picture of the day

Spiritual reminders


A Buddhist priest walks slowly in Ginza ahead of a woman holding a sign that reads "I am the Way, Truth and Life."

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Great photo! Well spotted.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Beggars and kooks in Ginza, too?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Once again the robots from BDL (Bible Distribution League) Japan will be blaring out their message of eternal damnation for those who don't believe what they do. Thanks for the Christmas cheer.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I'll let your invisible man on the mountain speak to my invisible man on other mountain, then we'll do lunch.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I prefer Superman's hendiatris(*): "Truth, Justice, and the American Way".

(*) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hendiatris

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

LHommeQuiMent, thanks for the link.

My hendiatris for the holidays: sex and drugs and rock&roll.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Is it a fake Buddhist beggar-priest like the one in front of the station in my town?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Is salvation possible in Ginza?

1 ( +2 / -1 )


How do you know he is fake?

We got one standing outside ours, I know he is real as all the locals know him and which temple he is from. Part of their creed/tradition to do that.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Why can't these idiots allow us to enjoy Christmas in peace? They should be locked up for disturbing the public until the end of the festive season. People are trying to enjoy themselves with their families.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I find it hilarious the comments concerning God on this Japanese website... I guess i could make fun of the fact that all of you have no answer on Where do we come from?... How did we get here?... and Where are we going when we die?..... The theory of Evolution doesn't have enough evidence to be a theory at all.. it is a hypothesis at best.... So you shouldn't laught at religion until you have a clue on answering those 3 questions.. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

-18 ( +3 / -21 )

We have them at Umeda too. Good thing they don't fight. In my country such encounter would immediately lead to a brawl.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"I am the Way"

But not The One.

"disturbing the public"

Come now, they aren't disturbing the public as much as people yapping on their phones or smoking.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Those priests are doing 托鉢(takuhatsu).It is a traditional form of alms, common to Buddhist monks in Japan. Monks travel to various businesses and residences in order to exchange chanting of sutras for donations of food and money. Monks never beg at temples, shrines, churches, schools, government offices or hospitals.The monks go through the street and sympathizers come down and fill their alms bowls. According to Zen tradition, the givers should be grateful.


(Rumor: if they are not chanting, they are said to be fake)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The theory of Evolution doesn't have enough evidence to be a theory at all.. it is a hypothesis at best....

most scientists would disagree with you. many religious nuts would agree with you.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Thx, Blair.

Ours might be sub-vocalising, but he chants in a big voice, rings his bell and bows when we drop coins in his cup.

Like I said he works/studies at the local temple and is on JR property.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The woman holding the sign is wearing a proper hat.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@James Tanaka

I will be honest. I don't have an answer to any of your questions. But I also know that any of the religions out there don't have any answer either, they just pretend or claim that they do. Just beccause we can't explain everything scientifically doesn't mean that there is god or gods.

Do you believe in Santa Clause too just because we can't prove that he doesn't exist ?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Yup santa claus the easter bunny and jesus christ are all real right? Just like tinkerbell is real !

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

After the Forces of Nature that have hit Japan this year, I doubt many Japanese will have much time for God.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@James Tanaka

you shouldn't laught at religion until you have a clue on answering those 3 questions

OK, here are some evolutionary hypotheses that have been extensively put to the test, and survive:

1--from our biological forebears (not from clay)

2--via natural selection (not via hocus pocus)

3--when you die your life is finished or, if you get eaten by a shark, you enter the foodchain (not the afterlife)

Do you think that an ancient book written before anyone had a concept of science (and when people believed that the earth was flat, etc) holds more evidence than careful and methodological attempts to transcend superstition? Wishful thinking is no substitute for honest inquiry.

That being said, the main issue here is the rotten attitude of these so-called evangelists who hold up speakers with pre-recorded monotone dogma. Fear of hell and desire for heaven is not an admirable reason to believe a religion. If there were a God, I'm sure he would be able to see through this self-serving motivation. These people should also be ashamed of themselves for attempting to ensnare others into their miserable condition at a time when people should be feeling a heightened sense of love, selflessness, and kindred spirit. Yes, the materialism and shop-til-you-drop spirit of the Christmas holiday bothers me, but not as much as these BDL creeps.

