Lines of Sight ~それぞれのアジアへの視線~
海外フィールドワーク引率ブログ2007 > 2007年07月 アーカイブ

Day 129 Urumuqi, China (Silk Road)

July 27, 1pm

Japanese in Romaji
Ima, Chuugoku seibu no Silk Road no machi Urumuqi no internet cafe de koreo kaite imasu. Nihogo ga utezu, yominikui to omoimasuga, goryooshoo kudasai.

I am writing this in an internet cafe in Urumuqi city in western China on Silk Road. Because there is no pc which has Japanese font, I am writing this only by roman caractor. Pleaes perdon me.

wareware ikkoo wa 7gatsu 12nichi, Nepal kara Chuugoku no Tibet jichiku, Lhasa ni idoo, sosite 7gatsu 16nichi niwa Seito toiu machi ni utsuriasita. sokode group wa ittan kaisan tonari, genzai, gakusei wa sorezore kakuji no yotei ni sitagatte zenkoku ni tirabatte imasu. nihi ni iru watasi to higashi ni iru gakusei dewa sonokyori yaku 2000km wa hanarete imasunode, Chuugoku no hirosa o kanjimasu.
Our group entered in China through Lhasa of Tibet on July 12th, and forwarded to Chengdu on July 16th. Then our group was spled and each student are now in their own selected town. The distance between me in the far west and some students in the east is about 2000km. Seeing this big figure, I can feel how big the Chinese land is.

Lhasa, Tonkoo nado de satsuei sita shasin o nosetainodesuga, kokono computer wa shasin data o yomikomanaitame, gojitsu aratamete nosemasu.
I wanted to update some photos of Lhasa, Dun Huang, etc, but this pc can't read photo data. So, let me try later again in Shanghai.

Kyoowa konoato, uchi Mongole ni idoo yotei de, sokonimo computer wa naitame, tsugino kooshin wa Aug/1 Shanghai ikoo to narimasu. Sonotoki ni ikki ni koosin simasunode, omachi kudasai !!
I am moving to Inner Mongolia today. There, there is no internet place, so next update will be only after Aug./1 when I will be in Shanghai. I'll try to update as many stories and photos as possible, so please wait for it.

海外フィールドワーク引率ブログ2007 > 2007年07月 アーカイブ

Day 112 ネパール・カトマンズ from Kathmandu, Nepal


My students organized and held their photo exhibition in Jorpati, about 40 minutes drive from Kathmandu, a capital city of Nepal, from July 6th to 8th for 3 days. The exhibition was held in a school, city office compound, etc. For more details, please see the students’ blog. Many local people visited and it was very impressive and good exhibition.


For me, the behind of the scene was much interesting and impressive. There were many interruption between people, history, politics, passion, coincident, and many “first time” kind of matter etc which met on one spot. Especially the last day of the exhibition was the case.

Well, the morning of the last day on July 8th.

We got urgent information that we needed to change the place of the exhibition today.


I was wondered what was going on. Top news on a newspaper of the following day was:-
“PM observes Bhoto Jatra. Break with tradition” (July 9, 2007, The Kathmandu Post)

According to the article, a traditional event of 1300 years of history to wish the good harvest and rain has been receiving a King as a guest as a head of the nation. However, this tradition since 7th century ended and has a prime minister, not a king, as a head of the nation for the first time in its history. Due to the change, government offices, schools, etc were to be closed on that day suddenly. That was the reason why the photo exhibition place, a school, was also closed on that particular day and my students needed to find a different place urgently.



If the king was accepted as a head of the nation just like before, my students did not have to change their exhibition place. If it was in Japan, it was something like an event which has been there since Heian Period ended on July 8 of 2007 after 1300 years of history. I was thus so surprised to know the reason for the student to change the place of the exhibition.

Just for your information, 2 days later on July 11th, the top news on the paper was “King, royals to reeive no allowance in Rs 170b budget” (The Kathmandu Post)

そこで新たな会場となったのが、ボーダナート(Bouddanath Stupa)という仏教寺院だった。世界遺産にも登録されているネパール最大の仏塔を持つ寺院で、参拝者も絶えない立派なお寺である。

Anyway, the newly place for the exhibition was at the compound of “Bouddanath Stupa”, the World Heritage site and the biggest Buddhism tower in Nepal where many people visit throughout.


その寺院の現住職の息子さん(お寺のNo.2の方。Mr. Kiran Kumar Lamaさん、以下、キランさん。)が、学生の急なお願いにもかかわらず、写真展開催の許可等、全てのお取り計らいをして下さったが、この方のお話を聞いて驚いた。

The son of the top monk (Mr. Kiran Kumar Lama, a No. 2 of the temple, Vice Secretary)
kindly accepted my student’ urgent request and did all the documentation etc for the student to have their exhibition there. Then, I was so surprised to hear Mr. Kiran’s story.

