Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A trip to Bagan

Hi, it's me, Genki.
I went to Bagan by bus from December 26th to 28th. Bagan is famous for its countless pagodas and temples which are scattered around the area.
I left Yangon at 7 pm on 25th and arrived in Bagan at 4 am on 26th. As the room of the hotel was not available, I went to Shwesandaw Pagoda, which is famous for the sunrise and sunset. Even though it was early in the morning, there were many people waiting for the sunrise. I could take many beautiful pictures here. Some balloons started to come to the sky at dawn.

This is the pictures of the other side of the sun. We can see the moon in the sky.

I also saw the sunset from the same place.

In Bagan, I rent a E-bike to move, which is a kind of motorbike. I didn't need any license because it is categorized as a bicycle here even though I can get up to 30 km/hour. This is the bike I used during the trip.

Basically I was just hanging around in Bagan and saw many pagodas. There are so many photos I took that I can't show all here, but some of these are as follows. As you can see, there are many kinds of pagodas and temples here. I could feel a long history.

Some pagodas were lit up at night.

I met some kind people there and took pictures. One of them gave me Tanaka which is a traditional Myanmar cosmetics for free. 

Sometimes a monk showed me around one of the pagodas. The view from the top of the pagoda was amazing.

And sometimes there was a cow... it is a cow, isn't it? He might have been thinking like "Don't look at me."

At first I was worried about the bus condition but it was more comfortable than I have expected. And the hotel was also nice despite a cheap price.

Well anyway I fully enjoyed the trip to Bagan. I'm planning to go to Inle-lake next week. See you next time. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A trip to Kyikehteeyoe

Hi, it’s Genki.
I went to Kyikehteeyoe, where is famous for its Golden rock from 17th to 19th December with my friend whose name is YeThuAung.
We left Yangon at 9 pm and arrived in Kyikehteeyoe at 2 am. 
The first bus to the top of the mountain on which Kyikehteeyoe Pagoda is located starts from 6 am so we had to wait. But fortunately we could stay in the hotel which we booked and soon found it so comfortable.
After a little rest in the room, we took a bus to the top of the mountain. The bus was more like a truck than a bus and we had to sit on the back seats. The driver drove roughly so I could see many people feeling sick. It took about 30-40 minutes from the base of the mountain to the destination. Actually the scenery from the bus was really similar to that of Japanese mountainous areas in summer.

Let's start our trip!!
Bus station on the base of the mountain

After arriving at the destination and walking for a while, I could see something shining, reflecting the sunlight. It was Golden rock! The first impression was just awesome. I recommend you to go there in the morning because you can take good photos from the east side.

The entrance of the pagoda
Kyikehteeyoe Pagoda!!

After walking around the rock, we headed to the other pagoda which is located a little far from Kyikehteeyoe Pagoda and we had to hike. It was harder than we had expected. There are many souvenir shops along the way. Sometimes they sell traditional medicine made from snake, deer, and other insects. It was a little disgusting for me.

Dead deer

Dead snake

We also went to a waterfall near Kyikehteeyoe Pagoda. Many people were playing there.
I also enjoyed buying some souvenirs.

During the back way to Yangon, we visited some pagodas on the way. There are so many pagodas in Myanmar.

Shwemawdaw Pagoda in Bago city.
Actually Bago is on the way from Kyikehteeyoe to Yangon.

Anyway, thanks to my friend, it was a wonderful and exciting trip. I really appreciate it.

See you soon.

About happiness ~short notice through the Bago survey~

Hi, it's Genki.
Through my survey in Bago city, I started to think of something. It is a simple question. What is happiness?
 The reason why I think this kind of thing is that I found not all the people but even many poor people in Bago seemed full of vigor and looked satisfied with their current living condition. At first I thought that they must be unhappy without enough income, good houses, and other many services which we can get in Japan. But somehow they looked happy of living everyday life with their families. It was a little shocking to me.
 In Japan, even though there are many services and things around us, I find myself feeling less satisfied. Just for example, I was happy just playing in the park with my friends in my elementary school days. But I can’t feel happy only to do it now. Other example is that I cannot fully content with my new iPhone even though I was really happy when I first got my cell phone with much lower performance in my junior high school days. That’s because I now tend to think like “more and more” and becoming greedier. Because of high speed in technique improvement, I noticed myself thinking in a way that newer and better things will come soon. But I may never be able to feel satisfied as long as thinking in this way.
 People in Myanmar have a room to kindly accept me, who is from completely different environment and quite stranger for them. If I was them, I could never do that. I a little envy them because I would never feel how they seem to feel. But now I think it is important to be able to content with what we already have and what we already are for our happiness.
It is just what I thought through the survey. As a first step, I’m thinking to start from appreciating all the environment around me including my family, friends, and other many things.
 It is a short notice and a memo. I’m sorry for the long sentences.

 See you next time.

Bago Survey

Hi, it's Genki. Today I want to talk how my research is going.
My research topic is the relationship between flood and poverty. The reason I chose the topic is that I found many poor people near the river in the last field survey in Myanmar in June. I'm here in Myanmar for the student exchange program but I also want to collect data related to my research topic by taking advantage of this trip. 
This is the scenery from the bus from Yangon to Bago. In Myanmar, they open the windows even though we are running so fast on the highway. We can get to Bago in less than 2 hours if the traffic condition is not so bad.

Well anyway the field survey in Bago has finally started. I was nervous at first so as my counterparts from YTU, but I learned how to make it soon. I think the key is just listen to what they say sincerely looking at their eyes. But easier said than done. As time passes and we get tired, it was becoming more difficult to just listen to what they talk to us. The guys who are on the pictures are helpers from YTU to ask my questions.

Through this survey, I found something. Some people here cannot earn money during a certain period, which makes their income unstable. But also the respondents I asked questions were not look unhappy. Of course one of the reasons is the season (Actually the rainy season is sometimes the most difficult season for them and it is summer season in Myanmar now.), but they didn’t look so thin and I could feel a vitality from them.

During the questions, many other people came to see what we were doing. I found that all the people in a district are like relatives. They sometimes answered the questions instead of the respondent. But this trend was remarkable especially when we ask questions to poor people. I'm trying to ask both rich and poor people in order to reduce the prejudice.

After the questions, I gave the respondent a ballpoint pen. It is a small thing but they looked happy when they got it. Some people asked me more pens.

I gave them ball-point pens.
I hope I can make some results after the survey by analyzing data on GIS.
By the way, I'm getting used to Myanmar food now but in the third day I got really sick that I cannot move after I ate pork curry. But thanks to all the YTU friends, I could go to the clinic and get some medicine thus got better in a few days.
Anyway, I’m now getting used to the survey and I find it very interesting. I can get knowledge and experience which I would never acquire in Japan. I really appreciate to all the people who arranged this trip.

See you!