Where I come from, posing in front of the mirror to check out your muscles is something you do when no one is looking. And if someone catches you out, you quickly pretend you are fixing your clothes or something. In Japan this doesn’t seem to carry the same weight of embarrassment. I’ve seen guys flexing their pecs in the middle of an onsen bath and blatantly pulling an Incredible Hulk in front of a gym mirror.
Actually, if anything is your ‘thing’ it is quite acceptable to practice that in public. I’ve seen guys walking down main street with nothing out of the ordinary going on, to stop mid stride and assume a golfing position and practice their shot before walking on. Or, one young guy who I used to see on my commute, whipping out Michael Jackson-style dance moves as he walked. People love their hobbies here, and their passion and dedication to their chosen hobby is quite visible. I’d really love to try breaking into a mock judo bout whilst waiting for the green light to cross the road. But as a foreigner, I just couldn’t get away with it—I get stared at enough already.
Back to the gym. The gym craze is starting to hit Japan, and the younger generation, at least, are after that ripped body. As someone in his thirties with two children, I’m in a constant battle against getting that Dad bod, so I go to a local gym in my city. As well as keeping me under the 100 kg weight category, it’s given me opportunities to have conversations about life over meals with other guys.
Through hobbies I believe you have a very natural place to share your life and faith with people. That goes for any country you live in. Introducing people to Jesus doesn’t have to be in a formal occasion. So why not try it out?
By John, an OMF missionary
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray that Christians around the world would seek ways to natural ways to share their life and faith with others.
- Pray that missionaries in Japan would find ways to connect with people.
- Pray that many Japanese men will come to know Jesus.