Art Life Faith Podcast

Art Life Faith Podcast

Join us as we discuss art, what it has to do with your life, and the Christian faith

Episodes

June 11, 2021 8 min

This is the Art, Life, Faith Podcast, and I’m your host Roger Lowther.

Today, I’d like to share a passage with you from Ecclesiastes 11:1–2:

“Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.”

These past few weeks we’ve been talking about the 3/11 disaster here in Japan. Boy is this verse appropriate for that time. ...

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https://youtu.be/4rw_dLttQDw

Today I’d like to introduce you to Daisuke Yokoyama, an amazing Christian singer songwriter here in Japan. I had the privilege of meeting him in the relief movement shortly after that terrible earthquake of 2011.

We’re listening to his song “希望は絶望に終わらない” (“Hope Will Not End In Despair”), part of his response to the terrible darkness of that time.

I remember one concert we played together in a high s...

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May 28, 2021 7 min

Over the past couple of podcasts, I’ve been sharing stories from our March Aroma of Beauty Conference. Today, I would like to share about the master of ceremonies for the conference, Akira Mori, pastor of Global Mission Chapel.

He started the conference by saying, “As a man of Tohoku, I thank all of you!” Tohoku is the northeast region of Japan, and Iwaki where he pastors is the southern-most tip of Tohoku. He thanked all the volun...

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May 21, 2021 7 min

Last week, I shared with you the story of the tsunami violin, “The 1,000 Bonds of Hope” project. Nakazawa-san made a violin out of debris left by the tsunami and a sound post out of a small fragment from the Miracle Pine Tree, a symbol of hope throughout Japan. His work was not just creation but re-creation. He was literally redeeming brokenness in this world to make something life-giving. This violin is traveling the country of Ja...

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May 14, 2021 11 min

This week I’ve been working on putting subtitles to the various talks from our “Aroma of Beauty” conference we held here in Tokyo in March. There were so amazing stories shared. Although it was all in Japanese, with subtitles soon you’ll be able to watch and hear them as well. But I want to take this time to share one of them with you now in this podcast.

It’s really exciting to me how God shows himself through the art and culture ...

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May 4, 2021 6 min

Everyone in Japan knows the word setomono (セトモノ), because you find it on quite a few boxes you get in the mail. It means “fragile,” but it also literally means “product of Seto.” Seto is an art village known in Japan for its ceramics with over a 1,500 year history, longer if you count the indigenous people who lived there before that time. And today that pottery tradition is alive and well.

Last week, I went to Seto to assist my...

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April 27, 2021 8 min

Exactly 19 years ago, my wife and I started our hike on the entire Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), 2,659 miles from the border of Mexico to the border of Canada. It took almost six months!

My oldest son is about to go to college, and so he, his brother, and I will be hiking part of the Appalachian Trail this summer for a few weeks to celebrate as our family begins a furlough in the U.S. Planning for that trip brought back many memories ...

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April 20, 2021 6 min

I’d like to introduce you to a little poem. It’s kanshi, which literally means “Chinese poem.” Although, actually it’s not Chinese at all. It’s a Japanese poem, which uses only Chinese characters, in this case five per line. It’s almost like a puzzle, where Japanese take Chinese letters and work within quite a few rules to say something as beautifully as possible.

This poem is by Ryokan Taigu, who lived in the late 1700s and early ...

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April 13, 2021 8 min

In the city of Minami Sanriku, on the northeastern coast of Japan, the Kanyo Hotel sits on a high cliff overlooking the ocean. This is a really nice hotel, which usually costs well over $300 a night to stay there. The food is amazing, and there is a really cool cave-like hot spring built into the side of the cliff, so you relax outside in hot spring waters while feeling cool sea wind blow in your face, and watch the sunset over the...

