Where am I – What’s in the west?

Photograph of sunset of Songhuajiang (Songhua river) in Harbin.

Since I was little, I wanted to know the other side of the mountains that spread to the western part of Nara Basin.

My first China

At the end of May 2004, I went to China for the first time to meet a woman in Zhejiang who was my lover at that time.

I arrivined at Shanghai Pudong International Airport, and took a linear motor car at a speed of 410 kilometers per hour. I was said not to take it by her, because it’s inconvenient.

But I wanted to experience a linear motor car, and took it.

I arrived at the subway Longyang Road Station.

When I left the ticket gate, I was surrounded by seven men. It was a solicitation for a taxi ride.

Longyang Road Station. This is the first picture I took in China at 2004.05.31. ©china21.blog

While I was trying to declining to take these taxies with poor Chinese, a Girl about 20 years old passed nearby, At that time.

She approached while saying “May I help you?”, So We talked to each other using English, which is not our native language.

When I told that I was Japanese, she looked a bit clumsy. The two were in the dark and were silent for about five seconds.

I groped our conversation…

I took the subway again with her, going to Shanghai Railway Station.

On the subway

While we were on the subway, she talked about the Second Sino-Japanese War period which was told by her grandmother. And she talked about her lover.

I introduced Japanese female writer Kyoko Hayashi’s novel “Old woman’s alley”.

Hayashi, in several short novels, drew the streets and humanity of the suburbs of Shanghai during the Second Sino-Japanese War period. She observes the battlefield in Shanghai with a careful attitude peculiar to the third daughter.

Hayashi’s glance in childhood is sharp. Hayashi wrote the reason of dark Shanghai is that rubble stone and concrete will cast large shadows.

She asked me after several stations. “Why did Japan no longer respect China?”

When We got to Shanghai Railway Station, I answered and summarized with my knowledge about history. “For the last 150 years, Japan has admired and respected its father Europe and the United States, but continues to forget its mother China.”

Eternal construction "Shanghai"; What I should learn from this city is the ever-changing power.
Eternal construction “Shanghai”; What I should learn from this city is the ever-changing power. ©china21.blog

We arrived Shanghai Railway Station.

She explained to the station staff about her guide for me, entered the ticket gate, and came to the yard with me.

She asked about my lover, before the train left. I said to her that my lover had been in Japan for nine months, and just returned home this month.

Just as the departure bell rang, she strangely leaked a word like a monologue. “It’s funny, I hated Japan unilaterally, even though I didn’t know anything about.”

And I replied, “I’m the same as you. I don’t know China and Japan. I don’t know if you’re Chinese or not. I’m sure I’m going to see my Zhejiang girlfriend from now.”

I waved to her.

One piece of the Bund; the stone wall that cools the heat of history. However, the letters of INDIA and AUSTRALIA are slightly engraved on the wall of the building.
One piece of the Bund; the stone wall that cools the heat of history. on Shanghai May 2005. ©china21.blog

Chinese women

In the summer of 2005, I went to Zhejiang, to say goodbye because my Zhejiang girlfriend get marriage.

Few weeks Later I returned to Japan, I fell in love with another Chinese woman, who is single mother from Heilongjiang.

She said to me, “I will take you to China, so please discard all photos of Zhejiang Province.” I went to Zhejiang 11 times in 2004 and 2005, and took many pictures. But every photo is not left now.

Photograph of sunset of Songhuajiang (Songhua river) in Harbin.
Sunset of Songhuajiang (Songhua river) in Harbin. at 2006.09.20. ©china21.blog

One day about one year has passed, Heilongjiang lady left me with a saying, “I got to know love because of you. From now on, I can live only with memories with you.”

The two Chinese women had a devastating effect that I could not remember myself before I met with them. I call the time from 2003 to 2006 with them “Fen-Kai-road”, in honor of two Chinese women who did break through me.

Finally

Some women have had many evaluations to me in the past. Looking back at the evaluations, these are mainly a stateless, Hong Kong-style, Latin, or modern-day Confucius.

I wanted to know the other side of the western mountains at Nara Basin. Now I do not want to know what is in the west.

If I go to “the other side”, Another “the other side” appears in front of me. And i can not go back to the past.

Stone Forest (Shilin) in Yi Autonomous County, Yunnan Province.
Stone Forest (Shilin) in Yi Autonomous County, Yunnan Province. taken at 2013.02.27. ©china21.blog

“Where am I?”

Anyone can not answer.

“Where is Japan?”

“Where is the West?”

“Where is love?”

“Where is history?”

Nowhere, There is only a designation.

Published by Shinichi Iwamoto

I am Shinichi Iwamoto. Born in 1970 in Nara Prefecture in JP. I teach economic history and social history at some universities in the Kinki area. While studying the history of the apparel industry, I have operated the cultural history and philosophical site "mode21.com" about fashion, "sewingmachine.mobi" about sewing machine, and "china21.blog" about photos and letters on China.

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