A 10 days' trip to wonderful Turkey ! !

@(At a local village, May 21, 1999)

The auther who had been very reluctant to participate
in the trip of this time to Turkey in the beginning
became amazingly a big fan of Turkey by the end of the trip.

During the trip,
there happened so many unexpected and exciting things to the auther,
every one of which he admits is the reason
why he became so much enchanted by this country.

The auther of today listens to the CD of
Turkish march played by army band and that of Turkish language every day.

And recently he has been beginning to have
even a dream of living in this country.

What has changed the auther so greatly as this ?
Of course he has very clear answer to the question,
but he dares not to tell it to the readers here.

..........Because he hopes the readers will think it over themselves.

Finally the auther sincerely hopes to make minimum English mistakes
so that the turkish people studying English may be able to understand his heart.

If readers find any English mistakes having possibility
to lead to the misunderstanding in this record,
the auther hopes that they will inform him of the mistakes
at the BBS of this web site.

Thanky you ! !

May 14, 1999 --- Fri. cloudy, TOKYO

First of all, I have to say that I was very reluctant to participate in the trip of this time to Turkey, because I thought that Turkey was just like one of the South-East Asian countries with which I had not got on very well.
..........Accordingly, until I got onboard on Turkish Air Line jet, I had studied nothing about Turkey and I had been wondering why my wife Koko seemed so happy to visit Turkey.

Anyway, in this manner this trip started.


Today, I spent whole day very busily for the preparation of the trip to Turkey starting tomorrow.
.......Tooth brush, rasor, shaving foam, socks, tour itinerary, passport and so forth.
There are so many things I have to put into my rucksack !

Although my wife Koko and my son Kocchiro are very happy with this trip, unfortunately I've got so many things to complain about........

Why have I to be so busy ?
........and why should I prepare and check trip items following Koko's order-like suggestion ?
........and on the top of that, I can't really see why I had to rush to Tokyo yesterday evening all the way from 200 km distant Nagano prefecture.

To tell the truth, I have been very reluctant to participate in this trip to Turkey from the very beginning.

Probably my mistake was that I had not said "No, I don't want to visit Turkey" in the very beginning.

If I had not been consent to my wife's proposal to make this trip at the stage of last year, I could have been very happy at the "Hutte" (our 2nd house) at Matsubarako plateau in Nagano prefecture even now ! ! ! !

Oh, bother ! !
When we were at dinner table this evening, I was told that we have to get up at 4 o'colck tomorrow morning.
I would like to shout out.........."Hey, aren't you crasy ?"

Koko seems very happy and keeps talking to me or to Kocchiro again and again, whenever she sees us.
"Don't you think Kappadokia is a very attractive place to visit ?"
"Kocchiro, you would like to visit under-ground-polis in Kappadokia, wouldn't you ?"
........Simply because poor Kocchiro doesn't know anything at all, he sipmply says..........
"Yes, Mama. I would love to.........."
And hearing these Kocchiro's words, Koko says to me:
"Papa, you see ? Kocchiro says he does want to visit underground-polis.........."
Koko calls me "Papa", ever since Kocchiro's infancy, simply because he has called me so until now and she has followed Kocchiro's style in calling me.

I can't see why Turkey is so attractive to Koko.

11:00 pm.
Went to bed after setting the wake up time of my alarm colock to 4 am.

May 15, 1999 --- Sat. Fine, TOKYO - OSAKA - ISTANBUL

4:00 am. Alarm clock waked me up and we had quick breakfast together.
5:00 am. Left home and hurried to the train station near by.
6:30 am. Arrived at Haneda Airport in Tokyo.
We met Mrs. Matsumoto and Mrs. Ouchi there.
Both of them have been very good friends of our family ever since a trip to Austria and Germany three years ago. They are nice ladies.
It's pity that Mr. Matsumoto was unable to join this time.
We left Haneda Airport at 7:45 am. for Kansai Int'l Airport in Osaka.

