August 6, 2016
Well there is it. I took my final exam yesterday, and I am leaving tomorrow. I cannot believe how far I have come since starting this program. My ability to communicate with and listen to Japanese has improved faster than I could ever imagine. Thank you to everyone who supported me during this time. It was difficult, but extremely rewarding.
So, anyway, let us talk about the last few weeks. One of the coolest things that I was able to do was explore an abandoned Japanese fort with my host mom. Because she is a Hakodate history expert, officials pretty much let her go wherever she wants. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Also, I presented my independent research project. While I learned lots of things about Japanese Catholics and the history of Japanese Catholicism, the most shocking discovery I made regards the current state of Catholicism in Japan. While it has a rich history and historically had many adherents, because of the persecution it experienced in the past, the atomic bombing of Nagasaki (the center of Catholicism in Japan), and the ravages of modernity and secularism, the Catholic population is dying out, especially in less-populated areas like Hakodate. It is truly a very sad thing. For example, Hakodate has three Catholic parishes but only two priests. Because of this, every Sunday, one of the parishes must go without Mass. I ask that everyone add to your intentions the areas of the world that lack liturgical resources. We often take for granted the rich and plentiful access we have to the Church in America and Europe. Hopefully, as the Church becomes prominent in the China and Africa, more and more place will be blessed with access to the sacraments.
I intend to write my final post while I am traveling over the next few weeks. I have decided that would give me a lot of organic interactions with Japanese people to write about next time. So there you have it. The next time I post, I should be somewhere in the south of Japan. see you all soon.
This blog site won’t let me upload any of my best pictures because the file size limit is too low! How unfortunate!