Ditch the KFC and spend Christmas with JC

by

Staff Writer

While a KFC bucket of wings and some strawberry cake may be a Japanese way to spend Christmas, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a more spiritual experience.

Attending a Christmas mass or service can be especially comforting for those who are homesick, and Tokyo is home to multiple churches that offer multilingual sermons.

The Tokyo Union Church (www.tokyounion.org) is an ecumenical congregation located in Shibuya Ward that will hold services on both Dec. 24 and 25. And Central Bible Church (www.chuo-seisho.org) in Toshima Ward will host a prayer service with an English interpretation on Dec. 20, a gospel service on Dec. 23 and a candle service on Dec. 24.

Those looking for something less solemn may want to check out Lifehouse Tokyo (tokyo.mylifehouse.com) in Roppongi, which is holding a Christmas Production on Dec. 13 (11 a.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7p.m.), a caroling service on Dec. 20 (11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.) – complete with after party – and a Christmas Eve Celebration on Dec. 24 (7:15 p.m.).

“We hope to be that, ‘home away from home,'” where people can come and find family,” says Lifehouse spokesperson Kaori Cajudo. “Our church congregation is 70% Japanese, and 30% internationals, and this goes a long way to creating a fun and welcoming atmosphere.”

Lifehouse has branches in Sapporo, Fukuoka, Sendai and throughout Kanagawa Prefecture and the Kansai region, so keep checking the website for other services.

If you’re searching for a place of worship in Osaka, check out Hope Chapel Church (www.hopeosaka.com), which will have a service followed by desserts on Dec. 24. There’s also J-House, which stands for “Jesus House” (www.jhouse.tv). It will hold services on Dec. 20 and 25, but asks that you sign up beforehand. Minoh International Church (www.minohchurch.org) will host a carol service and potluck dinner on Dec. 20 and a candlelight service on Dec. 24, and St. Agnes Church (www.nskk.org/kyoto/stagnes) will hold a 9 a.m. Christmas Day service in English.

In Nagoya, GraceCity Church (www.gracecity.jp) will hold an early Christmas prayer service on Dec. 13 and another service on Dec. 25. Mikokoro International Catholic Center (www.mikokoro.com) will hold both an English Christmas Eve (6 p.m.) and Christmas Day (10 a.m. and 3 p.m.) mass.

Most churches prefer a heads up in case they are preparing food for guests, so whichever place of worship you look into you may want to contact them ahead of time to be on the safe side.

  • batbrewer

    Those seeking a more spiritual Christmas could equally well try praying to their bucket of KFC wings and strawberry cake which, for all their nutritional faults, at least have the benefit of actually existing.

    • Just me

      lol, scrolled down to look for an intolerant atheist a-hole comment, and here it is, first comment, nice to know you neckbeards don’t disappoint.

      • batbrewer

        You’re welcome, Just You, and Merry Christmas. And you scrolled all the way down, not even bothering to read the good news, *just in case* there was a comment from an atheist! Jesus would be so proud of you. Please say hello to him next time you’re having some of that personal relationship thing that you guys do. x

      • Just me

        Uh oh! We have a #triggered atheist here, call the trilbymobile! And you’re right, the churches and people’s spirituality can’t possibly exist, what were we thinking? You must be a smart one! Quick now, time to show off and show the internet was an intelligent and well informed atheist you are (look at all those likes your getting, but I’m sure you’re no being Christianophobic purely for the likes, like other neckbeards do), but just remember to tip your fedora at the computer screen for good measure, oh, and always be sure to manspread on the train.

      • batbrewer

        Come, come, a little gentle ribbing about delusional fantasies is hardly the Spanish Inquisition, is it? And if you imagine that I somehow denied the existence of churches, you could try praying for a little divine assistance with your reading comprehension.

      • Just me

        Were you sure to tip your fedora after leaving that last comment? Instead of praying for something I don’t need, I’ll do the great service of praying that you’ll find yourself a woman, getting laid sure does take the bitterness and edge off of life and helps get rid of the rage people feel towards other people’s choices which don’t affect them whatsoever.

