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【Note on Japanese UNESCO Sites Discussion on June 30, 2015 – No. 2】


(Contributed by Takashi)
Here are sentences I made to complete, edit, expand or summarize what we talked during the above dated discussion. The purpose is solely for your English learning reference. Hope this will help – Takashi
I have been to a number of World Heritage sites here in Japan and abroad. Of those, the one that impressed me the most is the Temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. What I didn’t expected was the scale of the temple. It turned out that Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the word.
But it was not only the size of the architecture that impressed me. The setting of the site was also marvelous, with the natural pond in the foreground complementing the religious complex to present a perfect harmony between a human artifact and a wilderness.
This holly site was once inaccessible to holidaymakers, but no longer. These days, there are packaged tours available, allowing us to get there with an ease of taking a direct flight from Narita to Cambodia’s international airport and from there hopping onto a chartered bus to the sacred destination.
Talking of ancient temple, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, is another World Heritage site rich in history. What is unique about this location is how precariously it is nestled between the East and the West. To prove its complicated cultural geography, Hagia Sophia, originally constructed as a Christian church and later used as an Orthodox cathedral, was converted into an Islamic mosque in the 15th century, only to be repurposed again as a museum in last century, symbolizing/epitomizing Turkey’s complex geopolitics.
There are eleven cultural or natural sites in Japan that are now under review for future World Heritage site registration. Of them, I feel Aska most appropriate to be recognized because it very closely reflects the idea of World Heritage.
I want to support Yaku-shima for the recognition. The moss-covered ancient trees there are majestic. In fact they were the key motif of the animation movie, Mononoke Hime created by Hayao Miyazaki.
World Heritage sites are not controversy free. For example, the recommendation of Gunkan-jima, off the coast of Nagasaki, for inclusion is debated because of the cruel labor practices that once took place there.
Some find that fact contradictory to the ideals of World Heritage whereas others disagree by arguing that World Heritage sites do not need to be beautiful or pleasant. They say as far as the site can teach something profound to us, it is worth registering.
Some even go on to say that Gunkan-jima can serve as an opportunity to show to the world that Japan is ready to own up to the misconducts it committed during its imperialistic era.

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