Good on the monk. I don't share his belief, but he doesn't bother anyone.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

The theory of Evolution doesn't have enough evidence to be a theory at all.. it is a hypothesis at best...

And the empirical evidence for there being a god currently stands at... zilch, nought, zero. Therefore it doesn't even merit being a hypothesis. Superstitious fantasy that twists reality to suit its own agenda.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Great pic! Very well framed and great content.

James Tanaka: "Where do we come from?"

A stork delivers us.

"How did we get here?"

The great tortoise that our planet sits upon made it so.

"...and Where are we going when we die?"

Why, Valhalla! it's tabehoudai and nomihoudai forever!!

These are all as believable as the make-believe of god and Jesus, and equally as entertaining.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I remember ...

once I sported a tall priest covering his head with a hat as same in the picture but was in sinjiku..

when I wanted to conform my way with him... so got close to him and asked...

given me a suprice... he was not a Japanese monk ....

but an Iranian man dress as a priest. ..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

One key difference between these two spiritual reminders. The Monk is silent, only ringing his bell. He waits for you to come to him freely. The people with the yellow signs are threatening eternal damnation if you follow "hen na kami" as their recording states.

I have never had a Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Shinto, Atheist, Agnostic, Zoroastrian, Wiccan, Pagan or any of many other religious adherents threaten me with damnation or arbitrarily decide that my different belief system is "hen" or likely to land me in eternal fire. This is the domain of the evangelical Christian.

I am seriously tired of these yellow sign people and their admonitions against all other faiths but theirs. The Jesus I read about in the Bible was not about fear and threats. That is again the domain of organized Christianity which lives and breathes fear, guilt all while breeding its better than thou capacity to dismiss all other faiths as evil or wrong.

I wish these yellow sign people would just shut up and peddle their mystic nonsense somewhere other than in our public streets.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Readers, tolerance is the order of the day on this thread. Please do not insult anyone because of their faith.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who would have thought "religion" would have anything to do with X-mas, Read more history and surprise surprise the story of X-mass was old at the supposed time of Christ, any faith is good enough if it makes you happy, didn't have a fridge don't eat meat that goes off quick, (God said), those people face the wrong way kill them (God said), It was a shock to see Santa on a cross but now I kinda like the image. Evolution is a process of stupid people/animals breeding to the point of excess, just look at the politicians. Did Einstine populate without a care? The daily headlines prove this theory! And that is my X-mas present either be smart enough to wrap it up or keep it in your own stocking, Im off to slaughter several non believers to prove science wrong! (God said)

So sayeth the Sheperd so sayeth the flock.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

James Tanaka,

Where do we come from? <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_birds_and_the_bees

How did we get here?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_human_migrations

Where are we going when we die?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decomposition

Science is very interesting, you should give it a chance sometime. Merry Christmas!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Nice picture. (I'd add more but the moderator would erase it.)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Merry Christmas Moderators, you hit you miss but policy is policy

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Serrano: "But not The One."

So who IS 'the one' you refer to, then? Bruce Lee? Jet Li? Helen Keller? Surely you're not bringing US politics and old baggage onto this thread, are you? :)

tkoind: "I wish these yellow sign people would just shut up and peddle their mystic nonsense somewhere other than in our public streets."

To be fair, they DO drive around on the small roads between rice paddies in the country-side with their イエス trucks and loudspeakers (first time I saw them I thought it was just an 'election car'), not just busy city streets, but I do agree with you on the message: forcing your beliefs on others, regardless of what they may be, or trying to send a message that you are damned if you DON'T adhere to a particular set of beliefs is just wrong, and contrary to the spirit of beliefs in general.

1 ( +2 / -1 )


I have never had a Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Shinto, Atheist, Agnostic, Zoroastrian, Wiccan, Pagan or any of many other religious adherents threaten me

You're lucky muslims have threatened most westerners

2 ( +4 / -2 )

ExportExpert: "You're lucky muslims have threatened most westerners"

Such thinking is the exact same thing.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Is there anyone else carrying a sign, like "i am the other way" or even "i am the wrong way"? I think "the third way" is already spoken for..

