Tag Archive: biography


On twitter and elsewhere, there has been some confusion about the name “denbutsu”, so I’d like to clear this up right from the get go.

I originally started using the name on the message board Pro Sports Daily, where I primarily posted about the Denver Nuggets and all things NBA, as well as the Denver Broncos. My original user name over there was JesusBong, which I had chosen for its irreverence and because I just loved this picture, which I used as my avatar. But as my involvement on that site got heavier, I spent more and more time there during my lunch breaks at an office where I worked at the time. The fear of someone looking over my shoulder and seeing something that could potentially get me into trouble led me to request a name change.

I chose “denbutsu” as a combination of the two places I call home: Colorado, where I was born, and Japan, where I’ve spent most of my adult life. The “den” is for Denver, and the “-butsu” comes from the Japanese word daibutsu, which means Great Buddha. One of Japan’s most famous cultural icons is the Great Buddha in Kamakura, which is just a stone’s throw away from where I live in southern Yokohama. I chose that image for my avatar because a) it represents where I live, b) it looks “person-like” so it works for an avvy, and c) I just think it looks cool. And it just stuck. I’ve been using it for a long time now.

I’m an atheist, so for me it has no meaning beyond the aesthetic and cultural. And while I do consider Buddhism to be among the more innocuous of the world’s religions, especially here in Japan where it takes on a largely secular form, I myself am not a Buddhist.

I actually did consider Continue reading

Hello everyone, denbutsu here wishing you a warm welcome to my new blog.

Why am I doing this? Truthfully, the main reason is that until now I’ve mostly been using twitter for my atheist musings, but I’ve come to find the format constraining. I’m tired of making long chains of tweets (1/7, 2/7, 3/7, etc.) to write about my generally verbose views. I figured a blog would just allow for a more comfortable space to do that, as well as provide a bit more flexibility in terms of sharing video, pictures, and quotes from other articles and blogs.

It’s also my hope that raising my “officially atheist” profile a little will allow me to make some inroads in the international atheist community, and I have some vague ambitions of getting something off the ground here in Japan if there are numbers.

So here we go. Hate to get so incredibly geeky on my first post, but this quote from J.R.R. Tolkein does come to mind:

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say.  “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Here’s to the great unknown, and keeping our feet as we venture into it. Cheers!

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