|Vol. 95: “Gunpowder House” Countries|
I joined a bus tour visiting Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. These three countries are small: Syria is half the size of Japan, Jordan is one-quarter, and Lebanon is the size of Gifu Prefecture. Their land is mostly desert and the scene from the bus window is monotone with a vast expansion of sand. I really felt how lucky I was not to be born in such a place.
The photo was taken when we were going to the Dead Sea from Petra and was at the roadside of the desert highway that runs between Jordan and Syria. Our tour guide stopped the bus and suggested that we take a photo.
280 kilometers east of here is the border with Iraq where terrorism constantly occurs. The hotel we stayed at that night was beside the Dead Sea and the opposite shore was Israel. It would take only two minutes by car to reach the border and it was as close as 20 minutes to Jerusalem. When some problem occurs, these countries are drawn into it and are often described as “gunpowder house” countries. To be precise, I believe, they should be called “countries close to a gunpowder house.”
Compared with these countries, Japan is like a heaven: It is surrounded by the sea, not involved with problems, is filled with green mountains and rivers, and has four seasons. It was once admirably described as the “Golden Country of Jipang.”