Japanese Tourist Travels to War-torn Countries

February 2, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. war-torn 
[wawr-tawrn, tohrn(adj.) – a place destroyed by war
Example: The residents of war-torn places fled to safety.

2. demonstration [dem-uhn-STREY-shuhn(n.) – a protest by a group of people against authority or those with power
Example: The demonstration took place to show the people’s feelings about the government.

3. front line [FRUHNT-lahyn(n.) – the area where a fight between soldiers is happening
Example: The soldiers ran toward the front line to fight the enemy.

4. risky [RIS-kee(adj.) – dangerous or full of possible danger
ExampleRisky situations should be avoided in order not to get hurt.

5. estranged [ih-STREYNJD(adj.) – a relative or loved one with whom a person lost in touch with for a long time
Example: He has not seen his estranged wife in over ten years.

Read the text below.

Toshifumi Fujimoto, a 45-year-old Japanese truck driver, spends his free time touring war-torn places around the world.

Last year, Fujimoto was in Yemen to witness the demonstrations that took place at the American embassy. He was also in Egypt two years ago during the time people were holding violent demonstrations against former president Hosni Mubarak.

Recently, Fujimoto took a week-long tour in Aleppo, a war-torn city located in northern Syria, where more than 600,000 lives have been lost in the last six months. He paid a local resident $25 every day for rent and for Internet access.

He visited there two years ago using a tourist visa. On his recent visit, however, he entered the country secretly, paying $2,500 to fly from Turkey to Syria. Fujimoto told his employers he was vacationing in Turkey, but he did not tell them he really planned to go to Syria.

He said he would go alone to the front line to take pictures and to post them on his Facebook page for friends to see. He said being there was exciting.  He did not feel nervous because he was a tourist. He believed being a journalist was riskier than being a tourist in Syria.

Fujimoto said he plans to meet with Taliban rebels in Afghanistan this year.

He is divorced with three estranged daughters. He bought a life insurance so that his children will benefit if something happens to him.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think that Toshifumi Fujimoto is brave or careless? Please explain your answer.
·         Why do you think people do exciting but dangerous activities?

Discussion B

·         Should tourists be protected when they visit a country? Why or why not?
·         Should the government prevent people from visiting war-torn countries? Why or why not?


February 2, 2013