Haruka's Diary
Chasing After Rainbows: August 2013

22 August 2013

Europe trip: Day 14 (Venice Day 2)

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Places visited (11 June): Binale sites. Former republic of Slovakia, Korea art museum

Second day in Venice. Went to the supermarket to buy more food supplies, and walking through the streets that range from being at the two sides of the river, to random dark and narrow pathway that oddly has a lot of people walking through it. As if encountered by accident, I stumbled upon Iuav University of Venice (Università Iuav di Venezia; IUAV), probably the only college there.

There are so many things about this city that you can't find elsewhere: plenty of old buildings that are older than most buildings that I know of, the lack of roads (which also means the absence of things associated with vehicles) and having boats in their place, houses that are that close to the water as you can see in pictures (and the algae markings visible). Partly because of how long ago the buildings were built, and their conservation status, it's hard to tell if buildings are shops, houses, schools, offices, and so on, at a glance. The only areas where buildings of modern times are seen are in the area where the station I arrived at is located (which is also where the bus terminal to the mainland are, including the airport) and the outlying islands that are designed to look like the older Venice buildings, but distinct enough to tell that it's new. I saw a construction zone and a demolished site on one of those islands.

If you were to look carefully at the walls, you can see how high the flooding in Venice can reach, which is not surprising considering how low the average street level is to the water, but the increasing frequency and height is a worrying concern.

Without a map, I walked around along the main streets hoping to find a binale site. Eventually, I came across one, which is an exhibit of dead bats, cocoons, and not much other stuff. However, it was also there that I found out where the main venue is, which is at two separate locations. Both are quite far from the place I stayed at.

So what else is there? Well, we decided to wander around aimlessly. Probably areas far away from where most tourists would probably not go to. I came across a jetty where the gondolas that Venice is known for are parked at. Jetty is designed in a way that you would have to navigate through the confusing paths to get to, even though the waterway itself is a major waterway.

Along the way, I noticed that some doors are sealed up for some reason. An obvious way to tell is that the numbers that usually appear above the doors appeared above a wall, though it's obvious that, by looking at it, there was a door there. Some units has (apparently older) roman numerals carved at the top of the door archway. The newer numbering seems to be a unique number across the whole of Venice except its outlying islands.

Then we came across a courtyard-like place with a unit that seemed to have its door decayed badly. On its window, I could find some sand-like particles at the edges of the window that looked like something you would find at the beach. This is the strongest sign of how high the floods in Venice could go. Looking into the window, it is clear that the place seems to have been abandoned for a while, as I could see flood-damaged items (and flood lines on some) inside.

Along the way back, I saw two black cats. Cats are rarely seen during the time in Europe at that point in time, and these two seemed to belong to someone. These cats quickly wandered away, as if running away from me. I don't know why, but something made me want to follow those cats.

So the cats bring me to some strange area surrounded by buildings where there are more similar looking cats hanging around. This area is out of the way for most people.

I wanted to get closer to the building and those cats, but it's fenced up with a locked gate. (Photo you see on the right is taken through the gaps in the fence.)

It was sunset at that time, so, I left when it got dark. I saw light reflecting off the cat's eyes as I leave.

Now, how do I find my way back. In fact, where exactly am I? The place is not that well lit.

If it weren't for my phone's GPS and an offline cache, I would have been completely lost. Having signs pointing to some major places in Venice that are close to my place or in the general direction of it.

The quiet streets with close shops and nobody around is kind of scary though.


12 August 2013

Yononaka no Okugi (Part 2)

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To avoid alerting people on what I am up to, I would only head to the library when no one wants me to join them to walk home or somehow only get released from school late enough for the library to be closing. I do not know why I do not want other people to know about it, but something tells me that I shouldn't tell anyone.

The school library is smaller than the local community library. It shouldn't take that long to find any kind of book relating to my school, but...

There are only four school yearbooks on the shelf, and all of them are of those who graduated earlier this year and the three years immediately prior to that. For a school that is established about half a century ago, this is shocking. My guess from this is that it either happened four years ago, or after the graduation of five years ago. So that should also mean that people who were in this school at the time the transformation happened should be in the books between two to four years ago.

I wonder if I can pick up hints from their testimonials and compare them with more recent ones, but without yearbooks from more than four years ago, I cannot tell how the testimonials of students that graduated four years ago (the batch that experienced their transformed selves the least as students here) are the same as earlier graduates...

Oh? I noticed that the names of the batch of students who were studying in the school at the time this evolution happened had all of their given names in kanji and hiragana. That is also when people with their given names only in katakana, like mine, started appearing. I'm guessing that this could be a hint.

The ratio of those students with katakana names then started increasing dramatically as time passed. Names of people who had their names in kanji or hiragana became a handful minority in the fourth yearbook here, which means the first year students who experienced the transformations were in the three school year books before that, which obviously means they have already graduated...

...Wait a minute. How are there still students with non-katakana names in this school if the people who experienced evolution as first year middle school students should be in third year of high school now? Anyone born since then have katakana names only

I don't know why myself, but everyone born after the evolution should only have Japanese given names in katakana. Come to think of it, what happened to the people who were too young to be a middle school student when the evolution happened? Seeing that there are no "old" people mentioned in these old magazines, what happens to us when we actually do reach the age that is considered "old"? Could it be related to me suddenly being thirteen years old when I was born? How did I exist in the first place?

It looks like I really can't continue on further without help from someone. I wonder if the students in this school with non-katakana names could help me? Their name would surely stand out in the list of students since many students of this school presently were born after the evolution.

Chapter 1
Part 1 | Part 3

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中野区, 東京都, Japan
帰国子女 英語能力は堪能。趣味はアニメや漫画やプログラムコードを編集。通常、あたしの小説を英語で書いてです。Grew up abroad &travelled to different countries. I write my own fictional novel on my blog.