By Ana Nguyen
The first time I walked into a Christian church, I was 15 years old.
So, my family are Buddhists. Though I was raised with the statue of Buddha in my house, and my parents practiced Buddhist traditions and praying methods, it wasn’t strictly ingrained into me. Though churches here can have a welcoming atmosphere, no matter the area one is in, I felt really uncomfortable walking into that church. Religion wasn’t a huge thing in my upbringing, and I felt like I was trespassing on someone’s house.
From “A Geek in Japan,” I learned religion is entwined with the culture and daily life of people in Japan compared to the U.S. In Japan, one can be Christian and still go to a Shinto shrine to make a wish. Religion in the U.S. stays within the church or home mainly, and yes, people practice their religion in their daily lives, but it’s not widely done. That’s compared to Japan where saying “itadakimasu” before eating is a habit to say thank you for the food, but it also stems from a religious practice similar to giving grace. That separation of religion and school or work sort of creates a barrier. It’s amazing that religions like Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, or Shinto can cross over one another in Japan, while here it stays separate.