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A JAPANESE WELCOME MEETING From Word & Work March 1921

by Don Carlos Janes

These people are nothing if not polite. The congregations at Zoshigaya and Kamitomizaka have each given Bro. McCaleb and us public welcomes ; the Otsuka brethren have one appointed; and the boys of Zoshigaya Gakuin (school) gave us one Saturday night, Jan. 15. This, not being a church affair, differed considerably from the others and you may enjoy knowing what we enjoyed experiencing.

     The little chapel was freely decorated with hand-drawn pictures and paper draperies, and some ingenious mechanical devices had been worked out for the lights, etc. After the “Greeting of Beginning,” to quote the English version of the program, they sang “Home, Sweet Home” in Japanese and then the thirteenth of first Corinthians was read in the same tongue. Old Bro. Hashimoto prayed, and the “Sweet by and by” was followed by the welcome address, to which Bro. McCaleb and 1 responded. While preparation was being made to present “The Prodigal Son,” as the welcome play, two of the young men sang “From Greenland’s icy mountains” in English. The play, which was based upon the well-known narrative of the scriptures, was written by one of the boys and was very well worked out. One act represented the prodigal as ridding himself of his money at a gamblers’ table. The young man who took the role of the wasteful son was really a fine actor and portrayed the deep misery of the prodigal in a remarkable way, partly by singing the story to an old Japanese tune. At one juncture he appeared with his coat literally turned.

     Next came the novelty of an “air plane” trick in which the blind-folded novice stood on a board which was manipulated in such a way as to give the impression that he was rising to the ceiling (a board gently let down on his head). When he was ordered to “jump” he obeyed, coming down only a few inches to his surprise and much to the merriment of the audience. Another item was “Guessing of Explesion” (they have no “l” and don’t know how to use ours,) in which two persons were put on the floor and labelled “cat,” “doll,” etc. Each knew what the other was named and was expected to act the other’s part so the person whose part was being performed might guess what it was.

     The young· fellow who acted the ‘'money” was particularly skillful!. Some more vocal music was rendered and there were numbers by the Gakuin ‘'band.”

     After the closing prayer by Bro. McCaleb, the program said “Cheers” which came in the form of three hurrahs for the school, but in Japan they say “banzai,” which literally signifies ten thousand years. At this juncture the strings controlling the “stars” near the ceiling were manipulated and as they tilted over down came a shower of confetti which had been quietly resting upon them. The 19th item was “Greeting of Closing,” below which was written “The End.” This novel experience helps to understand Japanese student life and see how it corresponds with and  differs from a school entertainment in the United States.

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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10