Tetsuji Ito is professor of psychology researchers of the Faculty of Social Humanities, Ibaraki University, Japan. He lived in Hanoi 10 months (range 1998-1999) and have a chance to taste the life of the street in Hanoi. Since then, every year he will return to Vietnam. From Japan, a post he recorded this experience interesting.
Hanoi, where I live in the years 1998-1999, was a bustling city with a lot of motorcycles and goods are sold everywhere. Compared to Hanoi in 1992 – I first arrived, when it was a quiet town a bit sad, travelers do not even know where to eat – they are big difference.
Feet of street life
However, after this period do not seem to have suddenly increased the number of motorcycles, traffic and bustle. If you only see, probably not notice a significant change in Hanoi today than 10 years ago. However, now almost no longer see the shadow of the boys selling postcards, the girl sale palm-leaf conical hat as souvenirs around Hoan Kiem lake. These foreigners like me that sometimes kids promiscuous along insisted: “Buy this postcard just 1 dollar.” Although I have very sympathetic to Vietnam, but was also uncomfortable. Yet now, when no longer see the shadow anymore, I feel a little tottering: Where do know little boys and girls now? what do they do?
And even a pedicab – feet of street life in Hanoi, almost no longer see well anymore. Now can only see the foreign tourists stay at luxury hotels, deliberately walking around the old town area by cyclo, but unfortunately rather have lost cachet of these cars went rushing, dissolve into the life of Hanoi. In the current speed of the cars are on a lot more, the existence of the cyclo, which is just smaller than the speed of the bike, of course is impossible. But remember that despite the change that is required in the flow of time, it seems deep down I still feel a vague sadness. Is it possible to restore the cyclo deliberately, to confront with the trend of the times?
Shops, restaurants are beautiful grown up, Trang Tien plaza was born, even the students were using mobile phones. The old bus is open door run on the street this time has now been replaced by new buses, more beautiful. Meeting roadside markets still exist, but has many more supermarkets, shops fast food follow American-style appearance, while Pho Thin at any time there are only few places.
Stop and contemplate
Not deny the changes as positive, “richer”, but I still feel Hanoi seemed to have lost something very precious. In the great changes of the era, those who are not directly experiencing of war progressively more. A beautiful image of Hanoi ancient remains no more memories of the young generation but the younger generation has no errors, and we must receive the change of time. These changes can quickly feel , perhaps the most influential for a researcher to Vietnam like me .
Vietnam is an increasingly rapid pace. Vietnam is a fast forward on the path of industrialization and modernization. But because Vietnam is the country has gone through years of heroic and tragic war, so I still want you to occasionally take some time to pause and contemplate.
I love the streets of Hanoi, where far-away sound of the peddle, where people just work together and play. I like to sit crouched in a small chair at the roadside kiosk, just eat a bowl of Hanoi Pho, both wallow in something in the space. And, with all my heart of an alien love Hanoi, Hanoi I hope not to lose this vitality .