If you listened to our latest episode of The Tangles Podcast, you probably know that I am soon headed to the land of Japan. Actually, within 24 hours of this article going live, I will be on a plane crossing the Pacific (God willing).
On a somewhat disconnected note (I promise it will make sense soon), I’ve also recently noticed a trend in my viewing habits this season: 6 of the 8 anime I am currently following follow Japanese school life. In fact, as I’ve perused my MyAnimeList profile, I’ve noted that many of my favorites come from this genre.
Now how do these previous two paragraphs connect? Quite simply, actually. For the three months I will be in Japan, I will be working as an intern for a Japanese university, assisting in English instruction, among many other things. The thing that I most love about school life anime, namely the the reflection of genuine Japanese culture (sugar coated and fictionalized, to be sure), is exactly what I will be experiencing firsthand.
Obviously I’ve been granted a somewhat rare opportunity to gain this experience, and definitely not one that many of our readers will experience, so how does this relate to you? This upcoming experience has brought me to the conclusion that for someone to have a true passion, that must have the passion to develop a holistic understanding of whatever the object of that passion is. For my roommate this past academic year, one of those passions was Star Wars, thus he was highly engrossed in many products of the Star Wars expanded universe. For me, that passion is Japanese culture, and one natural consequence of this is my desire to experience life in Japan as I shall be this summer.
However, this connection does not stop at the hobby-level, but it extends to anything that consumes someone’s life (and I mean that in the most positive way possible, for great things like family can consume much of your time). For Christians, the desire for a relationship with God and for a relationship with others of the same faith is something that is not just natural, the desire for it is nearly untamable and even encouraged! Thus, based on my assertions of understanding and experiencing the context of one’s passion, does it not follow that the same would be true of Christianity?
Unfortunately the passage of millennia has made it impossible to truly experience the culture of Biblical times, but just as it is impossible for my roommate to “experience” the galaxy that is so far, far away, we have the obligation (and often the natural inclination) to find the next-closest thing through reading. Reading the Bible, reading commentaries, reading extra-biblical historical documents. It all develops our more holistic understanding of Christianity.
We all are inclined to behave this way with what we love, regardless of your faith. Perhaps it is in light of this that you can evaluate your priorities. I mean, as I watch through Hibike! Euphonium, Ore Monogatari!!, Oregairu, Nisekoi, Nagato Yuk-chan no Shoushitsu, and Hello! Kiniro Mosaic, I look forward to bolstering my understanding with firsthand experience this summer.