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two religious experiences

January 31, 2004

God in a can
Jesus theme restaurant

I found God in a coffee can in a vending machine in southern Osaka. So that’s where He’s been all this time.

What a peculiar fellow!

We also walked past a Christ-themed restaurant. Or rather a restaurant whose aesthetic seems to be a Japanese take on Catholicism at its most gothic and florid. A slogan in the window informs passers-by that:

“The shiny golden altar in our shop is real, and it was used at the church in Europe. Please enjoy our perfect situation, service, dishes and music. We are imagining like a church. It is a perfect space for adult. Please enjoy your time.”

After I’d picked my jaw off the ground and put it back in place, I was surprised to realise that I was actually offended. Not that I’m a Christian, and I’m still less of a Catholic, but I think it was the amount of disrespect involved in treating a religion as just another source of inspiration for interior design (although now I think about it, I wonder if that isn’t exactly how a lot of Westerners see, say, Zen Buddhism…) The sheer wrongness of it reminded me of the time a friend (Dave) went to Florida and saw an adventure playground based on the sinking of the Titanic. Although obviously, that’s much, much wronger.

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