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Jerusalem, the Holy PlaceIt took only an hour to come to the huge Jerusalem bus terminal by an express coach from Tel Aviv. From the terminal, I took a local bus to the Palm Hostel recommended by the other travellers. This hotel is owned by an Arabic owner and one bed per night costs only 50ILS(15USD) which is absolutely cheap in Jerusalem. Because of this fact, many travellers visit this hostel from all over the world. At the time, the majorities consisted of Koreans and Germans. According to the owner many Japanese stay there but it was not the peak season of the Japanese travellers. Well, he knows a lot.

Jerusalem, the Holy PlaceJust in front of the accommodation, stands the Damascus gate which is one of the main entrances of the old town and going through the gate I could find the Muslim area of the Jerusalem old town. Fresh vegetables and fruits, colourful spices, bizarre electric appliances, even though the size of the cities were bit different, this scenery reminded me the other Arabic cities I'd passed such as Amman and Damascus and I somehow felt a kind of nostalgia.

Jerusalem, the Holy PlaceWalking for a while, a strict security gate guarded by armed soldiers appeared on my eye sight. As if it had been at the airport, I had to go through the x-ray security check and it was a large Square after the gate. Wearing pure white shirts and deep black suites, having long moustaches, putting top hats, exactly the typical looking Jews were praying against a gigantic wall. This is the famous "Western Wall".

The Western Wall is the only remaining part of the Jerusalem Temple which was the foremost holly place for Jews built by the King David before the Common Era. The prosperity of the old Israel Kingdom had been destroyed by the Roman invasion and since then the broken Jews around the world have been wailing for this tragedy and praying for the rebuilding of the kingdom. Being surrounded by tourists, many Jews were earnestly praying towards the wall. There was a special corner for foreigners and travellers were allowed to imitate praying but this dignified atmosphere hindered me doing so.

Jerusalem, the Holy PlaceLooking up the wall, the Dome of the Rock, the oldest Muslim building is standing behind it. As well as Jews, Jerusalem is one of the holiest places for Muslims. It is said Mohamed, the founder of Islam, had a holy experience flying to Jerusalem from Mecca for one night. Unfortunately, the area itself was restricted for the non Muslim visitors but I could see the golden dome very well from the hill.

Continuing the walking further, I arrived at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is believed to have been built on Golgotha. Well, I might have learnt about the Crusades when I was sleeping on the desk. On the day, I heard Christian tourists singing choirs under the sound of bells.

Jerusalem, the Holy PlaceIt took only 2 hours to walk around this course. It would've taken less than 1 hour without any halt and within this tiny area the three big religions called "Abrahamic religions" have their most holy places. I could see the tense atmosphere -Jerusalem is the most contentious city place of the world- from the soldiers everywhere carrying heavy machine guns. However, I felt absolutely safe there too ironically due to the soldiers. Nobody would commit mugging or whatever in front of the machine guns.

Well anyway, religions are so difficult. Since when I stayed in Australia, I've been thinking that humans tend to congregate according to their similarities. Family blood, nationality, gender, school, race, favourite musicians etc., if somebody has the same attribute, we recognise this person is a friend and develop intimacy. On the other hand, if the person has the opposite attribute, we are prone to be exclusive. Religions are the epitome of this story; if they share the same doctrine they can be fellows even beyond nationalities yet they could be brutal to the others if they believe in their god as the only true religion

And Jerusalem has three religions believing their own god is the only one and claiming "this city is ours". Well, it's understandable that this is the most disputed area of the world for ages. I'd like to grumble, "Dear God, how many of you are here and who is real?"

On the other hand, our Japanese view of religions is completely opposite to this. An average Japanese celebrated their childhood at a Shinto shrine, wedding at a Christian church, and funeral at a Buddhist temple. What's more, we have a very busy year ends starting from Christmas(Christianity), end of the year bell(Buddism), and new year visit to Shrine(Shintoism). However, we don't really believe in those seriously, I know quite a few Japanese got confused at abroad when they were asked "Do you believe in the God?"

Speaking about myself, I used to suffer from this but for now I'm actually proud of not relying on anything too much. I suppose, for this reason I can make judgments based on my own value. Therefore if I had to state, I believe in myself and social morality. For instance, speaking about a support to the others, I do it because I want to see their smile not because I was told by God "You can go to the heaven if you do so".

Oh, I've sidetracked from the heavy story. But I don't want to conclude this entry with a cheap phrase like "May the peace arrive soon." as I was forced to ponder over something deep for the human's sin and karma. Mutual concessions, forgiveness, and acceptance, I assume all of us were taught these things in our childhood but a lot of adults all over the world can't follow them. Well, maybe because it's even difficult for adults, we teach them to the children. I wonder when everyone will become capable of these principles..

Entry Info

Even though I'm digressing from the main travelogue, I'd like to write about personal news which has had a significant impact on me. Well, this is a kind of a real time update of the trip and please join my monologue.


One of my friends who used to play guitar with me at the high school's club is going to make his major debut for a Japanese top label avex. Although I haven't seen the broadcasted version yet, his song is already featured as the Coca Cola's CM song in Japan. Heday, a male vocal and guitar player of a band Layla Lane is he.

Without any exaggerations, he could be the one who has had the greatest influence on my life because since our high school days he's been proving that the dream is only achieved by your own capacity. When I joined the high school's classic guitar club, he was one of my seniors. But not only playing the guitar at the club, dreaming to be a rock star, he was writing a lot of his original songs. And after graduating the school, he decided to go to the US for musical training despite his bright academic aptitude at the most competitive high school of the region. His challenging attitude, ignoring the noises around him and just following the declared dream, gave me huge courage when I came to decide my career before my graduation from high school.

