Masato Ishiguro
Professor emeritus at NAOJ
Former ALMA-J Project Director
Former JAO international staff
(at the time of writing)

June 2008
・ALMA Construction Site -1-
July 2008
・Scenery around the ALMA Office
August 2008
・ALMA Construction Site -2-
September 2008
・Trees and Flowers in Santiago -1-
October 2008
・Trees and Flowers in Santiago -2-
November 2008
・Clouds Seen in the Atacama Desert
December 2008
・The Dog that Trots about Finds…
January 2009
・ALMA Construction Site -3-
February 2009
・Memories of the Atacama Desert
March 2009
・Chile from North to South


The Dog that Trots about Finds…

There is a proverb saying “the dog that trots about finds a bone.” I interpret this as “the dog that does not walk never finds a bone (good fortune),” and try to walk as much as possible. While walking, I encounter rare trees and flowers, lives of local people, nice restaurants, and small vegetable stores selling fresh vegetables and fruits that make my walk enjoyable. However, I sometimes run across something that I want to avoid. The other day, I heard a thump on my back when walking on the edge of a pedestrian crossing. Turning around, I found it was a hitting sound when the corner of a bus running by my side knocked my backpack. In Santiago, vehicles do not yield to pedestrians at intersections, so I am tensed up when crossing the streets. At the crossings, there are people selling newspapers, flowers, and vegetables and those trying to earn money showing entertaining performances for drivers stopped at a red light. I sometimes see street performers walking on stilts as shown in Photo1. I wonder how they can reach to the driver in a car from such a high place.

Photo 1: Street performer walking on stilts

In the center of the old district in Santiago, there is an avenue free of vehicle where street performers are showing their specialties on weekends. Photo 2 shows performers demonstrating a modern dance. It was a very exciting and acrobatic dance which made me feel passion of Latin people. On May 3, I had a chance to see a parade of Bolivian Tinku dance (Photo 3). I was captivated by the dance with rhythmical folklore music by dancers dressed up in colorful native costume.

street performance
Photo 2: Passionate street performance
Photo 3: Tinku dance parading through the old district in Santiago

Tinku means “encounter” in Quechua (official language in Inca empire), and it was originally a violent fighting festival where people fight each other sometimes to death (according to the information on the website of the Japanese Embassy in Bolivia). The dance I saw in Santiago was surely dynamic but I didn’t feel any aggressive combat-like atmosphere. As just described, there are a lot of enjoyable encounters when walking in Santiago. While enjoying it, I often forget the passage of time and what I should do, even when I go out for something scheduled.

Santiago Municipal Theater
Photo 4: Santiago Municipal Theater and people waiting for the opening of an opera performance

At the end of October, I went to the Santiago Municipal Theater (Photo 4) in the old district and found that there was an opera performance on the day. At the entrance of the theater, people were waiting for the opening of the opera performance. As the ticket booth was closed, I went to the stage door and asked for a ticket. The man at the door told me that the day was the premiere of the opera “The Marriage of Figaro” for invitees, and there was no ticket-selling for the public. Perhaps because I looked so disappointed, the man said, “Wait a moment here. I will find an invitation ticket,” and went away. After about 10 minutes, the man returned with an invitation ticket in his hand. Thanks to him, I could enjoy the 3-hour opera performance for free, and had a very lucky day. Chilean people are very kind and friendly.

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