Hiroshima 広島 Part I
Hiroshima Travel Blog› entry 30 of 32 › view all entries
January 11th, 2008 – by: hellokiel
I need not to explain the history surrounding the city, but will instead guide you through our journey. The trip was prefaced by a pre-departure meeting featuring a video and lecture on the city's history - one that was a subtle reminder of the solemn, yet informative events of the weekend ahead. We then gathered as a group and rode the 新幹線 shinkansen or bullet train. This was my first ride ever, and it was pretty neat. These trains, some of which travel to speeds in excess of 250mph, connect the main islands of Japan and cater to all people looking for a very fast, efficient, and quiet ride.
We arrived in the city of Hiroshima late in the evening...and it was pouring rain. Probably not the best time of the year to visit, early January, but it couldn't be helped this time. We checked into our hotel and some of us went to explore the city a little, only to get drenched and then return for an early call time for the next morning.
The following day was jam packed with cultural events. We started the morning off going to the 原爆ドーム Genbaku dome, one of the remaining government buildings that survived the blast. It has since become a world icon and solemn reminder of the time-stopping event of that August morning.
We were led around the grounds of the memorial sites by our friendly Hiroshima guide. We moved onto the Eternal Flame - one that will be extinguished once all of the nuclear weapons in the world are disarmed (a nice thought) - as well as the museum itself, which by the way, is very cheap to get into. Inside are relics, artifacts, photographs, videos, timelines, all things surrounding the bombing and thereafter. It is beautiful, it is sad, it is gruesome, it is truthful, but most importantly, it is peaceful. That's the thing I gathered from this entire trip: the message of this place is not one of blame, but one of rememberance and of working toward peace so that something like this will never happen again.
Our museum visit was then followed by a lecture and speech by a 原爆者 genbakusha, or bomb survivor. Ms. Miyoko Matsubara shared with us her experience on Aug 6th, 1945. A school girl at the time, she was only 1.5 km from the hypocenter of the blast. She survived, but was very badly burned and injured. Many of her friends and family died. This was a tough, but very important speech to listen to. I admire her for continuing to tell that story as painful as it may be each time to recall the events of the past.
We had time to reflect and relax afterward. Some of us went out around the park and walked around. We were then taken to our ryokan where we would be staying. A small group of us went to visit 縮景園 shukkei-en, a Japanese garden nearby. It was really beautiful and nicely landscaped.
We ended the evening at a 9-story arcade, bowling, karaoke, billiards, mini-golf, super-fun center. This place blew Gameworks and D&B's clear out of the water. Sadly, there are no pictures from it, but you'll have to trust me on this one.
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