        Oh wait, God just told me that type of shameless woman “doesn’t exist.” Sad! Oh well, there’s always the fleshlight and internet porn. :D

      • batbrewer

        Says he at 1:40 a.m. Let me guess, you told the chicks you’d be right back after putting some damn atheist to rights on the Internet! Please say hello to them and to Jesus from me.

      • Just me

        Is this your way of imagining what I’d be doing with women in my company? It’s OK to live vicariously through me, this is the only way you can be stimulated after all ;)

      • Just me

        oh look, butthurt moderators deleting my comments. Shame shame.

      • batbrewer

        A veritable tragedy, indeed. Still, never mind, you and I are the only ones reading anyhow.

      • Shiki Byakko

        Are you aware that most people in Japan consider themselves as non-religious and that there is actually a larger population of atheists than of christians in Japan?
        What I find weird is that there is this Christian post in a Japanese publication.

      • Doubting Thomas

        I would guess that the majority of so-called Buddist-Shinto believers in Japan are actually atheists. In the US it’s easy to find hard evidence of what religious people actually believe, but in Japan there’s no evidence that it’s anything more than ritual and ceremony. Calling both Shinto and Islam religions is like calling both curling and motorcycle racing sports.

  • Meg Nakano

    St. Alban’s (across from Tokyo Tower) will be having Christmas Eve Services, 5pm family service, 7pm Eucharist (with sax!), 10pm late service, and 10:30 am Christmas Day service… all in English. I’m not sure why the Japan Times article missed us, but you don’t have to.. The Anglican/Episcopal congregation “actually exists”, and would be happy to see you!

  • zer0_0zor0

    If Christians were really spiritual they wouldn’t be trying to commericialize the holiday and overshadow Japanese traditions of this season.

    • Children Of Nephilim

      Christians aren’t trying to “overshadow” Japanese traditions, plus Christmas isn’t even a tradition in Japan, and you’re right, spending all your hard earned cash on gifts people don’t need while lining the pockets of greedy capitalists is a far better commercialization.

  • Al_Martinez

    I would love to ditch the hype surrounding this concocted–albeit old–holiday. If worshiping an idol to oneself within the confines of a structure deemed significant helps bring comfort to and makes one feel content, then by all means do it. If this activity does not bring harm to or disturb others of different beliefs, then how could I object? I think it is long past the time that Christmas return to its pre-commercialized, pre-Macy’s roots. But then it would be of no use to those who hype it in Japan. But if Christmas is about enjoying the warmth and enrichment of being together and reconnecting with family, then don’t ditch the KFC and Christmas cake served at a home gathering–a place where spirituality can also thrive.

  • Al_Martinez

    I would love to ditch the hype surrounding this concocted–albeit old–holiday. If worshiping an idol to oneself within the confines of a structure deemed significant helps bring comfort to and makes one feel content, then by all means do it. If this activity does not bring harm to or disturb others of different beliefs, then how could I object? I think it is long past the time that Christmas return to its pre-commercialized, pre-Macy’s roots. But then it would be of no use to those who hype it in Japan. But if Christmas is about enjoying the warmth and enrichment of being together and reconnecting with family, then don’t ditch the KFC and Christmas cake served at a home gathering–a place where spirituality can also thrive.

  • At Times Mistaken

    That is quite an oversight. I’m sure many Tokyo-area readers of Japan’s largest English-language news daily would be interested in that information. Hopefully the paper will see the error of its ways and make amends before it’s too late.

  • Shiki Byakko

    What I don’t understand is how this information is in a secular newspaper.

  • Firas Kraïem

    I do have a couple 女子中学生 in my acquaintances, but I fear my spending Christmas Eve with one of them could be misinterpreted.

  • def

    I find Santa more comforting than Baby Jesus.

  • def

    I find Santa more comforting than Baby Jesus.