ただいまー日本!  Japan, I'm home!

Web 40日間のわくわくスリランカ・バックパックの旅を終えて、初春(まだ寒い><!)の日本へ帰って来ました。これからしばらくは、白や黄色や紫の小さな花たちが一番きれいな時期でもあります。畑作業が楽しみ (花粉症さえ出なければ><)!

After 40 days of exciting and interesting backpacking trip in Sri Lanka, I am back to Japan in its early spring. It is still very cold but it's the season you can appreciate the beauty of small white, yellow and purple flowers blooming here and there. Wonderful season for farm works (except the pollen alergy><).


→ 「バックパックの旅:スリランカ(Backpacking trip in Sri Lanka)」

Traavel journal from Sri Lanka is organized in a neww category "Backpack trip in Sri Lanka" and put in order of the dates from top to bottom. Link above.

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20年ぶりのバックパック旅行第2弾:スリランカへ! Backpacking trip after 20 years part II: Sri Lanka!

Image 11月のラオス旅行に引き続き、20年ぶりのバックパック旅行第2弾は、スリランカへ(1月17日に到着しました)! スリランカでは、楽しみにしていることがいっぱいです。写真は高原地帯の町ハプタレの素敵な宿、ABCゲストハウスのテラス。

After the trip to Laos in November, now I am enjoying (from 17th of Jan) my second part of the backpacking trip after 20 years. Now in Sri Lanka! There are long list of things that I am looking forward to enjoy. Photo is a misty morning view from the terrace of cosy ABC Guest house in Haputare in the Hill Country.


Meeting those very nice people I met on the Ship for World Youth program a year ago, feel as much as I can the life of people, eat local food, meet animals (especially elephants!), see and feel the culture-religion-history of the country, train ride in the hill country, walking through tea fields, enjoy sunny beaches and if possible witness what the internal conflict that ended in 2009 left in the society.


Free Wifi is not as common as in Laos and some of the budget guest houses do not have it. I will still do my best to update the weblog!


This is my new gadget for traveling, a potable keyboard. This helps me a lot and make me feel so easy in writing weblog articles and e-mails!

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スリランカの友人たちと再会(その1) Meeting Sri Lankan friends 1

Image 第24回世界青年の船で素敵なスリランカの青年たちに出会ったのは、ちょうど1年前のこと。船上での彼ら彼女らとの交流や、寄港地として訪れたスリランカでの思い出が、今回のスリランカ旅行のきっかけです。彼らの言葉や行動から、人とのつながりをとても大切にしていることが感じられ印象に残りました。

It was just one year ago when I met very nice Sri Lankan youths on the 24th Ship for World Youth (SWY) program. The wonderful time I spent with them on the ship and the time I enjoyed very much in the port of call activities in Sri Lanka made me strongly feel like to come and know about their country more.

One strong impression I got from the SWY Sri Lankan participants was that they really value the relationships or connectedness with their family, friends and other people.



The delegation leader Chml had been helping me organize this trip and he came to pick me up at the airport. Thank you so much Chml!

Abdl, another participant of my course (Sustainability and Prosperity) gave me a city tour, helped me do some shopping (for my broken charger of iPod..) and took me to a nice cafe and good local restaurant. He majored in economics and now works as journalist/consultant. We have some common interests and enjoyed conversations a lot. Thanks Abdl!

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スリランカの涼しい高原地帯へ To the Sri Lanka's chilly highlands

Image_2 コロンボでのSWY(世界青年の船)生たちとの再会と1日準備デーの後、最初の目的地を高原地帯にセット!キャンディーという有名な古都まで3時間のバス旅をして1泊し、キャンディーからは高原列車の旅です!

After one day of meeting SWY(Ship for World Youth) members and preparation in Colombo I set the first destination to the Hill Country. There was a three-hour-bus ride to the old Capital city of Kandy and a night stay there in YMCA before starting an interesting and picturesque highland train ride next morning.

Image_3 キャンディーからヌワラエリヤまでの約4時間と、その先でスリランカ最高地点の駅パティポラから乗ったハプタレまでの1時間ほどで、高原列車の旅を楽しみました。写真は、最高地点パティポラ駅に到着する列車と緑の多いハプタレ駅。

Image_4 I enjoyed train rides between Kandy and Nuwara Eliya, one of the most popular tourist destination in the hill country (4 hours), and from Pattipora, the highest point of Sri Lankan railways, to Haputare (1 hour). Photo: A train arriving to the misty Pattipora station and the green decorated Haputare station.

Image_5 林を抜け、お茶畑の間を走り、はては山の稜線を走る区間まであり、車窓からの眺めに目が離せません。

The view from the train window was beautiful and sometime quite exciting. It goes through forests, tea plantations, hill slopes and sometime even ridge of the mountain!

