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Dec. 2018: Winter in Belgium

2019-01-28 10:17:29 | 旅行
福岡市東区にある語学スクール クロスカルチャーコミュニケーションセンター 「シーフォー」です。


Christmas market in the city center

Every year, when I go back home to Europe, I discover something new during my stay.
This time, I went to Belgium with my son, to see my friends and my parents.
I hadn’t been in Belgium for 4 years. And as usual, I noticed or remembered some aspects of my country.

Brussels, in spite of being the capital of Belgium and the capital of the European Union, has always been famous for being dirty.
Dirty streets, dirty buildings, dirty air. Coming from the clean and neat Japan,
my son told me he thought the city was indeed dirty and smelly.
However, compared to what I’ve known, I thought that Brussels was cleaner than before!
I guess it all comes down to what you compare.

Near my parents’ house, view on the city

I was surprised to see so many people in the city center. I used to live in the center
but I think it has now been invaded by tourists, a little like Venice or Barcelona.
It must be difficult to live your everyday life as a citizen. There are fewer supermarkets
and there are more chocolate and souvenir shops than ever before.
There are more hotels but the city was still under construction everywhere
and there were more traffic jams than in the past.
Maybe many people chose to come to Brussels this Christmas because of the violence of the demonstrations in Paris?
After all, it only takes 90 minutes by bullet train from Paris to Brussels.
The fact is that I had never seen Brussels so packed with tourists!

Under construction everywhere.

My friends and I were happy to meet but I newly noticed that people in the subway looked mostly stressed, tired or depressed.
There is little light in the winter because the days are short.
You always have to be careful about your belongings because pickpockets are very common in Brussels.
This lack of light and security is tiring and depressing. When I was living over there,
I was used to it. This time, I discovered that I had forgotten this life style; we are much more relaxed in Fukuoka!
Finally, I have seen that global warming is indeed “global” as we weren’t cold at all in Brussels for about two weeks!
I remembered freezing in winter while I waited for the tramway in old days.
Not this winter, not anymore.

As a conclusion, now that we are back in Fukuoka, I think of my stay as a short “trip”.
After living 18 years in Fukuoka, I myself have become a tourist in my own hometown.
Many small things had changed in Belgium, but the one who certainly has changed the most is me!
That has been my main discovery.

Café Métropole, one of the nicest places in town.

In front of the “Atomium”, landmark building in Brussels (built in 1957).

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