(25) Shocked by Armenia's lack of understanding and Soviet-style doldrums, he becomes ill. Baptism of culture shock

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Travels in Armenia] (25) Shocked by the lack of understanding of Armenia and the Soviet-like stagnation, I fell ill. Baptism of culture shock

On the third day of my stay in Armenia, I visited Mount Ararat, the sacred site of Noah's Ark, and the World Heritage Site of Etchmiadzin Cathedral.

But in fact, the evening before that day, my body started to feel strange and I was completely down around Etimiazin.

I would like to tell you what happened to me.

Now, I have used the word "discomfort" many times since my arrival here in Armenia.

I have been introduced to various churches, but each time I enter one, I cannot help but be perplexed by the disconnect between the past and the present.

It was as if time had stood still."

This is a simple statement, but when I actually experienced the situation on site, I was shocked to the core.

And for me there is a further question.

The building itself is still old, with time stopped since the Middle Ages, but the icons placed there are clearly new.

This picture shows an icon of a monastery on the banks of Lake Sevan. Do you feel that there is something Persian about it? There is nothing European about it. This is the same in every church I visited in Armenia.

I asked my guide. How long have you had these icons? Have they always been painted this way?

Then the guide replied, "This is relatively recent. In fact, we don't know how the icons were once depicted because they have been lost," the guide replied.

I froze for a moment. No icons? I don't know how to draw? What is the meaning of this?

The guide said he does not know any more.

My discomfort was intensified here.

Armenia is the oldest Christian nation. But we do not know how to depict the icons of the past. In other words, the history is disconnected. I could not help but be puzzled by this.

There is only one Armenian Apostolic Church in the world. It is neither Catholic, Protestant nor Orthodox. What would happen if the sacraments of the Armenian Church were lost due to warfare or changes in the political system?

If this were Catholicism or Orthodoxy, we would be able to quickly restore similarities between the same Catholic or Orthodox churches. However, the Armenian Apostolic Church followed a unique path different from those. That is why, once it is lost, we will not be able to recognize it because there is no similarity.

I am not an expert, so I don't know any more than that. However, I would like to tell you that this Armenian icon has left me deeply perplexed.

This strange phenomenon of having the oldest history but a disconnected history makes Armenia unique.

In fact, before entering Armenia, my Georgian guide had told me this.

Armenians are quick to say, 'We created the 00.' They also often say, 'Armenia's 00 is the oldest in the world.'" And.

And when I actually entered Armenia and spoke with my guide, to my surprise, that is exactly what happened.

I didn't care for the "Armenia dates back to Noah of Mount Ararat and is the oldest Christian country in the world," because that's something that would have been explained to me, of course.

But then the Armenian guide said, to my surprise, "I am not sure if this is a good idea or not.

In Japan, there is melon bread. That was made by Armenians. The origin of melon bread is in Armenia. I will show you next time.

I said it! I really said it!

I was inwardly quite surprised. I had no idea it would explode so quickly!

The same thing happened many times after this. I will never forget the words, "Soviet fighter planes were also built by Armenian Mikoyan," but the most memorable of these was when we visited the city of Dilijan.

The old streets of the old town were indeed beautiful.

But here is what the guide said.

This is Armenian architecture of the 19th century. It is an original Armenian architecture".

But I thought. I had seen quite a few similar buildings in Georgia, and I thought that there were many such buildings in various parts of Europe.

When I told them that softly, the guide laughed. As if to say, "It was an imitation of this ..."

The 19th century is a fairly recent date; the Russian Empire has been invading Georgia since the beginning of that century. In this light, Russian influence would have reached this point. Furthermore, the Ottoman Empire, a great power, is waiting to the west of Armenia.

Considering this, it still feels strange to say so proudly that it is an Armenian original.

I could understand that this is a wonderful 19th century Armenian architecture, but that does not mean that I can say that it is original and uninfluenced by any other architecture in Armenia.

I was eager to report this to my Georgia guide. When I told her about it later, she laughed. I was right.

