|'China Town', Nagasaki|
|Kyoto. "Let us dicover the significance of birth and the joy of living"|
|Church of Our Lady, Nagasaki|
Soon afterwards Catholicism was banned for 250 years (sound familiar? - oh alright, the Japanese banned ALL Christianity), and there were sporadic further persecutions, but remarkably, when priests returned to Nagasaki in the late 19th century, a group of Christians whose faith had been hidden for generations came and presented themselves.
In the Cathedral in Fukuoka i met a young Japanese guy who has not (yet) become a Christian, but who has walked to Santiago more than once, and visited Marian shrines including Fatima and Medugorje. He kindly agreed to look after my bulky sleeping bag while i went to Nagasaki, and then wouldn't let me pay anything towards coffees and a great lunch when i came back, yesterday. Living in London from 2003-4, he had his picture taken with Arsene Wenger, who was coach of the Japanese football team before moving to Woolwich Arsenal. Not least as yesterday was St. James's day, patron of pilgrims, i was glad to be able to give him the excellent 'Dazer' dog deterrent, which i'd used successfully on a number of occasions.
There was sumo wrestling on the TV in the bus station in Nagasaki, including at least two European/American gentlemen, complete with amazing hair-cuts and generous beer-guts. Thank goodness there isn't a womens' version, (though frankly it wouldn't look much more ridiculous than womens' boxing or rugby). This however brings me to a much more serious matter. Baseball is a great game, but cricket, without the slightest shadow of a doubt, is at least as good. Yet, are cricket's governing bodies awake to this fact? China is the country that springs to mind, which could easily follow Korea and Japan down the "glorified rounders" route...
Here is St. Patrick's Breastplate;
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, and in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.