Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sketchy Sects in Saitama

My absence over the past week has not been intentional but due to a slight increase in activities on my social calendar (not bound to last long), one of which I am about to relate. I met up with got-married-and-quit last night for the first time in over 6 months. She is now, how shall we say, with child, and planning for a house to be built in Saitama. I suppose that's what happens in Tokyo these days if you're not careful-you go from being a cool gal of a healthy size to being wedding-skinny, barefoot and pregnant in Saitama (no offence if anyone lives out there). Won't the joke be on me if my priorities suddenly undergo a lobotomy and I end up out there myself one day. NOT going to happen I might add but...

I have very up and down feelings for Quit and although I do go on about how her life choices aren't for me, I felt a calm wash over me last night and I was able to just be happy that she is happy. Not before trying to prod her about Women, Sexuality & Marriage in Japan, however. But more on that later.

The recurring topic of the evening was our friend who has, I just found out, joined a cult, I mean religious sect. Ever heard of Kenshokai (顕正会)? I hadn't either but apparently it is not only a rival of Soka Gakai, but that ever popular and tasty mix of Buddhism, Shinto and Christianity. With a little Crazy thrown in for good measure. Let's call this friend Kenshojo shall we?

A few weeks back Kenshojo invited Quit for dinner and when she showed up, it appeared that Kenshojo had brought along a friend. After they were seated at the restaurant neither Kenshojo or her friend would say anything, prompting Quit to ask if anything was wrong. This is where Kenshojo confessed she had joined this sect and the friend was a work colleague who had gotten her into it. Here I was thinking they were going to come out as lesbians to Quit! Not even close! Kenshojo apparently wakes up every morning and treks out to Saitama (I'm not sure why the pleasures of Saitama seem to be a recurring theme in this post) to some temple before going to work in Tokyo.The two crazies then pushed some propaganda and books on Quit and tried to force her to go with them out to Saitama. That night. When she begged off going, saying she can't ride the train that far with the baby growing inside her, they turned hostile and acted slighted. When she apologized before going home Kenshojo told her, Don't apologize to us but to God. You're going to be punished for not coming with us. Nice language to a scared pregnant woman!!! I thought this was Japan not Ass-fuck, U.S.A , small town to proselytizing religious crazies.

As she related the story to me, we both laughed but I can just imagine how it would have actually been, with Quit trying to be polite while giving them the old Fuck Off. What incensed her the most however, was that Kenshojo told her if she and her husband joined, his skin condition, which she has never said boo about, would clear up. It didn't end there though. Kenshojo later emailed Quit asking her how she was, giving Quit a false sense of security that Kenshojo had accepted the rejection and was back to being a normal friend. When she replied with Fine, Kenshojo typed back that it must be because she now had those Books in her possession. Guess I won't be calling her for a while! Although it definitely crossed my mind to give her a tingle and see if she tries to convert me. It could be an interesting field trip to Saitama and a blog entry, if nothing else.

Poor Kenshojo. I've known her since she was 30 and she is now 35 with no marriage prospects other than Buddha. Over the last few years in particular she has tried really hard to find a husband, even meeting several guys through a dating website. When I mentioned this to Quit she said her failure was in having too many conditions in terms of money, job etc. (Kenshojo is one of my "friends" here who often asked me things like, Isn't your bf paying for all the rent?) That and she is kawatte iru, or different. Off the beaten path, per se. After my encounters with Kenshojo in the last year I definitely got a sense that something was not quite right there. And I don't mean this in a she-can't-snag-a-man kind of way. Unfortunately, as with all my friendships with Japanese women thus far, ours only scratches the surface and I've never had the opportunity to make it go farther than that.

3 comments:

Tokyo Cowgirl said...

Kenshokai <-- Halloween costume idea! All you have to do is dress up like a crazy nut-case. It's not hot, but it's at least original.

Lori said...

i live in saitama, and i can tell you, there is nothing even remotely fun or interesting here. perhaps sketchy, yes, and cheap rent, yes, but exciting, newlywed fun? no. have you ever heard of dasaitama? i thought so.

astrorainfall said...

LOL - this is a brilliant post. I feel sorry for Kenshojo...

I can totally relate to just scratching the surface with Japanese gal pals... I take comfort that even you who have been here for so long and can speak Japanese fluently, can speak honestly about how hard it is to have deeper friendships with Japanese women.