Thus, Armenia may be a people who take pride in the fact that "we are the oldest 00".

But this is exactly what I felt in the Armenian churches.

We are so focused on the past and the oldest history that we have become disconnected from the present. There is no connection between the past and the present.

I have seen a number of churches where time seems to have stopped.

It is true that the building gives us a sense of its past history. However, the way in which the icons are depicted is also lost, which is the essence of my feeling of discomfort. This is the true nature of the discomfort I felt.

I was to meet later in Yerevan with a Japanese man who was studying in Armenia because of Dostoevsky. He said the same thing.

"All Armenians say, 'We are the oldest 00,' 'We created the 00. But so what ? So What ? Isn't it ?"

I agree. There is no now. There is no sense of what has continued from the past. There is a sense of disconnection.

He also said this.

Perhaps it is because there is no such historical connection in Armenia that he brings up the past. In other words, the oldest traditions have been lost, and therefore we have no choice but to jump ahead and bring up the oldest.

When you think about it, Japan is a country with so much continuity in its culture. We do not even bother to come up with "we are the oldest 00" or "this was made by 00".

This is probably due to the history of Armenia as a country and a people. It is a feeling that I, as a Japanese, could never understand.

Ever since I entered Armenia, I have been puzzled, "I don't know, I don't know".

I have visited holy places and religious sites all over the world, but never have I felt so "unsure. It is such a strange country.

However, to the people of Armenia, this is a matter of course and no wonder. I am an outsider, and I am not responsible for this lack of understanding. I am not responsible for Armenia. This is just how I felt.

But this feeling of discomfort was eating away at my body.

And one more thing. One thing I just could not get used to was the old Soviet atmosphere.

already(22) "To neighboring Armenia for Mount Ararat, the sacred site of Noah's Ark, and a monastery where time seems to have stood still."This dull brown, gray world that I talked about in the article on

The end of the former Soviet Union. A sense of stagnation.

This weighed heavily on my mind.

Georgia has adopted an American-style policy of economic growth since the change of government in 2004. As a result, infrastructure has been developed and industries are being created.

But what about Armenia? Even in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, one senses a certain Soviet-like gloom.

Armenia still has strong ties with Russia. The atmosphere is completely different from Georgia, which distanced itself from Russia and tried to connect with the U.S. and Europe.

In short, here was a world that was completely different from the Western world in which I live.

They are too different.

When we see something different from the world we are used to, our nerves are drawn to it. Unfamiliar things keep pouring into our minds as new information. And before you know it, you can't process it all and you get a flat tire. In this way, stress accumulates without our knowing it. People unconsciously become nervous about unfamiliar things. For me, Armenia was the ultimate example of this.

At first it was a headache. But on the evening of the second day in Yerevan, I began to have diarrhea that wouldn't stop. I am sorry to sound dirty, but it was a crisis that could not be joked about at all.

But in spirit, I managed to endure the next day's Mount Ararat and Etchmiadzin. But I was at my limit. I was completely down here.

I visited Cuba in 2019. Even then I was shocked and fell asleep in a completely different world.

At this time, I could not keep up with the Cubans' joviality and suffered from a headache.

And now he was suffering from diarrhea in Armenia. From the top to the bottom, I was very busy.

I am weak. I have always been. When I travel with friends, something usually happens at the end of the trip.

This is what happens when a weak body is subjected to mental shock to begin with.

I had been very anxious to finish this trip in one piece, but it was still not enough. I was beaten down by Armenia.

Once this happens, all I can think of is that I want to get out of Armenia as soon as possible.

But the schedule is already set. The departure date is still a long way off...

I cancelled most of my schedule in Armenia after this and continued to fight at the hotel.

In a way I will never forget this experience in Armenia. I honestly wished I had never come. But it made my subsequent visit to the Georgia Caucasus Mountains an even more wonderful experience.

I would like to send you a report on our last day in Armenia in the next article. It is my longed-for escape from Armenia.

be unbroken

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