It's been a long time since I've visited this site. Many things have changed. Life has been a bit of a whirlwind in recent years, so I haven't had as much time to sit down and ponder the universe.
I live in Japan now - that's exciting! After two years in China, I went back home for a bit, worked part-time at a call center for a bit (a terrible yet enlightening experience), and then after the notoriously long interview process finally landed a job in Japan teaching at a public high school. (It's a government position, and I guess they're paranoid?) It's already been a year and a half since I came here, and I've enjoyed it a lot.
I think I've matured quite a bit, and I've made many friends. It's cringe-y to think of how antisocial I used to be now that I'm in a much healthier headspace and just... you know, thriving as a stable adult.
...I've also met some crazies. ...Well, I'm always meeting crazies. But this time they were so nice, and yet so insane.
A Buddhist cult tried to recruit me.
There was a knock on my door in the afternoon, but I thought it was the NHK man. He's the guy who comes to collect money for the state TV channels, but I don't have a TV so I try to avoid him. I discovered too late that a cult was out proselytizing in the neighborhood.
That night, I went out to get groceries from the neighborhood supermarket. As I was walking past a convenience store, a middle-aged woman called out to me. I had been listening to music, but I removed the earbuds because she looked so friendly and disarming. I thought she might need help, perhaps directions, and I was ready to do my best even with my limited Japanese.
Nnnnnope. It was a cult. Like the Buddhist version of Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons.
Once I realized this, I tried to escape by saying "Oh, my Japanese is pretty bad!" Nnnnnnope. Her friend came over with a translation sheet! So it was two nice neighborhood aunties chatting and gossiping and also talking about the end days in that cheerful, almost spritely tone, you know?
They believed that Buddha brought enlightenment to people (fairly standard), but he said his saving of the world would only last 2000 years (what?). After that, humanity would be met with a period of disasters and would destroy itself unless another prophet was found and the people prayed salvation into existence!
That prophet was some Japanese monk from the 1200s. Humanity was saved for a while once they found him. However, natural disasters are on the rise again! (Apparently they don't understand global warming?) WE MUST PRAY!
In the end, they wanted me to get into their car right then and there and run off to a Buddhist retreat where we would pray the natural disasters and foreign missile strikes away. They honestly believed that the lotus sutra, when chanted by enough people with enough conviction, would manifest into some sort of protective energy dome that would save Japan from North Korean missiles.
PRAY THE GAY MISSILES AWAY!