As if World War Two wasn’t bad enough, with concentration camps, the Holocaust etc. Oh wait – there’s more. Comfort Women. Now this isn’t a nice thing to hear about, especially on holiday, but I feel we have a responsibility to hear about it. So I took my husband along to the War and Women Human Rights Museum to find out more.
The War and Human Rights Museum which was a fascinating and horrifying look at Comfort Women; a system whereby during WW2 predominantly Japanese soldiers used predominantly Korean Women as sex slaves, or “comfort women”. Continue reading →
A colleague once told me that I could not, would not, should not travel in China without being part of a guided tour group. I wasn’t sure if this was correct or not, but he had been there, after all, so I was inclined to semi-believe him.
Well, I am happy to say that I laugh in the face of this advice now, as I have travelled in many countries where I cannot read the “A, B, C”, let alone speak.
My conscientious boyfriend had been learning Japanese all the way around New Zealand. We struck a deal – I would drive and he would learn Japanese. Sounds fair! On the plane to Japan we were strangely calm… which is really very strange looking back, as we had not booked any accommodation and we couldn’t speak the language. I attempted to learn my usual repertoire of words (Yes, No, Thank you, Please, Sorry). My boyfriend on the other hand had a fairly good grasp of basic phrases, (do you have a non-smoking table please? please could we have a room for one night? do you speak English? etc). He practised his Japanese language on the air-steward on the plane, who informed us that Japanese people do not say “No” as it is considered rude. This threw us a bit, as “No” was one of the words we had learnt!
On the train on the way into Tokyo we felt scruffy – everyone was very well dressed. In our previous travels we had felt like the rich westerners – now we felt like people were going to give us money as donations for food. 😉
We arrived in Tokyo late at night and went to a nearby hotel. My boyfriend asked for a room in his best Japanese. The hotel man (who was standing about a metre from him) pointed at him and laughed loudly. To this day I have no idea why – whether he said “penis” by mistake or his accent was funny… who knows! Obviously I found it very rude at the time and felt sorry for poor boyfriend who had taken a great deal of time and effort to learn the language. But looking back it is pretty hilarious! I have resolved to point and laugh at my boyfriend more often, for my amusement. If he asks why, I’ll say I’m being cultural. Continue reading →