There are so many experiences that I have had in service with Japanese leaders—some humorous, some challenging, some a blessing, and some joyful.
People react differently when under stress. Some perspire, some get nauseated, some cry, but I always need to use the toilet.
Every culture has nuances that require attention to avoid a serious faux pas. I was first introduced to the custom of using uwabaki (slippers) in the Naruse Church in Japan. I had read enough to understand that we would be expected to leave our shoes in the genkan in exchange for uwabaki (that happened to be red). What I did not know was that if I entered the toilet, I would need to exchange the red uwabaki for green uwabaki for hygiene reasons. And, did I mention that the largest uwabaki size is 8, while I wear a 14–hilarious.
As we prepared for worship I had entered the sanctuary and took a seat in the front pew directly in front of the pulpit. I suddenly felt the nervous need to visit the toilet. Upon returning to the sanctuary, I took my pew again and bowed my head to pray. Before closing my eyes, I was terrified to see that I had not removed my shining green uwabaki. Did anyone notice? All I know is I then had a cultural compulsion to return to the toilet where I left the red slippers and returned with a red face and the appropriate red uwabaki. At least I was color coordinated.