It’s Monday and today is our last full day in Japan. Our big event for today was to visit the language school in Tokyo at which Jim studied two years of Japanese. The school is an hour train ride one way with connections and walking.

So we boarded our train and made our way into Tokyo. We got off at the station in Shinjuku and had to walk. A lot of the walking was air conditioned and underneath the city. We walked for what seemed like 20 minutes underground. We made our way above ground and Jim decided to take us to a book store since we still had a lot of time before our appointment with the language school. The book store was seven stories tall! We took the stairs up to the sixth floor to the language study section. Jim showed us what Japanese curriculum the language school uses and we got to see a lot of Japanese books that we can’t read.

The shock of not being able to read books and signs or understand anything anyone is saying has really taught me that learning Japanese is important. Some people seem to think that English is all you need here since it is taught in secondary schools. It’s obvious that those people haven’t lived among the Japanese for any extended amount of time. English study here is equivalent to Spanish study in the USA. People may know broken Japan-English for a few years during their studies but loose the language since it’s never used here. I’ve also heard from several people that English doesn’t reach the heart of the Japanese people. The flow and structure of thought and logic is just so drastically different between the Japanese and English languages. Japanese think in pictures and symbols, while we English speakers think abstractly. If we come here as career missionaries we need to learn Japanese and teach from Japanese Bibles. I’ve heard it said from missionaries here that the first 30 years of Japanese study are the hardest.

The language school tour went well. One of the staff members took an hour out of his busy day to show us around the school. We got to see classes currently in session and tour the building. The school is expensive but it is challenging. People come from all over the world with many different native languages to go to this school. The classes are taught entirely in Japanese and there is no English used in class. The class sizes are somewhat small. I think this is an environment that would be good for Jenelle and I to learn in. The school teaches up to a Jr. High Japanese proficiency. If you need to learn Japanese at deeper levels than that you need to go to a Japanese University. Most of the BBFI missionaries don’t go beyond a Jr. High level of the language in formal study.

After the language school tour we took the train back home and had our last dinner with Jim and Amy Smith. We’ve really grown attached to them during our trip here. Amy cooked a very good Japanese meal and we appreciated the fellowship with their family. Later in the evening we had good discussion about the possibility of us coming back to Japan to study Japanese and intern at Wakaba Church under Jim’s leadership. Please pray for us regarding this opportunity.

Tomorrow we come back to the USA!