What Strikes Me After 50 Years in Japan

by Joe Betts
My wife Ruth and I returned to the USA last year at this time after 50 years working in Japan. We were sponsored by the Seventh and Mueller congregation in Paragould, Ark.
During this past year we have tried, in vain in some areas, to make ourselves feel at home. The church people have been quite helpful, some of them are returning missionaries, but our thinking is still somewhat “over there.”
* Possibly one of the greatest differences I have seen is the “me” attitude. I have had to sign my name on so many papers because the other party is trying to protect himself from being sued.
* So many divorces. So many living together without marriage. The word “bastard” describes such a large percent of the babies now being born.
* Foul language in the media. Of course it has always been in the entertainment world but even there its use is so out of proportion to what it was.
* Abundance of car names? What is SUV? RV? Foreign cars. Cars loaded with so many gadgets. GPS?
* What is this about having to have a piece of paper with me to prove my financial ability in case a policeman stops me? Where do I get it? How do I get it?
* Life insurance is not enough; there is health insurance; one to cover the cost of medicine.
* Telephone calls from people I never knew, trying to sell something I never heard of, to take care of a problem I never knew I had.
* Endless charity mail: March of Dimes, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Feed the Children, Rescue the Animals, Red Cross, etc. I would like to help them all but …
Somewhere back in there I hear someone say, “Welcome home, Joe.”
Positive, on the other hand: Nearby hospital with latest equipment; language I understand (well, there are some words I’m more familiar with in Japanese than English); immediate family nearby; the Star-Spangled Banner.
Yes, it’s good to be back here.

See also the editor’s articles, Striking, and More Striking.

Missionary Joe Betts shares what strikes him in the U.S.

5 thoughts on “What Strikes Me After 50 Years in Japan

  1. Welcome home, Joe. Thanks for your years of service in Japan. You encourage me to want to go to a foreign field!

  2. Dear Brother Betts.
    Our congregation would like to contrubute to the needs of fellow Christians in Japan. However, we have not been able to varify who will receive the funds and how they will be administered. There are constant warnings regarding “scam artists”. One of our members, Rea Gregg, knows you personaly, and recommended that I contact you, because she knows that you have been faithful for these many years. Please advise: In His Service,
    Walt & Pat Evans

  3. Where can I send a letter directly to you? There are three of four places that are very honest, one being the Park Ave. Church of Christ, Memphis, TN. At this moment I’m not able to come up with the address. If I could get an email address I can send it as soon as I can get it. Joe Betts

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