2. Something wants to say

Travel in the U.S.A.

I'm going to tell my trip in the US this month. It was 5 years ago, and it was my first trip abroad. I almost couldn't speak English at that time, and I didn't learn so much about the US before I arrived.

When my flight landed at JFK airport in NY, I was going to rent a car. Of course, I'd already booked a car before I left Japan. However, I thought there would be a rent-a-car office in the airport terminal building at that time. When I was looking for the rent-a-car office in the terminal building having a black bag in front of my chest with my both hands, a very tall black man who was in black suits called to me to stop. He was really tall and seemed sturdy, so I thought if he had punched me on my head, my head would have had to be broken. He asked me what I was doing, and I answered I was looking the rent-a-car office. Then, he asked me where I was going by car. After I answered "Los Angeles", he suddenly started to scold me with the words "You are crazy!", pointing his forefinger at his head. He pushed my back, and pointed at a exit, telling me something loudly. Since I was able to catch the word "shuttle bus", I was able to imagine that there is a bus stop to go to rent-a-car office to the direction that he pointed at. However, since I almost couldn't understand what he said, I had to asked where the bus stop is, to another man.

I really didn't learn about the US before arriving, because I was very busy. What I did before arriving were booking air tickets, booking a rental car, buying a road map of the US and buying a guide book. Therefore, after I rented a car, I started to see the map and read the guide book. In addtion, my English skill was not good. Therefore, I'd not known where I'd been for about 30 minutes since I left the rent-a-car office. Because the roads in NY city was very complecated, I wanted to get out as soon as possible. After I found my location, I took the free way to Niagara Falls, my first destination. On the free way, I couldn't understand what "Exit" means. Therefore, I thought the numbers next to "Exit" was the free way number, and unfortunately there was the exit number that was the same as the free way number I was taking. When I took the Exit, I realized what "Exit" means at last. The exit was about 20 miles away from NY city, it was about 12 p.m. Because I found a gas station and had a sleeping bag, I decide to park my car there and stay in my car that night.

Where I stayed at a motel for the first time was Buffalo. I memolized the sentence, "May I have a room for tonight?",and procedures to check in a motel that were explained in my guide book, and I succeeded to check in. I'd also succeeded to fill up the gas tank of my car at a gas stasion, memolizing the sentence, "Fill it up with pump No. X, please.", that was explained in my guide book. I realized I don't need to have my good English skill to travle in the US by car. I went to a AAA (American Automobile Association) office, because my guide book said I can have some services, for example road maps, motel guides and so on, free of charge with my JAF (Japan Automobile Federation) card. TripTik that they gave me was very useful. I was able to know where information centers are and what there are around exits on the way to Los Angeles.

Travel in Germany

It might be strange to write about a trip almost 1 year ago. I've started to work on my home page again recently. And one of my favorites is traveling. Therefore, I decided to write about the trip in Germany.

I traveled in Germany in June, 2001. It was 2 weeks trip.

My flight landed in Frankfurt, and went sightseeing there next day. What amazed me there was the one of some beggars I met there. She spoke to me in German at first to beg for money. I understood what she said, but I told her I couldn't understand German in German. Then, she suddenly started to speak "English"! Beggars in Frankfurt seem intelligent.

When I traveled from Frankfurt to Muenchen, I took the Europe bus. The fare wasn't expensive, because I had German Rail Pass. However, I didn't think it's a good choice, because I spent most of the day time in the bus. (more than 350km, including highway 150km)

What I had decided before I arrived in Germany was going to Muenchen by Europe bus (Romantic Road) and Schloss Neuschwanstein (castle). After finishing them, I went to Innsbruck because I wanted to use Austria Schilling that I couldn't use up when I visited Austria before, and then Ulm. I went to the restaurant in a small and cheap hotel (very cheap! around JPN$2,500 but good!) where I stayed in Ulm. While I was trying to order in German because a waitress couldn't speak English well, an old couple offered me to help in English. They were very kind to explain menu in English, and recommend some meals and drink. When they asked my travel plan, I told them it's nothing special. I'd just decided to take the Europe bus and go to Schloss Neuschwanstein, before coming to Germany, because they were widely explained in guide books and photos of the castle were very beautiful. And castles of Hohenzollern and Heidelberg, Schwrzwald (forest) and KD Rhein (river cruise) seem famous to Japanese, and I also wanted to go to Swizerland a bit, so I explained them I might go to those sites. However, the old man told me Schloss Neuschwanstein is just a new castle, and doesn't have old history. Hohenzollern is newer that it. Heidelberg is the only one that is worth for sightseeing in three I explained although he doesn't like it so much because there are too many travelers from abroad due to the location close to Frankfurt.

