Saturday, February 22, 2020

1月末に岩手県釜石市から滋賀を訪れ、その後西日本各地を回って講演や様々な方と交流をしてこられた山田周生さんが仕事と作業を終えて岩手にお帰りになりました。山田さんといえば必ず結びつくのがバイオディーゼル車のランクルことランドクルーザー。自身で考案した廃油を軽油に変える小型機械を車体後部に搭載したこの特殊な車の車検を受けるために毎年1月下旬に来滋となり、私の所でもお話会をしていただいたことは既に報告済みですが、砂漠にもランクルにもバイオディーゼル燃料にもまったく縁がない私に分かったことは僅かで未だ分からないことの方が遥かに多いですが、そのランクルが岩手に向かう直前に知った興味深いことがいくつかあります。山田さんのランクルの「VASCO-5(ヴァスコ・ファイブ)という名前の由来について。VASCOはポルトガル人の航海者で探検家でもありヨーロッパからアフリカ南岸を経てインドへ、つまり「インド航路」を開拓したVasco da Gama(ヴァスコダガマ 1460-1524)からきているそうで、アフリカで砂漠を駆け抜け世界一周を果たした山田さんのランクルにはふさわしい名前です。続く「5(ファイブ)」は事前に数台のランクルでバイオディーゼル走行をテストしたそうでその5台目が今の車とのことです。VASCO-5のシンボルマークはヴァスコダガマの航海船の旗印と5を組み合わせたナイスなデザイン。そしてこのVASCO-5の重量は何と3トンを超えるそうです。車体もエンジンも酷使に耐えるように並外れて頑丈に作られているとのこと。今回全てのタイヤ交換をされましたが、車が重すぎて4、5人のプロの男性がかかっても作業が大変だったようです。Mr. Shusei Yamada, who came to Shiga from Kamaishi city in Iwate for the inspection of his car at the end of January, and who gave several talks as well as met his friends in the western part of Japan, went back to his home a few days ago. If you know Mr. Yamada, you must think of his biodiesel car "Lan-Cru" which is a Toyota Land Cruiser. It is a special car that makes use of vegetable oil as biodiesel fuel, which was his own idea. He gave us a speech about his experiences at my cafe and I already reported about that in my blog, but actually there are still a lot of things that I don't know because my life is very different and far from desert, land cruiser and biodiesel fuel. However, here are a couple of things about his car which I learned and became very interested in. He named his Land Cruiser "VASCO-5" and according to him, "VASCO" came from the name of Vasco da Gama (1460-1524) who was a Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea. Mr. Yamada drove through the Sahara desert and went around the world by his Land Cruiser instead of going across the sea. As for "5", he said that he tested several Land Cruisers and it was the fifth one he tried. The symbol of VASCO-5 is the combination of the flag of the boat which Vasco da Gama took for his voyage and number five which looks so cool! Mr. Yamada told me that the weight of VASCO-5 is over three tons. The body and engine are very heavy compared to other cars which allows it to endure extremely harsh conditions. Tires of VASCO-5 were replaced with new ones but according to Mr. Yamada, it was hard work even with four or five professional men because of the heaviness of the car.