Since then I'd been hearing a lot of amazing news such as that as a studio musician he became a friend of famous music producer, played a session with Ringo Starr etc., and a couple of months ago, the news about the tie-up with Coca Cola Japan came. What's more, the debut from AVEX is this time. It's a classic success story everyone would dream about. Probably, he is a sort of blessed person. Yet, not just because of luck, he must have had the capacity to catch the blue bird when it approached him. When I finished reading his detailed path on Layla Lane's profile page(only Japanese), I made a big sigh. Hey, what breakthroughs have you been making?

In fact, his talent of writing music was standing out from our high school days. Admiring to the Beatles and Queen, he wrote most of his lyrics in English. He also composed the music by himself and vocals, guitar, base, piano, drums he played all of the roles of the band for making his demo tapes. In those days, I had a quite a few friends who were forming bands but he, who kept making only original songs, was totally different from those who were just playing band games. I still have his songs from those days in my iTunes and even now I sometimes pick them up as well as the other major hit songs. I hope to find the remake version of those songs someday in the future when Layla Lane gets their break.

As the 20 century era was transiting to 21st, I, who was captivated with creating 3D graphics, used to help his technical side after school as I was good at handling a PC even though we belonged the same classic guitar club at the school. Mastering the music sources from his MTR by my PC, burning original CDs with the CD-R writer which was quite rare at the time, designing lyrics sheets in earnest by taking photos with a digital camera and such and such. Actually I liked these activities very much because I'd realised that despite my pleasure in playing guitar I couldn't devote myself completely to the music industry but I could contribute to his creation by my calling. As both of us were perfectionists, we pursued our "professional quality" (yet, on reflection I can laugh away the quality from the view of a professional) and I believe those creative processes were much more thrilling than the activities from ordinary colleges.

He made a lot of unforgettable episodes and I'd like to share one of the most impressive scenes. It was when he participated in a band music contest for high school students with his band members. After the brilliant victory of the first local stage, if they'd won the first place of the provincial stage, the door to the final national stage on which many major labels were keeping their eye would've opened to them. As usual they performed their original English song featuring about Christmas. What's more, all of the band members dressed to kill in formal suits. Though it's from a fellow's view, they presented so extraordinarily as high school kids. The audience looked rather more flabbergasted than amazed. Anyway few people were able to comprehend their English lyrics.

The result was that they unexpectedly received "jury's special award". In contrast to the other bands who accepted the special award with big smiles, they looked very dissatisfied and just commented "We are very disappointed because we came here to get the final stage". From this episode, I found how cool people are who focus on the apex and how difficult it is to actualise it. Only a winner could go to the final stage and the rest were the same as the losers. The consolation award wouldn't console them. Nevertheless, in retrospect, thanks to the defeat at the time, coming a very long way round and making a definite advance, he finally made his major debut at this time as Layla Lane. Really, this is "Connecting the Dots". Although we don't know when it happens, every incident connects to the future.

Well, in retrospect again, the very first motivation of me creating web sites was spurred by him saying that he wanted to have a band's web site. In order to meet his demand, I started learning about html from books. The first site was a typical "trendy" site which poorly used frames and emboss effects. In those days, I still devoted myself to 3D graphics as well but afterwards I became fascinated with Flash5, which I bought by academic discount, and started considering my career path to the web industry. Therefore, it's not an overstatement that he has been the greatest influence on my life.

I set out on the round the world trip after 3 years meticulous preparation. I believe I have been achieving a lot of things but after 10 years from those days I can't think of myself having caught up with my respectable friend. Maybe he's running far ahead. Ah, how fortunate I am to have such an inspiring person close to me. I want to make more breakthroughs, pursue my ideal and accelerate myself. I know I can't be satisfied with myself but I just want to feel the elation of making headway. For me, who started pondering over the future plan after coming back home, his leap means far more than simple auspicious news.

Do you think it's nonsense to compare yourself with somebody? I don't think so. I do think it's nonsense to get depressed because of the comparison but it's great to have a person whose existence forces my chin up. I don't need to do the same things as him. I'm delighted too, though envious of his achievement. In case, I feel envious, I should give a try. I know he is just a human being although he appeared to us like a superman at high school. I presume he's been making a crazily tremendous amount of effort as usual. Learning from his attitude, I'd like to go beyond my limit.

Anyhow, the band of my friend from high school days, Layla Lane is going to make their debut by a single CD "Happy Lane" from avex. You can already order it from Amazon. It would be great if you could think of getting the one. Now, I'm just wondering what if the song enter the charts but whatever he achieves I wouldn't be surprised anymore but give it my big applause.

Entry Info

30th (Wed)
Dec 2009

Leaving from Japan

Sorry for not updating while. I'm now at Narita Airport JAL First Class Lounge and prepared for the departure. On 10:55(UTC+9) by JL717, I'm leaving from Japan and arrive at Bangkok on 16:05(UTC+7). It's really starting.

For this one month, I've been kept too busy to maintain this blog. Meeting friends, moving house, organising stuff, etc., they were enough to make me inundated but finally I managed everything by today!

Last night, I stayed at Park Hyatt Tokyo and it was absolutely fabulous. Maybe I will start with the story about there but please wait a little more for now. I'm already running out of my time here but after this I'll surely update this blog regulary.

By the way, I got a twitter account. Follow satoshionoda_e for more on time updates.

Well then, bye-bye Japan, and hello world!

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