A Trip to Vietnam

I went to Vietnam with my son and 35 other Japanese men and women.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the end of Vietnam War.
In 1975 the war ended, when I was 15 years old.  This year is also the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. As you know, it ended in 1945.  So that's one reason why I decided to go to Vietnam this summer.

What surprised my son first in Vietnam was hundreds of motorbikes on the street.
There aren't many cars, there aren't many bicycles.  Instead, tens of thousands of motorbikes are running.  What pleased my son was beautiful Vietnamese ladies in beautiful traditional dress called ao dai. We also enjoyed Vietnamese traditional music, a doll play on the water, and its traditional food.

Vietnam was once ruled by France.  It was a tragedy, but the buildings designed and constructed by French governors are artistic and some of them are used as hotels now.  So we were able to enjoy “rich vacation” at such gorgeous hotels.

In the world there are few people who can travel around the world freely like us, Japanese people.  Most people in the world cannot afford to travel abroad.  They must work hard every day just to get enough food and enough money.  They have no chances to travel abroad nor to meet people from abroad.  These girls are waitresses in the hotel we stayed.  It was the first time for them to meet Japanese people for them, so they wanted to learn the Japanese language and asked us to teach them Japanese, but sometimes they were called by their boss and scolded to do their job first. Anyway their smile was nice and their enthusiasm to learn Japanese language pleased us.

This is a museum of the history of Vietnam.  In World War Two Japan invaded many parts of Asia.  Vietnam was one of them.  In 1945 Japan was almost defeated and there was not enough rice grown inside Japan, so Japan took away lots of rice from Vietnamese people.  Then more than two million Vietnamese people died of hunger.  This is a well known fact in Vietnam, but we Japanese are not taught about the fact, are we?   What do you think?

Vietnam is a poor, unlucky country.  After the second World War, it couldn't become an independent country.  It was separated into North and South Vietnam and when some conflicts occurred between North and South, America supported the South and America tried to have a stronger influence in Vietnam, but what American soldiers actually did was cruel.  They killed ordinary old men and women, children and babies.  One village was suddenly attacked by American soldiers and more than 90 percent of the villagers were killed.  Only a few people survived the massacre, this woman is one of them.  With tears she told us how cruel, how terrible war is. Half of the participants of our tour are English teachers, so we exchanged opinions with English teachers in Vietnam and agreed that in our English classes we need to tell these facts and use English for this reason..

We also visited a facility called the Vietnamese Friendship Village.  It was a center for children who are disabled because of the aftereffect by agent orange.  Agent orange is Karehazai in Japanese.  America sprayed tons of agent orange  on villages in Vietnam and even now disabled babies are born because of the effect.  We visited the village and sent ten computers for the children to learn how to use the computer and do some work and we also hope that they express their opinions and wishes for a peaceful world to the people around the world through the Internet.