Nagoya is the third largest city in Japan with a metro area population of 9 million. We are located 300 kilometers, a 4 hour drive west of Tokyo. The city has become an industrial powerhouse and along with its neighboring city to the east, Toyota, is home to the world headquarters of the Toyota corporation.
The city is surrounded by mountains, but sits on a bay, making the climate hot and humid in summer and pretty mild in winter. The nearby mountains, however, provide a great place to flee the concrete landscape and revel in the beauty of nature. Being a south Alabama boy growing up on a coastal plain, the majesty of the mountains never fails to mesmerize me. In winter, we may get only one snowfall, but if we drive one hour north into the mountains, we can be surrounded by a dramatic white snow-scape.
The big cities in Japan have a general stereotype. Tokyo is big business, impersonal, and sometimes, artsy. Osaka is laid back with a sense of humor that becomes the subject of televised reality shows. Nagoya is seen as . . .traditional. That characteristic has a tremendous impact on church planting. To many, being Christian is being un-Japanese. The comfort and pride of following religious and cultural traditions often inhibit people from seriously considering Christianity. That’s why our church planting team has focused on the suburbs between Nagoya and Toyota. These towns are full of recently constructed neighborhoods with new residents who are disconnected from their home turf, and therefore a little more disconnected from the traditions and institutions that have bound them for generations. Recently, however, our team has begun to expand evangelistic efforts into Nagoya city as the Lord has provided opportunities.
Pray for our city! More to come as I have time to write!