Image_6 林を抜け、お茶畑の間を走り、はては山の稜線を走る区間まであり、車窓からの眺めに目が離せません。

The view from the train window was beautiful and sometime quite exciting. It goes through forests, tea plantations, hill slopes and sometime even ridge of the mountain! or just standing at the passage and enjoyed, on top of the views from the window, watching vendors and local passengers coming and going.

このあたりは、思っていたよりもずっと涼しい! 日本を出た時の服装が役に立っています!

The area is much chillier than I thought and the clothing which I left winter Japan with was proven very useful!

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世界の果てへ To the World's End!

Image_7 ヌワラエリヤの宿からツアーで行ってきました「世界の果て」という名前の景勝地"World's End"! ホートンプレイン国立公園の中にある断崖絶壁で、高さはなんと1000メートルを超える! 公園の入り口からその真上まで歩いて行くことができます。

Image_8 I took a tour from the guest house in Nuwara Eliya and went to the World's End, an art, beauty and wonder of the nature in Horton Plains National Park. It is a cliff of over 1000 meters and you can walk to the top edge of it from the park entrance.

Image_9 途中の景色もとてもきれい。特に、ベイカーの滝を経由する帰り道は素晴らしかった。絶壁自体は、珍しくてすごい体験だけれど、ちょっと怖すぎ!><

Image_10 The walk itself was very nice and with beautiful scenaries, especially the path on the way back via Baker's Fall. The World's End itself was amazing but it was too scary for me!

Image_11 朝10時を過ぎると雲がかかってしまうと言われていたとおり、帰りには崖を登るように雲が迫ってきました。日が当たっているうちは暑く、ちょっと陰ると寒い・・。

Image_12 As the guide books warned, the weather changed quite dramatically after around 10 AM and the cloud rolled in to the area. It was hot under the sun and cold when the cloud covered it.


The area looked like a patch work of forest and grass areas and I was wondering why. An explanation at the information center at the entrance said it might be because of the cultivation of grains at one period in the history (old time I remember but not exactly when..).

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高原地帯の町ヌワラエリヤの風景 People's life in a hill country town Nuwara Eliya

Image_13 スリランカの高原地帯で一番人気の町の一つがここヌワラエリヤ。標高が1889メートルととても高くて、朝晩は寒いくらいの涼しさです。イギリスの植民地時代に避暑地として栄えたそうで、今でもイギリス風の建物がいくつも残っており、リトル・イングランドとも呼ばれるそう。

Image_14 > Nuwara Eliya is one of the most popular town for tourists in the hill country located 1889 meters above sea level. It is cool and even cold in the mornings and evenings. The British used the place during their colonial era for their summer houses and you can still see some buildings from that period. The town is sometime called "Little England".

Image_15 滞在が短かったのと、天気があまり良くなかったので、そういう建物の写真を撮ることはできませんでした。ここでは、街や人々の様子を少しだけ写真で紹介したいと思います。

Image_16 The stay was too short and the weather was not good to have nice photos of those buildings. Here are some photos of the town as the people live it now.

Image_17 一番面白かった、そして美味しかったのはこちら。町の食堂から何とも軽快なリズムが聞こえてくるのでのぞいてみると・・・。パスタで作るチャーハンのような食べ物コットゥでした。見事な包丁使いと、最高の味! 近い内に、ビデオで紹介したいと思います。

One thing I enjoyed most was this. I was very much attracted by the very rhythmical percussion-like sound from a small restaurant where I found this. It was Kottu, minced fried pasta. Such a artistic technique of using knives and it was also very tasty! I will upload a video some time soon (hopefully!)

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紅茶工場訪問 Visiting a tea factory

Image ハプタレの町から、リプトン紅茶で有名な紅茶工場とお茶園地帯を訪れてきました。

Haputale is a good base to visit tea factories, including a famous one founded by Sir Thomas Lipton.

現在は、地名をとってDambatenne Tea Factoryとなっていて、リプトンは(他のいくつかのバイヤーと並んで)ここから紅茶を仕入れパックしてリプトンブランドで売るという関係になっているそう。

Now Lipton buys tea from this factory and pack them to sell with Lipton's label, as other buyers do with their brands.

Image_2 工場内は撮影禁止だったので、写真が無いのですが、説明も詳しくとても面白かったです。これまで全然理解していなかった紅茶の等級について理解できました。

Cameras were not allowed in the factory and I can not show photos here but the explanation was quite in detail and it was very interesting. I have finally learned the grade of the black tea.