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April 6, 2021 8 min

A couple of weeks ago, Sawako-san, a woman in our church here in Tokyo, produced a musical comedy called Breast Wars. It’s a story about a woman in her 40s in her struggle with breast cancer. In one scene, she sits in the waiting room of the doctor’s office singing, with the clock ticking down, “Should I? Can I? Is there no other way?” while the nurses, while also singing, try to pull her into the other room to be operated on. The ...

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March 30, 2021 32 min
During the month of March on this podcast, we’ve been telling story after story from March 11 and the terrible earthquake that struck Japan 10 years ago. The trauma that people experienced will impact them their whole lives. So many were lost, and there is nothing we can do to bring them back. Some things in this world can never be fixed. So, what do we do with that? Do we just despair? If we don’t make a conscious effort to do oth...
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March 23, 2021 12 min
Japan is no stranger to devastated cities. As I traveled giving concerts through city after city ravaged by the 2011 tsunami in Japan, my thoughts eventually turned to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. No other city in the history of the world quite compares with their destruction. ...
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March 16, 2021 31 min
For the past couple of months, I’ve been sharing stories of my experiences after the 2011 earthquake in Japan. For this episode, I want to go back to the very beginning. I want to start with Day 1, the day the day the earthquake hit and how we got involved in the relief movement. I hope you’ll find it useful as we all think about how God may use us, all of us, especially as artists, in the tragedies and traumas of the lives of ever...
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March 8, 2021 28 min
This week, I had the honor of talking with Peter Bakelaar, founder of Gallery NANI (Nagoya Arts Network International), about his exhibit at the Aichi Arts & Cultural Center in downtown Nagoya, "Scars: The Path Toward Healing" running from March 2-14. ...
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March 2, 2021 7 min
What’s that noise? Where am I? Heavy creaking in the ceiling above my head jolted my sleep-numbed mind into consciousness, as my eyes flew open to darkness. Nigero! Okiizo! “Everybody out! This is a big one!” someone behind me yelled. That was all it took. I blindly fumbled for my flashlight, always kept near my head for emergencies like this, and then grabbed my jacket. The floor moved chaotically, making it hard to keep my balanc...
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February 23, 2021 8 min
After the 2011 earthquake in Japan, Christians started art organizations to provide jobs and build community, and, just as important, to bring beauty back into a shattered world. They made jewelry, decorations, bags, and clothes. In the city of Ishinomaki, a small group of women made jewelry out of broken shards of dishes and teacups found in the rubble. They called themselves Nozomi Project, or literally, Project of Hope. The peop...
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February 16, 2021 4 min
On March 11, 2011, the world changed. Like the old photographs I occasionally found scattered amongst the debris, all the color was gone. Gray mud from the ocean floor coated everything, and gray dust constantly blew through the air turning our white masks black. Even the sun remained hidden behind the dull clouds, refusing to penetrate our colorless purgatory. ...
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February 9, 2021 6 min
“Go away! Leave us alone!" the voice thundered. "Too . . . many . . . volunteers!” We had just entered the high school gymnasium of a temporary shelter in the city of Iwaki. I turned to see a young man sitting on a cardboard box. He appeared to be slightly handicapped, with one leg shorter than the other. But it was his face, full of rage, that I noticed most. Time after time, strangers barged into this man’s “room.” In tha...
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February 2, 2021 6 min
As I walked through a garden on a hill overlooking the town of Otsuchi, Japan, birds flew overhead and the wind blew in gently from the sea. Leaves rustled on the trees, and the sweet aroma of flowers wafted through the air. I looked down to see goldfish swimming in a pond, and at the top of the hill I found a white glass-paneled phone booth. ...
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January 26, 2021 5 min
I looked up at the enormity of it. The tree was almost 100 feet tall. It grew here in the city of Rikuzentakata as part of a forest of 70,000 pine trees for hundreds of years. The trees protected the people from storms and strong coastal winds and were once chosen as one of the 100 most beautiful landscapes in Japan. But now they were all gone, all except for this one surviving tree. ...
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