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Monks pay no income tax or property tax....halfway to heaven already.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Great picture thanks to the Juxtaposition of the Buddhist monk and the Christian. Happy Holidays to all and I wish us all happiness and the spirit of compassion and tolerance.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Where are the female priestesses like in the anime?! >=O

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nice Picture, an example of 'work-sharing!' God is great :)

0 ( +2 / -2 )


What? This Monk is not interfering with your christmas, nor will he interfere with my Hanuka.

If you lived here, you would realize that most people follow Budhist and Shinto rituals, not praying to idol statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Christianity is not monotheistic at all. It pushes idolatry.

Just enjoy your new year holidays, do not drive, and use a VPN to watch American Football all day on the 25th.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Full quote: Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

I'm not sure where the yellow-sign people stand on religious tolerance, but I'm never been much for the combination of religion and aggressive sales techniques anyway, especially when it's focused on non-group members.

Even with no religion and just advertising, "Eat at Joe's" is okay, but "Don't eat at Bob's" is annoying.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

ONCE again.... all of your have either attacked religon or come up with phoney baloney THEORIES that still haven't answered the 3 three questions....... We will all see the truth in the end i guess.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

James Tanaka: ONCE again.... all of your have either attacked religon or... (etc)

You know, most religious people are actually nice, just as most people who don't believe in a religion are also nice. Most people, irrespective of religious belief, get annoyed with the minority who try to push their own beliefs down other people throats whether it's their religious beliefs or distortions of religious beliefs used to try to make them sound deliberately ridiculous. Science and religion are not mutually exclusive (one answers how, the other why). Some of the greatest thinkers in history (Greece) wrote 2,500 years or so ago. We should all accept that not every one will agree with us and not think that we have to "win" every argument as most end up breaking down to a he-said/she-said scenario anyway.

Anyway, hope you all be a happy (and tolerant) Christmas and New Year.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We will all see the truth in the end i guess.

No, we won't. To assume that we will is wishful thinking.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Hmm I think she is giving a bad image as to how to promote a faith, she should have more of an informative sign and pamphlets etc, I think mormons etc give Japanese a bad image as they aren't technically 'Christian' to begin with then Japanese may stereotype in assuming all these denomoniations claiming to be Christian are all mormons to begin with..

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Science and religion are not mutually exclusive (one answers how, the other why).

In their methodology science and religion are absolutely incompatible. But to the extent that religion attempts to answer the 'why' questions of existence, yes, it explores areas that science does not. But this area is better suited to philosophy, which does not lay down fixed answers to these questions.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This actually explains a lot.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think it's great to have a society where people of different beliefs can get along without killing each other. The problem i have with the sign lady is that that recorded message is played way so loud it's disturbing. But I think that about the right-wingers too. Kind of interesting actually...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'd like to comment on the compatibility issue. Science leaves a lot of open questions for religions. Like the meaning of TIME before the Big Bang. Like the exact numerical values of particle masses. Or the reason why the matter-antimatter symmetry shifted towards matter (in this part of the universe?) instead of anti-matter. Or the reason why life forms use only left-chiral lactose molecules and cannot process the right-chiral stuff. Maybe that is god's working?

If people do not believe in science, they prove that they are not sufficiently educated and aware of the world. If people decide not to believe in god(s), they simply choose another kind of faith (since atheism is a faith). As long as people have brains (and use it) and are tolerant, everything is compatible.

Evolution is proved as far as any macroscopic phenomenon can ever be proved. The history of the universe can be precisely traced back to the inflationary phase after the Big Bang due to the uniformity of the cosmic microwave background. And for the question where we'll go after death - have fun. Each and everyone among us performs this fascinating and daring experiment called death.

Many non-Christians have a bad picture of Christians, because they remember these proselytising witnesses above all else. This is not Christianity. They annoy other Christians as well.

Merry Christmas to all of You.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

James Tanaka: "ONCE again.... all of your have either attacked religon or come up with phoney baloney THEORIES that still haven't answered the 3 three questions....... We will all see the truth in the end i guess."

Anyway, your questions cannot be answered by your own beliefs, so I'm not sure why you're asking them as some kind of 'proof'.