Arrived at Kansai Int'l Airport at 8:50 am.
At the airport, we met the tour conductor and other members of the tour group.
I was very surprised to find that most of the tour members are in their 50's and over.
11:30 am. After finishing all the departure formalities we got onboard on the Turkish Air line's jet.
11:45 am. The plane took off and headed for Istanbul.

Here I opened the itinerary of this trip for the first time and murmured to myself after reading today's schedule
.........." Jesus ! ...........Flying time to Istanbul is 12 hours 50 minuits ! ! ! "
.........." Nearly 13 hours ! ! Meantime I have to keep sitting in this chair. "
I looked around in the plane and found that there are many vacant seats in the rear part of the plane.
........." Good, when I get tired of sitting in this seat, I can walk around just for stretching out my legs. " , thougt I.
Then I came back to the today's schedule again and I continued reading.

........." O.K. After the arrival at Istanbul, we move to the hotel. That's all for today. "
........." How about tomorrow ? "
........." Hmmm..........In the morning, sight-seeing in the city. And after lunch,.............."
........." O.K. What is the schedule for the 3rd. day ? "

I looked at the schedule for may 17.
But as soon as I began to read the day's schedule, my eys stopped on the 2nd line.
........." ...........??? "
I doubted my own eyes, and I read the same line once again.
........." No, it's reality ! ! ", I shouted in my heart.
On that line, I can certainly read the following seven words.

After breakfast, vist the ruins of Troy.

........." Troy ! ! ......Is this-Troy that-Troy ? ", I murmured in my heart.
........." If this-Troy is that-Troy, it's great ! ! ", thoght I.
And immediately, I remembered the 1st line of the soul-stirring heroic epic ILIAD which I had read already more than 40 years ago ! !

Now sing, the godess of Muse, about the anger of Achilles, son of Peleus.............etc.

And also I remembered the story of excavation at Troy done by Schlieman which I had read in " Non fiction series of the world " likewise about 35 years ago.
........." Was that-Troy in Turkey ? ", I asked to myself.
........." If so, that-Troy is ahead of us ! ....... Isn't it wonderful ? ", thoght I.
........." I am ashamed not to know that Troy is located in Turkey ! ", murmured I.
........." Then, what country is Turkey like ? "

At this moment the meaning of this trip began to change to me.

Concerning this trip, I was given two small booklets by Koko.
One is the tour itinerary I am reading now and the other is "General knowledge about Turkey".
I stopped reading the tour itinerary here. I opened another booklet and I looked at all pages quickly.
Among them, I was interested in 2 pages introducing simple expressions and greetings in Turkish language.
.........I tried to remember some of the greeings.

By the way,.......soon after I began to read the 2 pages, I was surprised in two aspects of Turkish language.
The first aspect I was surprised in was that arabic characters are not employed in Turkish language.
Turkey is one of the Islamic countries.
We can know this easily, if we look at the national flag of Turkey in which a white crescent moon and a star of Islamic symbol are drawn against red back ground.
Until this moment, I thought that Arabic language and Arabic characters are used in all islamic countries.
Then, I carefully looked at the Turkish characters printed on the page.
..........I can find a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, .........these characters are the same with those of English.
..........But I can also find some characters not used in English alphabet. They are "c cediel like character" of French, "o-umlaut" and "u-umlaut like character" of German and "g with a hat like mark on it" character. And also I can find a character of "i" without a dot above it and several others.

The second aspect I was surprised in was that the sound value of some Turkish characters seems to be entirely diffrent from that of English, though the shape of the character itself is the same or similarar to English one. The most significant example was "c".
The sound value of "c" in English is either "k" or "ch" (if used wih "h") as in "cool" or "church". But the sound value of Turkish "c" seems to be "j".
I noticed this difference while I was trying to read some of the greetings in Turkish language with the help of Japanese Katakana (phonetic signs of Japanese languge). For example, the Turkish greeting "iyi geceler" meaning "good night" is to be pronouced "ii gejeler".
................Since the shape of the character in both languages is the same, the trouble of reading this character is double troublesome. And accordingly, it took me long time before I get used to read this character properly.

Apart from this, I found another very interesting point about this language later, but I would like to write it down in the diary of another day.

