Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Japan | Five

After another delightful hotel breakfast, we caught a non-stop train to Hiroshima (about 330 kms away) and arrived just in time to catch the tram to Miyajimaguchi Station where we caught the ferry to Miyajima Island. 

The weather in Hiroshima was wet. 
Very wet. 

Students in uniforms are so delightful

There were deer everywhere...

It was about a ten minute walk from the ferry terminal to the shrine. (Shinto shrine.)

Sue dragged that suitcase everywhere. (She was working later in the day and all her brochures and handouts were in it.)

The gate:

The floating shrine:

And of course, the shops on your way out...

And then our time was up.
We needed to get back on the ferry.
And then the tram to get back to Hiroshima.

Sue had to work.

We traveled together for about half an hour, then she got off. I continued on to the Peace Park:

The Atomic Bomb Dome or A-Bomb Dome is part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. The ruin serves as a memorial to the people who were killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. 

Over 70,000 people were killed instantly, and another 70,000 suffered fatal injuries from the radiation.

The plane dropped the bomb over the city at 8:15:17 a.m. local time on 6 August 1945. Within 43 seconds of being dropped, the Little Boy detonated over the city, missing its target by 790 ft. Intended for the Aioi Bridge, the bomb instead exploded directly over the hospital which was very near to the Genbaku Dome. 

Because the explosion was almost directly overhead, the building was able to retain its shape.The building's vertical columns were able to resist the nearly vertical downward force of the blast, and parts of the concrete and brick outer walls remained intact. The center of the blast occurred 150 m horizontally and 600 m vertically from the Dome. Everyone inside the building was killed instantly.

This is what the building originally looked like before the bomb exploded:

The Children's Peace Monument is a statue dedicated to the memory of the children who died as a result of the bombing. The statue is of a girl with outstretched arms with a folded paper crane rising above her. 

The statue is based on the true story of a young girl who died from radiation from the bomb. She believed that if she folded 1,000 paper cranes she would be cured.   

To this day, people (mostly children) from around the world fold cranes and send them to Hiroshima where they are placed near the statue. The statue has a continuously replenished collection of folded cranes nearby:

From Wikipedia:

The monument was built using money derived from a fund-raising campaign by Japanese school children, including Sadako Sasaki's classmates, with the main statue entitled "Atomic Bomb Children". 

Sadako Sasaki, who died of an atomic bomb disease (radiation poisoning) is immortalized at the top of the statue, where she holds a wire crane above her head. Shortly before she passed, she had a vision to create a thousand cranes. (Japanese tradition says that if one creates a thousand cranes, they are granted one wish.(

 Sadako's wish was to have a world without nuclear weapons. Thousands of origami cranes from all over the world are offered around the monument. They serve as a sign that the children who make them and those who visit the statue desire a world without nuclear war having been tied to the statue by the story that Sadako died from radiation-induced leukemia after folding just under a thousand cranes, wishing for world peace. 

Unfortunately, her wish was not granted and she died of the leukemia on October 25, 1955. 

Near the center of the park is a concrete, saddle-shaped monument that covers a cenotaph  (below) holding the names of all of the people killed by the bomb. The monument is aligned to frame the Peace Flame and the A-Bomb Dome. The Memorial Cenotaph was one of the first memorial monuments built on open field on August 6, 1952. The arch shape represents a shelter for the souls of the victims.

After walking around the park in the rain for half an hour, I got to the museum an hour before it closed. I paid my entry fee then had my heart ripped out for the next 60 minutes. ( Similar to the way I felt in the War Museum in Vietnam and the 911 Memorial in New York. WHY ARE WE SO EVIL? Oy, our capacity knows no end.)

As far as museums go, this one was excellent. 
Sadly, by the time I left though, I didn't feel hopeful that we had learned anything about bombing cities. We still do terrible things to each other. 

I left the Peace Park, wet and coughing. 
My feet ached and my head was pounding.

I waited for a tram to get me back to the Hiroshima Train Station. As it was rush hour, a couple went past filled to overflowing. And when I could get on one, it was standing room only.

Sue and I had arranged to meet at the Starbucks. Hahaha.
I asked a million people where the Starbucks was and walked around for half an hour lost as lost can be.

Obviously we met up, otherwise I'd still be there, and together we hunted down a restaurant for dinner. We ended up having this:

... which was wonderfully soothing on my sore throat.

We had a few minutes before we caught the late train back to Shinosaka, so Sue went shopping:

And we used the bathroom at the station:

Handy seat for your infant to sit in while you pee:

The other option was to straddle this trough in the floor:

Then bought some snacks for the ride home.

Sue is very pleased with her choice.

I should mention this.
EVERYWHERE you go in this country, someone offers you a moist towelette.
On trains, in restaurants, at snack counters...

Quite marvelous.

By the time we got back to our hotel, I was done.
Despite spending 9 of my 12 hours on some form of public transportation, I managed to walk almost 9 kilometers in the rain with a headache from hell.

Hiroshima, you were hauntingly beautiful.


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