The beautiful but sad Nagasaki
Nagasaki Travel Blog› entry 6 of 14 › view all entries
December 13th, 2004 – by: bcbusdriver
Nagaski is a city that has left a huge imprint on me. Rarely do I visit a city and say to myself not only could I live here but it is a beautiful as my home. During my travels I come across many beautiful cities but for some reason I can rarely see myself living there. I also visit great cities but just think it sure is not as nice as Vancouver. Nagasaki felt so comfortable for me.
Nagasaki has some of the most western history to it then any other Japanese city. When most of Japan was cut off from the world by the Emperor Nagasaki was still allowed to trade with England, mostly in tea. Of course many of us know it because it was also bombed with an A bomb by the Americans near the end of World War 2. I also learned that hundreds of Christians were killed by the local government during a time when Westerns were not welcome in the Japan Empire.
On the plus side the views from the hillsides in Nagasaki are awesome. The harbor is similar to Vancouver's in that it is narrow and you can easily stand on one side and see the other side. The big difference though is while Vancouver has been able to keep large sections of the harbor free of development that is not the case with Nagasaki as most of it is built up with warehouses and ship yards.
Another plus in Nagasaki is it multi culture neighborhoods. There is a fairly large and active Chinatown and you can easily find decent Western food. We ate at a nice Russia restaurant not far from the JR station.
As soon as we arrived in Nagaski we were met by Akiko friend. She had already bought some more tickets that would take us to the her families neighborhood. The family it turns out lives in area that has a lot of Mitsubishi employees. Akiko's friend's father is a engineer within the company and must do quite well financially. The home we stayed in would be decent size home here in Canada and I would hate to to know what it costs in a large Japanese city like Nagasaki. The house was even on a good size piece of land with some large trees.
At dinner time I got experience food delivery Japan style. Everything looked normal when the mother phoned the restaurant and ordered food for all of us. About 45 minutes later the bell at the door rang and this is when things got different. A gentleman entered wearing white gloves and carrying what looked like a wicker basket. Inside were metal pots and nice dishes. He placed them all on the table and after being paid left. Food delivery in Japan includes real dishes! After dinner you are expected to wash all the dishes and phone the restaurant and they will come and get them that night or the next day. I can not imagine this type of service working in Canada. Nobody would return the dishes forget about clean them.
The next day the father insisted on taking us to the A bomb museum himself. This man loved his city and you could tell but he wanted to show us everything not just the happy parts. As you have likely read before the Japanese have left the area where the A bomb hit virtually alone. There are a few signs explaining what was there before the bomb but much of the area looks like it would have a few days after the bombing. Of course it is clean and more organized but the buildings around there still looked wrecked. After you look around you walk up some stairs and go into one of the saddest museums you will ever see. After 1 hour in there most people have seen enough and it is time to go find something more cheerful.
We then headed to a nice park called Glover Gardens. During the time that Japan self isolated it self from the rest of the world this was one of the few places Westerns could do business and live. The Glovers made a small fortune trading in tea and their old home is the location of the gardens. There are a couple more large European styel homes in the park but the Glover gives the best view of Nagasaki. You can stand on the old front porch of the home and look over the Nagasaki harbor and skyline. Again this reminded me of standing on the mountians overlooking my home. It was wonderful.
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