John and Elaine Mehn

Archive for November, 2008

Japan’s Working Poor

November 14th, 2008 by John

Even though Japan is an advanced and prosperous nation there are the hidden human costs of progress.  The image of Japan, and one that the Japanese would love to project, is that this is a society with everything put together right.  One area that has been growing since the 1980’s is the number of people who are working but are just above the poverty line.  An article with a good example can be found in a Yahoo News article http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081026/ap_on_re_as/as_japan_working_poor_1/print;_ylt=Av.GTib1YUH7w5dh9iDkbzj9xg8F

One good friend of mine is a social worker in one large ward of Tokyo.  He has told me on and off over the last 20 years that the growing numbers of people on the financial ropes has been growing.  This is causing social and political problems.

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Surprised and Amazed – Nov 08

November 6th, 2008 by John

Amazed by the expected and surprised by the unexpected. That describes our last 2 ½ year adventure. We returned to Japan, packed our belongings and moved to the other side of Tokyo.

In a 6 month period, we sold our condo in the States, bought a house, moved into it, moved back to Japan, and moved to the other side of Tokyo. We said good-bye to our kids who stayed behind in the U.S., said good-bye to our Japanese friends and neighbors of 15 years, moved to a new neighborhood, and had it rain for the first week. No wonder Elaine began to wonder what we had done and why.

This whole adventure started just before our last Home Assignment. We were discussing what we would do when we returned to Japan. It was one of those moments when the words come out of my Mehn Machida Housemouth before the thought is in your head. Elaine said, “Why don’t we move to Machida.” John who hates change said, “Yes, why don’t we?” We looked at each other and thought what has just happened. It was God leading us to pack up and move so we moved! Following God is not always easy or comfortable but it is always the best.

Tokyo is still the largest city in the world and our new neighborhood still speaks Japanese but what an amazing difference. The community welcomed us not just to live among them but to live with them. Elaine started cooking and craft classes as an outreach ministry. Her one Read the rest of this entry »

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