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Bowing

bowing

There's a whole lot of "bowing" done here in Japan. You bow for every greeting--good morning, good afternoon, good-bye. Drivers are constantly bowing behind the wheel to say "I'm sorry" or "thank you" to pedestrians. I find myself bowing as I ride my bike to apologize whenever I'm in the way, etc. When they open the gate of Ellie's kindergarten, the "Enchoo sensei", who is like the headmaster, stands at the gate, and each child before walking through must bow to him with a morning greeting, "ohayoo gozaimasu!" Then the child will go to his or her classroom and do the same for the teacher. At dismissal, there's a line that they form so that they can bow to the teacher to say, "sayoonara" before leaving.

This has been quite baffling to our kids, especially for Ellie, who HAS to go through the daily bowing routine at school. It was especially strange after having been taught though our family BIble story times that we never, ever, bow down to anyone except for our Lord Jesus. Of course they realize that bowing in worship is totally different from this cultural bowing thing. They also know that the wrong kind of bowing is done here as well in that many Japanese do bow down in worship to their ancestors and other false gods.

Ellie came home a couple of days ago saying that she talked to one of her friends. Ellie asked, "Do you worship and praise statues? We worship Jesus." Even though Ellie said all this in English, and the other girl had no clue what was being said, I still thought it was very cute that Ellie has the heart of a missionary. Go girl!

Zack's Language Study

On a different subject, we have been very proud of Zack for being such an eager learner of the Japanese language. He has Japanese class 3 times a week, and is already learning how to read a lot of the alphabet. It has been a delight to watch him and listen to him use as many words as he can around the house. Even tonight as he was in the bathroom, we heard him "reading" the spray bottle as he sounded out all the ones he had learned:)

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Jeff's column offers a mix of reflections on leadership and fatherhood, as well as news from Asian Access.

 

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