May the world see the Russia I saw.
31.12.13 - 6.1.14
While I was still in Harbin, I wrote a thank you email to Primorye ATP for their precious support on my journey from China to Russia and back. The next day, through an email reply signed by the Director of Primorye ATP himself, I got an explanation of what actually my bus driver meant when he urged me to make a phone call. According to the translation of Google, my bus driver thought there would be someone who would pick me up in Vladivostok. Therefore, he urged me to call that person to confirm the meeting point. Furthermore said the translation of Google, my bus driver didn't know I had nobody to meet me at Vladivostok.
Well... that's a story of language barrier.
It wasn't until I returned to my home country did I realize that few people carry negative views on Russia. Before I left, I only heard once from a friend whom I invited to come along. She said, "What? Russia? Even the name sounds scary." When I returned, my local boss said to his colleague, "She has just returned from Russia, you know. She said, Russians are nice people." Only from my Japanese bosses did I not hear any negative comments except: "You must be kidding. That's freezing cold!" -- but with an excited look saying: "I wish I could go with you." The rest, from office, from church, from social media, from the educated to the not-so-educated like Mom's housemaid, bore negative views.
Why?? Because Russians are communists, I finally found out.
"Hey! Study history!" I replied to someone whom actually I never know in person. And, she was terribly mad.
In my point of view, nothing can be more wrong than this:
Russians --> communist --> no religion --> bad people
First, if you cannot read history, then come to Russia and see for yourself if religion exist or not, today.
Second, if you think religion makes people good, look at your neighbor.
Now I feel fortunate that my parents never brought me up with negative views about Russia. As a matter of fact, they did the opposite. My impression from Dad is that Russians are intelligent people. From Mom, Russians are 'ballet'. And yet, my parents are at the most extreme opposite to 'communist'. You know what I mean.
I call this "Epilogue of the First", because I'm coming back to Russia for a second time, end of July this year. Whatever the world today has in mind about Russia, I long to tell more stories about Sonja, the stories which aren't in newspapers nor travel guides. See you then!