Here you go. Proof positive that getting a kick from the misery of others is a universal human trait. High time for someone to launch a new travel company, with cruise ships and de luxe accommodations: Schadenfreude Lines. Castrolandia could be one of their top destinations.
Bored Japanese gets kicks from Syria war tourism
(AFP) – 4 days ago
ALEPPO, Syria — Japanese trucker Toshifumi Fujimoto is bored with his humdrum job, a daily run from Osaka to Tokyo or Nagasaki hauling tanker loads of gasoline, water or even chocolate.
Yet while the stocky, bearded 45-year-old could spend his free time getting a jolt of adrenaline by bungee-jumping or shark hunting, he puts his life on the line in a most unusual way.
He’s become a war tourist.
Fujimoto’s passion has taken him from the dull routine of the highway to Syria, where as part of his latest adventure in the Middle East’s hot spots he shoots photos and video while dodging bullets with zest.
He was in Yemen last year during demonstrations at the US embassy and in Cairo a year earlier, during the heady days that followed the ouster of longtime president Hosni Mubarak. Later this year, he plans to hook up with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
But for the moment, he is wrapping up a week’s tour of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, which for going on six months has been one of the hottest spots in a conflict that has cost more than 60,000 lives, according to UN figures.
He already spent two weeks in the war-torn country at the end of 2011, taking advantage of a tourist visa, but this time he has entered the country clandestinely from Turkey.
Dressed in a Japanese army fatigues and armed with two cameras and a video camera — Japanese, of course — Fujimoto heads for whatever frontline he can every morning to document the ongoing destruction of Syria’s second city and one-time commercial capital.
Fujimoto, who doesn’t speak English, much less Arabic, has picked up a few words, such as “dangerous” and “front line.”
The only way to interview him was to make use of Google Translate.
“I always go by myself, because no tour guide wants to go to the front. It’s very exciting, and the adrenaline rush is like no other….”It fascinates me, and I enjoy it,” he says, as some FSA fighters stop him in one of the Old City’s streets to have their picture taken with him.
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