The thing that stayed in my mind most was about the wage of tea pickers. They fill a bag with 18 kilos of tea leaves and bring it to the factory. They receive 550 Rupees for a bag. About 4 dollars and 40 cents. I have picked tea leaves at my garden and I know how long it takes even to collect 100 grams of these thin and light leaves. Collecting 18 kilos sounds unimaginably hard. And you get 4.4 USD after the hard day work!><

Image_3 いきは町から10キロほどをバスで行ったのですが、工場からの帰りは一緒に行ったイギリス人夫婦、スイス人男性と歩いて帰ることに。おかげで、お茶畑の間を歩いたり、お茶摘みの人たちに話しかけたり、学校帰りの子どもたちと話すことまでできてとても楽しかったです。

We, a British couple, a Swiss guy and me, took a bus on the way for 10 kilo meters from the town and hiked back from the factory. It was very nice walking through the tea plantations, say hello to tea picking women and even talk to kids going home from school.


These people are Tamil Sri Lankan (about 18% of the population). They are mostly descendants of Tamils brought from India for the tea plantations. I asked the kids if there are any Sinhalas in their school and the answer was "None".


In the middle of beautiful highlands and around the sweet sensed tea factories, there are very bitter social issues of ethnicity and poverty.

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ハプタレのゲストハウス Guest Houses in Haputale

Image_4 高原地帯訪問の2番目の基地はハプタレという町でした。1日目は、午後の到着で遠出はできず、ホテル(スリラックビュー・リゾートイン)でブログ記事を書いたり、同宿者とビールを飲みながらおしゃべりしたりして過ごしました。

The second base town in the hill country after Nuwara Eliya was Haputale. As it was a bit too late to go out of the town when I arrived, I spent from the late afternoon at the hotel (Sri Lak View Resort Inn) writing weblog articles, chatting with fellow travelers and drinking with them.

Image_5 日本語のガイドブックにも英語のにもおすすめの宿になっていて、期待して行ってみると、確かに設備はとても整っているのですが、建物をどんどん増築中でビジネスを拡張し過ぎ。バックパッカーではない一般の観光客を対象にしているようだし、サービスの質が追いついてない印象を受けました。少なくとも私が心地良くゆっくりできる雰囲気ではない。(写真は、2軒目の宿ABCでの美味しい夕食と部屋)

Image_6 The hotel was recommended in both Japanese and English guide books and it actually had good facilities but it was, from my point of view, expanding the buildings and the business too much. It seemed to target rather ordinary tourists than backpackers and their service was not catching up with the pace of expansions. It was not the place I felt relaxed and felt like to stay longer. (Photo: Tasty dinner at the 2nd night's stay in ABC GH and its room)

Image_7 別の町へ移動することも考えましたが、このホテルのすぐ近くにこちらはファミリー経営っぽい落ち着けそうな宿(ABCゲストハウス)を見つけたので、こちらへ移ってもう1泊することに。1泊1000円ちょっとと、予算を超えてしまうのが残念なのですが、これまでのところこれくらいの値段が一般的のよう。宿は、オーナー夫妻もとても感じが良く、子どももかわいい。部屋や階段、バスルームもとてもきれい。そしてかわいらしいテラスがあるのも魅力的です。

Image_8 Luckily I found a nice family run guest house (ABC Guest House) nearby and decided to stay the second night there. The owner couple were very nice people and they had a fun kid. Their rooms, stairs and bathrooms were all very clean and it had a very attractive small terrace.

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大学での講義&友人たちと再会(その2)Lectures at a university and meeting Sri Lankan friends 2

Image_9 高原地帯の町ハプタレからバスで1時間ほどの所に、サバラガムワ大学があります。今回の旅の日程作りを手伝ってくれている世界青年の船つながりの人のつてで、学生たちにお話をさせてもらえることになりました。経済学部生向けの英語での講義と、日本語学部生向けの日本語での講義の2回。
Sabaragamuwa University is in the city of Belihul Oya about one hour bus ride from Haputale and I was very honored to be invited as a guest speaker for its students, thanks to the Ship for World Youth (SWY) contact who is helping me organize my trip in Sri Lanka. One lecture was for the economics students in English and the other for Japanese language students in Japanese.

Image_10 経済学部の学生たち向けには、経済学の理論的な欠陥に注目してもらうことと、新しい学問の流れを紹介することをお話の柱にしました。この内容については、別途記事を書こうと思います。

For the economics students, the talk was about the shortcomings of the major economics theory and new trends in the field. I would like to write about the contents of the talk in a separate article.


The main point was that in the Neoclassical economics, the theory that is most commonly used does not take natural science in consideration and therefore it is not a science. As an alternative I introduced briefly the economics theory called "Ecological Economics" that bases its theories on the understanding that the economic system exist in the bigger system called natural environment.