I am very fond of studying languages.
Until now, I have had experience to study English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Esperanto to some extent.
However Turkish language seems entirely different from anyone of these languages.
This is another reason why I began to be interested in Turkey.
By the way..........
The time, twelve hours, is very long.
During the flight I read booklets of the tour, talked with my family, took lunch and dinner, took a nap many times, listened to music, watched movies on a large monitor screen and so forth to kill time.
But sitting in a chair with the same position for a long time made me have backache and painful knees.
Several hours after we left Japan, I got bored of doing anything more ! And I looked around the seats near by.............I found most people were sleeping.
I said "Lucky !" to myself. I stood up and then I began to walk around on the aisles in the plane.

Since all the windows had been closed for viewing movies, the inside of the plane was dark............and fortunately though the movies had already been over some time ago, passengers seemed to forget to open the windows.
Most passengers were quietly sleeping..........some of them lifted up the armrests of the seats and were sleeping lying on the seats of one row.
Very few people looked at me, while I was walking around.

I found a light lit at the rearmost part of the plane.
When I came near the light, I found one of the stewardess was standing leaning against the wall of the kitchen.
She was one of the charming stewardess who had served lunch and coffee at a tea time.
When she noticed me, she straightened up and smiled at me.
I smiles at her also.
After hesitating for a instant, I said to her.
"E...E....Excuse me, but can I ask you a question ?"
"Yes, of course........", said she softly.
I decided to ask her questions about Turkish language.
"How many characters do you have in the alphabet of Turkish language ?"
She stared at me for a moment and said.
"Yeeees, .......we have 29 characters."
" I see. By the way, does the character "c" in English has different sound value in Turkish ? "
..........For a while she stared at me but she seemed a little purplexed to me.
I was also purplexed and I began to be sorry for her.
"My question may not have been gramatically correct............! !", thoght I.
I decided to change my question.
"OK. Then, would you please write down Turkish alphabet ?"
"Yes, with much pleasure !"
She took a sheet of paper and a pencil. Then she wrote down all the alphabet on the paper murmuring quietly the names of characters in her mouth.
"Yes, these are all.", said she.
"Thank you very much.................By the way,...............what is the sound of this character ?", I said to her pointing at the character "c" with my index finger.
"It's DJE !", she said.
............As I thought, the sound value of "c" is not "k" nor "ch", but "dj".
"I see.......dj........dj........dj!........... Thank you very much. I was just wandering what the sound value of this character was ! ....... Thank you !"
"You are welcome. Do you have other questions ?", said she.
"Yes,............I've got others."
Then we began to talk about many things.

I asked her so many questions about language, society, geography, history, people, young people of today, marriage etc.
................On her part she sincerely and kindly tried to answer to all of my questions and make me understood to the full extent.
................Rather than that, she may opssibly have been interested in my questions. Because she asked me some quesions later.

In due course, I asked her to let me take her picture.
Because she was so attractive, charming and kind to me ! !
................After having taken her picture, I said to her.
"After I come back to japan, I will upload your picture to my web site of the internet. This is the address of my Home page............. Would you please access my site and have a look at it after the middle of June ?"
Saying so, I tore off one of the pages of my pocket notebook, wrote down my home page address and handed it over to her.

Very charming and kind stewardes......Miss Chelebi.

Our long conversation finished, when a calling buzzar sounded and she disapeared into the dark passenger compartment.

But just before she was going to see the passenger, I said to her.
"Teshekyur ederim !" (Thank you !) which I had just studied on this plane.
As soon as she heard this, she smiled at me and said.
"Bir shey deyil !" (Not at all !), and she walked into the dark passenger room.

..........I returned to my seat, sat down and slightly opened the window shutter.
To my surprise, the sun was brightly shinning outside.
Instantly I closed my eyes caused by strong sunlight.
I closed the window shutter again and leaned against the back of the seat.
............Immediately I found that I was dead sleepy !
............"I see. I slept only four hours last night !............It's natural I'm so sleepy, though I was forgeting it while I was talking with the charming lady.

After talking to my self like this, very soon I fell asleep.