Mr. Kiran Kumar Lamaさん。おじいさんの像と。
Mr. KIran Kumar Lama standing infront of a stature of his grand father


Believe or not, when Mr. Ekai Kawaguchi (a Japanese monk, 1866-1945) was on a way to Tibet from Japan about 100 years ago to look for the original Buddhism script, he stoped by “Bouddanath Stupa” by introduced by someone and he was taken care of by Mr. Kiran’s grand father. There was a plate in the temple to show the gratitude of Kiran’s grandfater’s kindness and protection of Mr. Ekai Kawaguchi. Ekai was also the first Japanese who visited Nepal. But there was no airplane 100 years ago…. (He left Kobe, Japan in 1897 by ship and went through Kolkata and Vanarasi in India, Nepal, and Tibet through Himalaya Mountains on foot to Lhasa, China. He was 31 years old at that time. He stayed in Tibet for 3 years.)

The plate says:-

河口慧海 1866-1945

The Beginning of the Friendship between Nepal and Japan
Ekai Kawaguchi 1866-1945
Ekai Kawaguchi, the first Japanese who visited Nepal in February 1899 on his way to Tibet seeking sutras, stayed here in Bouddanath under the protection of Buddha Bajra Lama. He finally entered Tibet after having experienced hardship of many kinds and brought many valuable sutras home to Japan. In performing this great task, he received th ewarm cooperation of many Nepali including Buddha Bajra Lama.
In this spot visited by Ekai Kawaguchi, the first Japanese to visit Nepal, this monument was erected in gratitude towards Nepal ad the people of this country in the wish for a permanent friendship between the citizens of Nepal and Japan.

Mr. Kiran and the plate

カトマンズの書店で慧海関連の本を捜すと、「Three Years in Tibet」という本を見つけた。キランさんのおじいさんのことが書かれてないかと、どきどきしながらページをめくると、「慧海を庇護してくれ、さらに、チベットへの秘密ルートなども教えてくれ、キランさんのおじいさんに出会ったことは幸運だった」との記載があった。
I found a book written by Ekai Kawaguchi at a book shop in Kathmandu. I was kind a excited to turn the pages of the book to find out if any lines about Mr. Kiran’s grandfather. Then, I found. It said that Buddha Vajra took care of Ekai and under his protection, he showed special favors and secret path to Tibet. “I was in luck again”, he said.


100 yeas after Ekai Kawaguchi, my students met Mr. Kiran. And with his favor and decision, the students got a permission to held the exhibition at the temple where Ekai stayed. And this photo exhibition must be the first one by Japanese (or even by anyone else) ever done there. What’s a coincident!!


In order to introduce the exhibition on local newspapers, we visited 2 companies. Below is the one episode at one of the company, The Kathmandu Post

ちょうど昼時ということもあり、オフィスに人はまばらだった。たまたまオフィスにいて我々の話を聞いてくれたのが、同社幹部のMr. Peter J. Karthak氏だった。このピーターさん、学生(祐希)が手渡した写真展のチラシを受け取るや、彼女の説明を聞く前に、「それでは記者を派遣すればいいですね」と言ってくださった。私と祐希の方が驚いてしまうほどの即決であった。アロハシャツにジーパンというネパールでは考えられないほどラフな格好のピーターさん、聞くと、ジャーナリストとしての他、小説家・大学教授・音楽家・ラジオDJなど、実に多様な経歴を持つ方で、ネパール人として初めて英語による小説を出版した作家でもあった。我々の突然の訪問にも非常に好意的に接して下さり、翌日にはカトマンズ・ポストの記者が取材に来てくれた。このピーターさんに出会わなかったら、写真展のことが新聞に載ることも難しかったであろう。

It was around lunch time when we visited the office. There was not many people there. Then one gentleman, Mr. Peter J. Karthak, a director of the firm, kindly met us. Then right after my student Yuki gave one pamphlet to him, Mr. Peter just told us that he would send a reporter to the exhibition before my student asked him to do so. It was so quick decision that we were rather surprised at his quickness. His outlook was aloha shirt and jeans. Such a casual look unlike normal Nepal people. He is a journalist, novelist, teacher at colleges, musician, radio DJ, etc. He was the first Nepali who published a novel written in English language. He welcomed us although we visited him without any appointment. But he actually sent his reporter to the exhibition as he promised. Without meeting Mr. Peter, it was not realized for the students to see their article on the local paper.

World Through the Japanese Lens, The Kathmandu Post, July 7, 2007

Lastly, about my students.

The students said nothing very special, but for my eyes, it was like reaching “a peak of our fieldwork course” kind of feeling for me.

What was amazing? Place they sleep was something amazed.


When I visited my students in Jorpati, I was so shocked. Their place to stay was a building which was no longer used. No bed, of courser. I was surprised to see my students sleeping on the floor directly or on the carton box. It was like homeless people occupying an old house illegally to live there. I know my students used to enjoy even fashion when they were in Tokyo, but now their life style was like homeless. They said nothing special. However myself as their lecturer, it was quite complicated feeling to see my students who became unnecessary tough in this kind of situation. I did not cry tears, but if other school people see them, they could even cry seeing them. That’s why I said earlier that it was like reaching “a peak of our fieldwork course” kind of feeling for me.

Below are their photos


Kimijima pretending to sleep. But he looked like unidentified dead person. I tried to take good photos in vain. Kimijima said, “Bending my leg may be the reason?”. I thought everything was the problem and reason. Anyway, I took again in vain.