Image_11 日本語学部の学生さんたちには、アイヌ語で読む日本の地名についてと、そこから見える日本の歴史のお話をさせてもらいました。『縄文語の発掘』という私の好きな本からのお話です。

For the Japanese language course students, I gave a talk on Ainu names of the Japanese places and the history that we can learn from them. It is based on the stories and information from one of my favorite books called "Excavation of Jomon language (only in Japanese)".


The major linguistic and anthropologic theories say that Ainus were only present in Hokkaido the northern most island of Japan and the very northern part of Japanese mainland. But we can read the Japanese place names and understand their meanings very well by Ainu language all around and very strongly so in the southern most area of Okinawa. From these evidences we can assume that the Ainu language has direct root in Jomon language and it remained strong in the area that were far from the Yayoi people entry point into Japan around Kinki to northern Kyusyu area.


Another point was that our very old history books (about 1400 years old) tell the stories about how Jomon and Yayoi people interacted or fought.


No one was sleeping and seemed to have interests but I couldn't get clear response to whether they understand well. I hope this helped for your study on Japanese language and history.

Image_12 この大学では、昨年の世界青年の船(SWY24)の参加者 Lkyが日本語を勉強しています。スリランカ各地で会うことになっているSWY参加生との再会その2です!Lky、大学での企画のアレンジをどうもありがとう! 会うことができて、本当にうれしかったよー!

Lky a participant of the SWY program last year is studying Japanese at the university. She organized everything for the lectures and my visit. Thanks so much and I was so happy to see you at your university Lky!

Image_13 サバラガムワ大学訪問では、農学部のSWY22参加生が圃場や家畜舎を案内してくれました。これもとても楽しませてもらいました。ありがとうMthnd!
There is a SWY22 participant in the agriculture department and she took me to their field and animal houses. I enjoyed it very much. Thanks Mthnd!

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スリランカのお寺生活体験 Experiencing Sri Lankan Buddhist temple life

Image_14 大学訪問の後は、お寺(マルウェッサ寺)で瞑想&生活体験。これも、SWY24のChmlさんがアレンジしてくれました。ゴダカウェラという町の郊外の林の中にあり、林を抜けると周りは田んぼという素敵な場所。千数百年前からお寺が有った場所が長いこと使われずにいたのを、現在の住職の下で復興されたそうです。

Image_15 After the university visit I had a very privileged opportunity of experiencing life and meditation at a temple (Malvessa Vehera Meditation Center). This was again arranged by Chml, SWY24 delegation leader. Thanks so much. The temple is located outside of Godakawela town and is in a forest surrounded by rice fields. The location is a historic place for an ancient temple founded more than thousand years back and abandoned for a long time before being restored under current chief monk. Photos: A narrow pathway through rice field from public area to the monks ward. A praying ceremony under a Boddhi tree.

Image_16 4泊だけの短い滞在でしたが、中身はとても濃かった! 到着した次の日はちょうど満月の日で、月に一度の特別な儀式が大勢の村人たちと行われました。そしてその次の日は日曜日で、これは村の(特に熱心な)人たちが集う毎週の瞑想会の日。写真:菩提樹の下での儀式。瞑想会で住職のお話を聞く人々

Image_17 Though that was a short four-day stay, it was a very deep and strong experience. The next day of my arrival was the monthly full moon puja ceremony day and many villagers came for full day. The following day Sunday was the weekly meditation day for the (devoted) villagers. Photos: Ceremony under Boddhi tree. People listening to the chief monk at the meditation day talk.

Image_18 その他日常は、朝4時からの瞑想、掃除、住職のお話、朝食、掃除、昼食(この間が短かった!そしてこの後は寝るまで何も食べない!)、午後の瞑想、菩提樹の下での夕方のお経、夜の瞑想、よる10時過ぎの就寝。この間に私は少しずつ休憩をさせてもらいました。写真:本堂外観、内側

Image_19 Other parts of my life there included morning meditation from 4 am, cleaning around dinning area, breakfast, further cleaning, lunch (very short interval of meals and no more after this!), afternoon meditation, evening prayer under the Bodhi tree, night meditation, 10:30 pm going to bed.. I had breaks in between these. Photo: Main meditation hall

Image_20 その他に、檀家のお一人で大学の先生である方が来て下さり、住職さんと二人で私に仏教についてや瞑想の方法、意義などをとても分かりやすくそして親切に教えて下さりました。本当にありがたいことです。本堂のほとけ様、使わせていただいた部屋

Image_21 Besides all these the chief monk asked a university professor who is a layman of this temple to come every afternoon and they helped me understand the basics of Buddhism and the meditation. Big appreciation to great teachers. Photo: The Buddha in the meditation room. The room they provided for me in the monks ward.

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