All the same, a Merry X-mas to you and yours. Hope Santa comes to visit and not Cromwell.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The monk came all the way from Mt Koya, no wonder he walks slowly, he must be so tired from this long pilgrimage.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Where does the monks money go?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My imaginary friend is better than your imaginary friend...ner ner ne ner ner...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It is now midnight. Merry Christmas to all of you -- regardless of religion and beliefs. I hope and pray 2012 will be a great year for you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@avenger, According to Association of Koyasan Singon Young Buddhist in Kanagawa, donation was used for disaster affected areas and others. I have only an old info from Koyasan one, but in 2008, the donation was sent to Myanmar (cyclone damage), Shisen earthquake in China, Miyagi/Iwate earthquake, and wheelchairs for disabled children.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Christian proselytizers give me a real pain. The priest is merely performing one of his duties in soliciting alms. You are free to offer or not, that is your option. The Christian proselytizer however is as usual beating everyone over the head with her beliefs. "My way or the highway to Hell". No choice is given by her, merely the veiled threat of eternal suffering should you decline. Even though I am a non believer I would still prefer the benign grace of the priest over the bible thumping ravings of Christian proselytizers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Heres the kicker. Prove that there isn't a god or higher power. One can claim there is none and that evolution "disproves it" but thats still not concrete enough to guarantee such an idea. Our knowledge is quite limited to what we know on our own planet and the materials and Until mankind has the answer to EVERYTHING in the universe (which we obviously don't) neither can disprove the other. I'm happily agnostic myself because I've experienced things that are beyond normal over the course of my lifetime. If there was a higher power that "created" mankind whose to say

1.) it isn't an extremely advanced alien entity doing some science experiment and it might actually use a series of events (evolution) to create various and unique species on a universal scale. Quantam physics theory...

2.)or since we always try to relate to something in our own image or method of thinking (greek/norse mythology for example) so its hard for many to concieve of a being/entity so beyond our capablities that we have no chance of comprehending them no matter how advanced our scientific knowledge takes us.

@Midoritori I agree with you there, I have no problem with a person being religiously inclined (my missus is buddist and mother is catholic xD, uncle is muslim), we do have problems when someone comes up to use and starts literally harrassing you about, "believe in this! believe in that!" And the overzealous evangelists that are, "you're goin' to hell you heathen!" One shouldn't demand someone to become a part of their religious beliefs, its ok to ask and just accept that the person isn't interested and to be on their way. Those that don't need a wake up call.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@HonestDictator "Prove that there isn't a god or higher power. "

Nobody needs to prove that something doesn't exist.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

To simplify my previous statement, many things are not dead sure non-existant in this universe. Until proven beyond any doubt, many things are a possibility.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I don't mind these people carrying the yellow signs as long as they are quiet. I prefer their signs to not seeing them and having them release gas on the subways. I can conveniently ignore them as I ignore the Buddhist priest as well and the anime or lolita weirdos too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Honestdictator -

you're asking people to prove a negative? Ever heard that it is impossible to do so? Is that the entirety of your argument?

The onus is on those claiming the existence of something to provide evidence for its existence.

As a great man who recently died once said, "that which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

BurakuminDes. How do you know he is fake? We got one standing outside ours, I know he is real as all the locals know him and which temple he is from. Part of their creed/tradition to do that.

Buddhist Priests in Japan simply do not walk around train stations and shopping districts pan-handling. It is well-known (and tolerated) that almost all those guys you see doing this are fake. Make no mistake - the church here have incredible wealth and assets - they don't pan-handle! Ask a real Buddhist Priest someday, he will tell you!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@irishosaru, my point is that there have been aggressive athiests that like to argue with those who are religious the exact same thing, "prove that there is a higher power..." and trying to enforce over others (even by means of law if possible) to "believe" in "non belief". I know religions and athiesm are practiced in different ways all over the world. Sadly my experience in my own country has been christians, some muslims and hari-krishnas, and even athiests peddling away on their beliefs by starting random debates or situations that interfere with others daily lives. Thankfully people still have their rights to believe in what they want to , but not to coerce others into playing the game the way one group wants others to believe beyond a persons own individual choice.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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