Yuki sleeping on carton box. I don’t know where she got it from, but she uses long cloth to rap her body. Kimijima said seeing Yuki:- “She looks like sacrifice or something.”


“If my mother sees this untidy room, she must get mad on me…”, Fujimori said. But before that, I thought that if her mother sees her daughter sleeping on a carton box, she should say her daughter to come back to Japan.


“It is really ‘a man thing’ to sleep without taking the shoes off”, said Hatakeyama proud his style. But to me, he was like a drunker sleeping on a road…..


Well, this was myself sleeping on the floor.

The behind of the scene of the exhibition was something like that as I explained as above. It was unforgettable one for me.


海外フィールドワーク引率ブログ2007 > 2007年07月 アーカイブ

Day 102 インドからネパールへ from India to Nepal

We arrived safe at Kathmandu, a capital city of Nepal, on June 30th from India. On board announcement, “temperature of Kathmandu now is 29 degree centigrade” sounded to my ears so cool and nice especially like to our ears who had to struggle against serious heat wave for 3 good weeks. I was so released hearing the announcement.

Took off from Delhi International Airport


Kathmandu in mountains

Arrival at Kathmandu International Airport, a capital city of Nepal

Then arrived at a hotel in town

The size of Nepal is about only twice as big as our Hokkaido island of Japan, or 150 thousand square kilo meters. Kathmandu, a capital city, locates the same altitude as Amami Island of Japan, but due to high altitude of 1300 meters above sea level and surrounded by mountain, max temperature reaches only up to 30 degree centigrade. Myself, thus wear long trousers and shoes after a long interval. No air-con is needed in the evening, too. There are many souvenir shops and mountain gear shops displaying pictures of Mt. Everest which reminds me of this nation as the Himalaya mountain country. There are cows on streets, but people are rather soft and streets are not that noisy unlike Indian streets, which I feel like being relieved.

After checking in the hotel, we went to town to eat Japanese food.

By the way, the hottest topic in Nepal today is about election, the constituent assembly election, planned to be held on Nov. 22.

(All quoted from The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post, July 3,4, 2007)

This election is to vote for members of their parliament who will then write a new constitution. This is for the nation which was ruled by a King for a long period the first political event ever in their history. You may see their high and positive expectation of the election by reading words on their newspapers, such as, “Historic”, “new Nepal”, “vote your destiny”, “justice, peace and democracy for the people”, “where no one will be king or minion, where people will rule themselves”, etc.

(All quoted from The Rising Nepal, The Kathmandu Post, July 3,4, 2007)

Last year June. We, the 1st Fieldwork course students, were not sure if we could visit Nepal due to political chaos, but 1 year has passed since then. Among 25 million population, about 54% of them are illiterate according to the 2001 national senses. Under such condition, the concrete actions for the successful election have started including to notify and inform how to vote especially those who live in a remote area.

Constitution Assembly election in Nepal, presidential election in Indian, and Upper House election in Japan. Many big political events in many countries are now on the line.

And this was the article about Japan in newspaper here after such a long time.... What was he talking about!!! Such a shame.

All photos taken by Olympus myu770SW

海外フィールドワーク引率ブログ2007 > 2007年07月 アーカイブ

Day 101 インド最終日(ニューデリーより) The Last Day in India, from New Delhi

June 29, the last day in India.

All of students got together again in New Delhi on June 28 after 3 weeks since our group spread in Chennai on June 9. All the students arrived at New Delhi without any sickness, injury, nor accident. They became sun tuned and looked healthy. Kimijima even got weight. I was even suspicious seeing him if he was in other country than India secretly. Mr. Kumakura, a director of the school, and Mr. Kawasaki came all the way from Tokyo to visit us in New Delhi to see the condition of the students. Thank you so much for coming.

In front of the hotel in New Delhi

With a cow just near the hotel in New Delhi

Dinner with all of us. Thank you Mr. Kumakura and Mr. Kawaski for such nice dinner!

21 years old birthday party for 2 girls in the evening.

For me who has been considering India as the most difficult and tough destination among the all countries we visit during our Fieldwork trip, seeing all my students coming back to New Delhi without any problem was such a relief. Mr. Saito’s story, one of my male student, may be the only story I was surprised.

According to him, he took a 3rd class train from Kolkata to Varanasi, but it was completely packed and did not have any empty seat, and, of course, no air-con. So he had to stand throughout for 14 hours. Where? In front of the toilet! He was former rugby player. Even such tough boy got muscle pull on his leg after so many hours of standing. Myself, I took 2nd class sleeping train (3 storey bed without air-con) the other day and it was so tiresome. So, I can’t even imagine how tough it was to stand for 14 hours in front of a toilet….. I have wrote and told many times so far, but Saito’s experience remind me of how much our Fieldwork requires physical toughness. (If next year students read this, I strongly recommend you to fit your body and physical condition while you are in Japan.)

Well, next destination for us will be Nepal. Farewell to the heat wave and curry! I am very curious as to what kind of journey it will be there.


All photos taken by Olympus myu770SW