One of the best books I use for teaching private lessons is called "Impact Issues". Each lesson contains a story meant to open up discussion on a particular topic and a page of opinions that students can agree or disagree with. The topics cover a broad range of issues, but one of the most interesting lessons is called "Flight 77". In this particular lesson, a man talks about how he was about to board an airplane and decides not to after a voice tells him that he should not get on the plane. The teacher and student then discuss the potential origin of the voice.
This topic is good because it opens up the floor for spiritual discussions, but tends to avoid the overall topic of religion. While Japanese people aren't especially religious (on the whole) and it's unlikely that an uncomfortable discussion would develop on the topic, they also don't have much knowledge about religion and tend not to be overly interested in it. Spirituality, on the other hand, is something they do have their own notions about and can discuss with varying levels of enthusiasm.
As part of the discussion of this lesson, it's usual to ask the student if he or she has ever had any sort of metaphysical experience. While most of the students I've spoken with believe that the "voice" in the story in the "Flight 77" lesson is not a product of the author's imagination (and was a genuine spiritual warning), only one of them has said she has had a similar experience. This particular student told me a story from her childhood which was remarkably similar to the one in the textbook.
When she was a child of about 7, my student was playing a game where she and some friends pretended to be "invisible". As part of this game, one person kept her eyes open and the others kept their eyes closed. In this instance, my student and another friend were walking around with eyes closed while one other friend directed them. The friend who could see would tell the other two what to do as they walked "blindly". The "seeing" friend was preoccupied with the other person as the three of them approached a street. My student was just walking along with her eyes closed when she heard a voice (in her mind) clearly tell her to stop walking. She stopped and opened her eyes to find she would have walked in front of a car if she had continued on.
Oddly enough, my husband had a relatively similar experience when he was 15 years old. He was standing at a light waiting for it to turn green so he could cross a street. No cars were coming and the light turned green. Just as he was lowering his foot to the curb, he had a very strong feeling that he should not step into the street. He didn't hear anything and couldn't work out why he should feel that way so he looked up the street and soon saw a car speeding down the street which ran the light. If he had completed that step, the car would have hit him and possibly killed him given that it was going about 50 mph in a 35 mph zone. In my husband's case, he didn't hear a voice but received a strong "message" from his body nonetheless. He was being told to freeze and not step out.
When I asked my student why she thought she received such a message and many other people die in accidents, she said that she felt that it wasn't her time. She felt that she was meant to hang around on the planet and learn and experience life for awhile longer so she was stopped from prematurely making her exit. I feel that the same was the case with my husband. I think he and I were meant to journey through at least part of our lives together and it was very important for both of us that it be this way.
I know many people don't believe in this sort of thing and will concoct some sort of "logical" explanation (e.g., they both heard the cars and reacted to the sound on an unconscious level) and that's okay. If someone is so frightened of the idea that the world and our experiences may not be defined entirely by sensory stimuli and neurological processing of that stimuli, they can make up any explanation they want to sooth themselves. However, making up experiences that didn't happen in order to more comfortably explain what actually did happen is just as fanciful as speculating on the metaphysical. It's just a matter of being open-minded about the possibility of "sixth senses" or not.