaeval churches. 
No wonder people won't walk the way of the Cross, if they're even afraid of tripping on cobbles...

** Village cobbles 'too dangerous' **
A medieval Somerset village could lose its cobbled paths because they are feared to be too dangerous.
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Kamakura photos online

Click here for the gallery.

Priorities, priorities: John 12.1-11 and the Catholic movement

“Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?”: a common criticism of my beloved Catholic tradition: and not unjust. We all know parishes more bothered about maniples than mission, popery than poverty, canopies than charity. I once heard about a PCC where the parish charitable effort was dismissed in five seconds so that they could talk for fifteen minutes about new candlesticks for the High Altar. Parishes get pricey: the choir fee, the statues, the incense, the robes. “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?”

Yasukuni Jinja: Revisionism by omission

"When the war ended, the colonial powers returned to their colonies.  But those whose desire for independence had been awakened were no longer the obedient servants of their colonizers... the colonizers who had been defeated by Japan in the early stages of the Greater East Asia War could no longer suppress with military might the ideals that Japan had advanced after the First World War but had subsequently been rejected - racial equality."
This final panel at the Yasukuni Shrine Museum sums up its take on Japan's role in WW2: the Japanese invaded Asian nations not for the sake of expansion or national gain, but for the sake of racial equality.  They were the good guys, innocent victims of Western expansionism. 

Dancing dragons and fascists - a typical Tokyo Sunday

Japan's still full of surprises. Wandering through Shinjuku yesterday, one of Tokyo's busiest districts, I came across a traditional music group playing drum-'n'-flute out of the back of a van while a man in an old-school dragon outfit danced around snapping his wooden teeth at frightened children. Round the next corner, a fascist rally was blaring out old marching tunes from their big black vans. I bought a pair of trousers from the Uniqlo there and caught the train home.