I realized that castles in Germany that Japanese loves and German loves seem different. Since they also recommended me to go to Hamburg and Berlin, I decided to visit there although I hadn't intended to go to the northern part of Germany before that.

The most favorite site of mine was Potsdam. I went there, because a man I talked in a train from Hamburg to Berlin recommend me to go there. If you have a chance, I strongly recommend you to walk to Schloss Sanssouci (palace) from the Potsdam station (1.5km). Don't take a bus. Get to Brandenburger Tor (gate) first and take the street, am Guenen Gitter. When you approach the palace, the scenery of the beautiful and great garden in front of the palace will be spreading in your field of view, and you'll have to be moved a bit.

(date : April, 2002)


Beginning of Japan (History)

I wrote some stories related with old history of Japan at "2.x Beginning of Japan (History)", because I'm very curious about and interested in when and how Japan started. Some of what I wrote is well known to most Japanese, but the other is not known. I hope those are interesting and useful for topics when you talk in the second language you're learning.

(date : March, 2001)


Travel Argentina

I traveled Argentina on February 2 - 18. Because my friend live in Buenos Aires, I was there on weekends and visited other places by myself in weekdays while he was working.

While staying in Buenos Areis, my friend and one of his family showed me around Buenos Aires by their car. They also took me to Tigre by train and we joined cruise tour in canal. In addition, I went to La Plata and Lujan by train, and Colonia in Uruguay by ferry, by myself.

On Feb. 5 - 9 of weekdays, I visited Iguazu National Park (Water Falls) and Trinidad Ruins in Paraguay. I moved by airplane only once to fly to Puerto Iguazu from Buenos Aires. Except that, I took inter-city buses.

On Feb. 12 - 16, I visited Los Glaciares N.P. and Torres del Paine N.P. Between Buenos Aires and Rio Gallegos, I took airplanes, and among Rio Gallegos, El Calafate and Puerto Natares in Chile, I took inter-city buses. Anyway, it was an excellent experience to trek on glacier in Los Glaciares NP.

(date : March 4, 2001)


My Travel Plan

I don't know if it'll come true, but I'm planing to travel in South-East Asia. The reason why I'm choosing this area is that travel expenses aren't expensive and flight time isn't so long.

I'm at a loss whether to go on a package tour given by travel agency or by myself. I usually prefer traveling by myself, especially using English. However, there are few people who can speak English there except Philippines and Singapore. It is supposed that I have some hard time to travel there. In the case of package tours, I'll be able to travel famous sites effectively.

Because this is my first time to travel in South-East Asia and Thailand seems to have a lot of nice sites, I'm thinking of package tours. I've found a package tour to travel Singapore, Bangkok(Thailand) and Hong Kong(China). If it comes true, I'll report my trip. If you have any suggestion, please tell me!

(date : May 6, 2000)


Picture from my friend

When I got a e-mail from one of my friends, there was the picture on the left side on the back ground. She sometimes seems to go to the SUMA aquarium to help with the work there as a volunteer. When I read the word "volunteer" in her mail, I looked back on my volunteer activity in KOBE with nostalgia. My friend who sent me the e-mail was also a member of this volunteer activity. Do you know or remember the big earthquake happened in KOBE, Japan?

(date : April, 2000)


The World Cup Soccer

I watched all Japan's games at the World Cup on TV. I thought Japanese team played balanced games against Argentina and Croatia. But it's a pity that Japan didn't win the game against Jamaica.

Croatia checked Mr. Nakata with 2 or 3 persons when he had a ball. I felt that Croatia did their best although Croatia is stronger than Japan. Therefore, Croatia beat Japan although Japan played with 120%. I thought that Japanese team did not have such spirit when they played with Jamaica.

(date : June, 1998)