Before moving to Tokyo, I taught English in a countryside prefecture known as Tottori. I loved it there. My only complaint was my noisy neighbor that liked to play taiko drums early in the morning (usually between 5:30am – 6:00am). He would open all the doors and windows so that it could be heard by all. He would play to no discernible rhythm and consistently modulate the tempo making it all the more irritating.
Unfortunately, the place where all the noise was coming from was a Shinto shrine.
But why should places of worship and the fallible men and women that run them be exempt from criticism? If church and state are indeed separate in this day and age, then I should be able to proceed as if I were complaining about noise from a dance club or pachinko parlor. I had always been told that Japanese almost never complain directly. For example, a noisy neighbor would hear any complaints via the apartment building landlord.
But what about a foreigner? Could a foreigner even complain in Japan—let alone about noise coming from a shrine? This was going to be an interesting social experiment.