May 16, 1999 --- Sun. fine, ISTANBUL - CHANAKKALE

07:45 Morning call.
When "Morning call" telephone rang, we had already finished morning preparation.

Throughout the trip of this time, Koko always wanted to set the hour of rising with her alarm clock at 1 hour earlier than morning call.
.................And another important thing......................as for suit case packing, she made it a rule almost to complete it before we went to bed every night.
.................Probably she had learned the importance of this preparation for the following day's trip through her previous experience of travelling abroad.

She loves visiting abroad very much, while I like to stay at our cottage located at the foot of Mt. Yatsugatake in Nagano prefecture, Japan.
................More concretely if I may explain, at least twice a year she visits abroad with our son, Kocchiro, and her friends .
But meantime, usually I prefer staying at the cottage and I enjoy choping firewood, mowing the grass, painting the cottage and running after butterflies for my collection.

Anyway I should be garateful to Koko, because she keeps everything tidy in the suitcases during the trip. What Kocchiro and I did was just closing and locking the heavy suitcases and carrying them to the place of baggage collection.


Now I would like to come back to today's schedule again.

In the morning, we visited city park, Blue Mosque and Ayasophia.

During the visit to these spots, I was particularly impressed by the size of the obelisque brought from Egypt, the beauty of blue celamics decorating the inside wall of "Blue Mosque" and wall painting of Ayasophia.

Half restored wall painting at Ayasophia.

Among those, what interested me most was the story of wall painting discovery at Ayasophia.
............The Ayasophia was first built as a Christian Church.
However, when it came under the control of newly rising Islamic power, it was changed into Islamic mosque.
At that time, all the wall painting of Jesus Christ and the mother Maria in Ayasophia were covered with thick mortar, since the Islam prohibits any kind of idol worship...........
.............However, after the Ayasophia was designated as the historical spot of the state, the building was repaired and restored, when the wall paintings were found from under the mortar.

Noon : Enjoyed seafood lunch at a restaurant in Istanbul.

After lunch, we moved towards west seeing the sea of Marmara on our left almost always.
..........The highway was much nicer than I expected and the scenary along was very spacy and beautiful.
According to Deniz-san, our finenst tour guide, the population of Turkey is almost half of that in Japan, whereas the land space of Turkey is nearly double of Japan, which relieved me very much for traveling in this country.

Honestly, I do not like places crowded with people.
For example, if I stay in the street of a crowded place like Shinjuku of Tokyo for an hour or two, I usually begin to feel sick and begin to have headache.
I don't know why, but maybe this is the reason why I would usually like to stay at spacy Matusbarako plateau and I do not like to visit cities and countries crowded with people.

The scenary along the highway was very interesting to me.
Both sides of the highway were constantly spacy green hills.
And occasionally I found small groups of fine houses standing on the slopes of the hill, but surprisingly enough I found very few people around these houses.
"Deniz-san, is this residential area or...............?", I asked to our tour guide.
"No, these houses are country villas.", said she.
"Really ? We have been seeing the groups of the fine houses ever since we left Istabul..............."
"Yes, we have..............Many Japanese people ask me of those houses. And ......... when I tell them that they are all villas, they are usually very surprised."
(Japanese people would surely be surprised to know that these many houses are all villas....), thoght I.
(.........And why.......... so many villas ?), murmured I to myself.
However this is just only the beginning of surprise in Turkey.

By the way, during the trip of this afternoon, there was another thing which interested me very much.
What interested me so much was the minarets of mosques.
We usually have very few chances to see a minaret in Japan ! !
As far as I know, there is only minaret in Setagaya ward of Tokyo, but on the contrary I can find so many minarets in Turkey ! !
While we were driving in the bus this afternoon, we were able to find a minaret almost every 15 minutes................In other words...........whenever we passed by a group of houses, a village or a town, we could always find a minaret standing in the center of the houses.
And.............. the appearance of a village with a minaret standing in its center is very attractive and nice, I must say.

A beautiful minaret in a village near Aksehir.

