Shintoism is one of the cornerstones of Japanese spiritual and religious beliefs. Shintoism is based on worship of one's ancestors and is a major force behind the culture of filial piety, honor, and shame in this society. Most households here have small shrines dedicated to deceased relatives.
Joe Hendel, my freshman year roommate from Yale, has been visiting me in Tokyo this week. Since he is leaving tomorrow, we went out for dinner at a Japanese hot pot restaurant. The dish is called Shobu-shobu, where you cook raw meats in a pot of boiling water placed in front of you.
With a vat of boiling pork between us, I remarked to Joe who is also Jewish, "We would be terrible Shintoists. Think of all the shame that our ancestors are feeling. Here we are in Japan eating juicy pork and hitting on Asian girls."
Joe then remarked, "And we're not doctors."
"Or lawyers." I replied.