From a Corner of Somewhere

ユーラシアを北から南まで旅した記録 日本語と英語で書いてます。 Traveling From the North to the South of Eurasia

No.8 Giraffes in Saint Petersburg

When I was a primary school student, I was often confused about Russia and Germany. That was probably because I hardly understood not only the conflict between East and West Germany but also the cold war between USA and the Soviet Union. Therefore I regarded Russia as a “bad and cruel” country because of the wicked impression of the Nazis and socialism. As time goes by and study world history, this misunderstanding had disappeared. However, because we seldom get the information about Russia from TV programs and magazines while staying in Japan, my impression of Russia is still mysterious and the capital city Moscow is the center of mystery. Taking ferry and trains for total 14days from Sakaiminato port, finally I got to there.Different from my expectation, however, the time I got there was the most exciting scene. I put my bag in the youth hostel and went to some famous tourist site, such as Red square and the Kremlin, but hadn’t been thrilled than I had expected. Of course I found some interested things such as Russian style buildings and delicate decorations, I wasn't impressed by them. I have been traveling in many foreign countries as a backpacker and might feel less fascinated by crowded places now. Needless to say, I am one of them who just enjoy foreign cultures and histories and don’t have the right to say such a selfish thing.

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I finished staying in Moscow for only 2 days, and went to Saint Petersburg the next morning. You can feel the European atmosphere there. Although I saw some asian people in Moscow except for tourists, I have hardly seen them here. There are many things make me associate with capitalism I’ve seldom seen so far, such as sports cars, workers who give us product samples and mobile-style coffee shop on the streets. Shops, restaurant and houses are not inferior to big cities in Western Europe. I didn’t have any specific plans on the day, but I decided to go to the Isaac cathedral located in the city center because I heard that I can see the beautiful sunset from its observation platform. I was wandering in the city in the daytime and went to the cafe near the cathedral for reading the book a friend of mine gave me. Before I left Japan, I visited Kyoto to meet my university friends. We were talking about my journey and going to Europe by Siberian Railroad, and she gave me the book that she had by chance. Mari Yonehara, the author of this book, is a Japanese-Russian simultaneous interpreter and has a big love for Russia and its cultures. Her articles are witty and including deep insight, so I was going on reading it. If I have some knowledge and experiences like her, I can see and experience this country differently. Traveling in one country, and in one culture would tell us what they are all about. On the other hand, Traveling in many countries and in different cultures gives us only chances to just scratch their surface. I have to think how to travel and what I really want to know and experience within the plenty of time.

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When The sun went down deeply, I went to the observation platform. Lots of people came here to see the whole city. When I looked far away, I found more or less 20 yellow cranes near the riverside. They looked like a group of giraffes raising their head. Although they were not suitable for this beautiful city because of their present industrial design, I was fascinated with how strange they are. I pictured that the big machines looks like giraffes invade and eat this historic city messily. Tourists around me didn’t recognize them. It’s only natural because they are unsuitable objects here. Nobody knows me here. Nobody mind where I go and what I do, let alone forcing me doing something. I can be interested in anything and moved by what the other people don't pay attention to.

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Seeing off the sun sinking into the buildings, I went back to the hostel by a roundabout way. I might find something interesting.

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