A minaret is a pencil shaped columnar spire or steeple which is built just next to a mosque.
A minaret has usually one or two balconies around it.
Accoding to Deniz-san, an imam (moslem priest) used to call for villagers from these balconies for prayer.
However, loud speaker systems seem to be used for calling for neighbors today.
Throughout this afternoon, I tried to take the pictures of minarets, whenever the minaret passed by, but everytime I did, I failed in taking pictures because the bus was driving very fast.
The above picture of a charming minaret standing in a small village was taken three days later near Aksehir while driving to Konya.

Arrived at Galipoli and crossed the Dardanelles in a ferry.
...............The name of Dardanelles was rather familiar with me, because I had once viewed a war movie on TV in which an allied force's submarine had a hard fought battle against German naval forces occupying the Dardanelles.
..............Since the movie was so exciting, I remember the name "Dardanelles" very well, but here again I am very ashamed to say that I had not known the Dardanelles was located in Turkey.

Important !
Accoridng to Deniz-san Europe and Asia are divided by this Dardanelles.
This means that we crossed the Dardanelles from European side (Galipoli) over to Asian side (Lapseki) today ! !

It took us about half an hour to cross the straight.
When our bus reached Galipoli, the bus keeping us onboard went into a ferry.
Then we came out to the deck of the ferry, which soon later left the wharf.
We went up to a boat deck where we could find nice benches to rest.
" This is the Dardanelles................! ! "
I said to myself remembering some scenes of the movie.
I stood up and I went a few steps towards the side of the ship.
Then, immediately I heard Koko's voice trying to speak English.
I turned back and I saw her speaking to a Turkish woman.
Since the rattling sound of ferry engine was rather noisy, I was unable to hear what Koko was saying, but it seemed to me that she was saying..................
" Can I take a picture with you ? "
However the woman seemed not to get her. Maybe the sound of the engine was noisy enough and Koko's voice might be too small.
".......................", she kept silent.
Then,................immediately I heard Mrs. Ouchi's loud voice.
" Picture, O.K ? Picture O.K ? "
Holding out a camera and showing it to the woman, she rather shouted at her than she spoke to.
This time she seemed to understand, because she smiled and noded.

Turkish people were always very friendly with us ! !

By this time, we noticed that Turkish people were very friendly with us Japanese.
In most shops and restautants and sometimes even in the streets, we met Turkish people smiling at us and saying "Konnichiwa" (Good day).

Koko sat just beside the woman and she put her arm around her shoulder.
................The above is the picture of this time.

While she was enjoying talking with Turkish people around her, a group of young girls approached and stoped to look at us.
" Hello ! ", said Koko.
" Hello, where are you from ? ", said one of them to Koko with a smile.
"We are from Japan..........Are you a student ? "
" Yes. "
" Do you study English in your school ? "
" Yes, our school is specialized in studying English...... "
" Oh, I see. That's why you speak nice English. "
" Thank you ! ", said she to Koko with a lovely smile. "
" Shall we talk together ? "
Koko offered a seat to her and they began talking.

Though we have been in Turkey only two days, we found by this time that Turkish people might have similar thinking way and feeling with us to much extent.

While Koko was enjoying talking with her, the ferry with us onboard approached the Asian side of the Dardanelles.

Just before we said "Good bye ! " each other, I said to her.
" Do you use computers ? "
" Yes, we do. "
" Then, do you sometimes access Internet ? "
" Yes, we do. But why ? "
" I took some pictures of you and my wife. When I come back to Japan, I will surely use a picture or two of these pictures in my web site. So, would you please access my site on the Internet ?............Wait ..........This is the Home page address of my site. "
................I wrote down URL of my Home page and gave it to her.

" Thank you ! " , she gave us a big smile and left us.

A few minuts after we left Lapseki, I noticed that I had entirely forgotten to take the picture of the Dardanelles.

I took out my camera in haste and I began finding a nice angle of the straight.
However the time was a little too late and it was getting darker little by little.

The Dardanelles in the evening.

7:45 pm arrived at Chanakkale and accommodation at Iris Hotel.

Since this diary has to cover the record of 8 more days, I would like to divide it into the following diversified pages.
If you are interested in reading anyone of them, you are requested to click the relevant line......................Thank you ! !