Monday, January 4, 2010

Japan the Land of "Can't"

Japan is a land where people are only given one chance. The population density creates a lot of competition to get into good high schools, colleges, companies, etc. Because the number of people competing is so great when someone fails and must start over again it is seen as tragic. Tragic enough for many people to take their own lives.
Because of this the word, "can" is a critical word often used in the negative as a warning. "That can't be done." I hear it a lot. Japanese people hear it a lot. 10 years ago when I was living in Tokyo one day I met this group of foreigners walking down the street in Kunitachi. They asked me some questions about the area and then invited me to dinner. They just happened to be executives from CitiBank. They were setting up the Japanese division and were looking for a place to put their Japan headquarters. They complained to me about hearing the word "can't" a lot from their Japanese management.
My calling in Japan is too try. Yes, I must listen to the all the "can't"s but in the end I must try. Yes, everyone before me has failed in the eyes of most of Japanese society. Everyone who has brought the gospel to Japan has found they carried an unwanted message. But regardless, I am called to try.