Ever since I was little, around age 3, I was fascinated by this far-away country I knew then as America. Soon I found out that they spoke a different language than my own, which is Japanese.
At age 13, I was first exposed to the English language in school as a mandatory curriculum. By then I was old enough to know that this was the language spoken in America. I was like a sponge, wanting to absorb everything there was to learn; to read, write, and speak English just like real Americans.
At around age 15, I discovered that the Bible was available both in Japanese and in English. After school, almost my every waking moment was spent reading the two versions of the Bible side by side. By doing so, not only did I increase my vocabulary of the English language but become immersed in the teachings of Christianity. I liked what I was learning. It opened my eyes to a world completely different from my own.
At age 19, I was accepted at one of the few Christian colleges in Japan and majored in English and American Literature.
At age 22, David and I met in Japan and were married. At age 23, David brought me to the U.S.A., which is predominantly based on the Judeo-Christian culture.
In any country, mother tongue is such a natural part of everyday living, so much so that it is difficult for most of us to stop and think how it is shaping our way of life.
Your first language reflects your culture. The difference in culture is especially stark when contrasting two different languages with zero common origins, such as between Japanese and English.
- There are those who claim that the Japanese language is uniquely its own and that there is no other language like Japanese. They dispute the assertion that the origin of Japanese is Chinese. It is an undeniable fact, however, that a part of written Japanese language uses Chinese characters. So, you be the judge.
- The origin of the English language, on the other hand, is straight forward; it is West Germanic.
Despite my extremely busy life, earlier this year, “something” drew me back to reading the Bible. The Bible App on my cell phone works quite well in that it automatically sends me a verse and a devotional each morning. Today, unlike in my teenage years, I read the Bible only in English.
Recently, it was brought to my attention that the original Bible was written in Greek. (I would have guessed Hebrew or Arabic because of who Jesus was and where He was born.) While researching on the Internet, I came upon an explanation as to why Christianity was created, which I found fascinating.
Coming from a country whose history goes way back to long Before Christ, and perhaps due to my cultural DNA, it is unfathomable that I could ever become a true Christian – albeit I was baptized at age 15, during the darkest days of my life. This statement is not meant to be disrespectful of Christianity, however. On the contrary, I take solace in knowing that among those who surround my small circle of loving family and friends, many are Christians. I know that most of them live by the Ten Commandments – or, at least, strive to do so. I know they are loving. I know I can reason with them. I know I can get along with them. And that’s good enough for me.
That “something” that drew me back to the Bible, I think, is a culmination of what has been happening in the United States of America and the rest of the world since 9/11. Granted, not all Christians are honorable people but, as a naturalized U.S. citizen, I am utterly offended when non-Christians behave in disrespectful manners to Christians – or to anyone, for that matter.
I’m not sure if you have been observing the same phenomenon as I have but, lately, some of the most devout Christians are former Muslims. Examples of prominent cases include, but not limited to, “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” by Nabeel Quresh; “Son of Hamas” by Mosab Hasan Yousef; and “Captive in Iran” by Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh. By converting, they are becoming infidels in the eyes of Islam. In other words, they are choosing to become Christians at the risk of being murdered by Muslims. These books are all page turners.
Christianity is at the core of Western civilization. Christianity is what helped abolish slavery in this country. Christianity is what helped create freedom of religion in this country. Christianity does not kill non-believers; in fact, Christianity teaches us to love our enemies. This is profound. I believe this concept is what drew these former-Muslim authors to turn to Christianity. This Christian teaching is in direct contrast to how Muslim extremists’ children are being brought up; i.e., to kill all infidels. This is at the core of terrorist activities around the world today.
Christianity is what made this country a magnet to which people from all over the world are drawn, including yours truly. Therefore, I expect to see this country to continue to be dominated by Christians.
As I write this blog, I’m enjoying Christmas piano music in the background. It helps calm my soul. I simply cherish my life in this beautiful country called the United States of America. The U.S.A. has always been my heaven on earth. Life is good.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!