Day Ten--Miyajima & Hiroshima

Hiroshima Travel Blog

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A-Bomb dome

We were roused from our sleep at seven AM this morning by the sound of music ringing out across the island. It was really unexpected! We wondered what it was for and I still don’t know. I thought it reminded me of church bells back home calling everyone to mass at certain times during the day.

Nadean and I headed down to breakfast which was Japanese styled, which meant again there wasn’t much of it I could eat.

Today wasn’t going to be a very good day we could already tell. I was happy for the rice as always, but I neglected to read the label on the sauce bottle or I would have known before I poured it all over my rice that it was Worcestershire sauce and not Soy sauce. We were only allow two servings of rice too, but luckily Nadean ate all of hers and let me have her bowl so I could get another helping of rice, this time putting the right sauce on it.

On our way to the ferry station we stopped at the Itsukushima Shrine which is a very famous shrine because of the fact that during high tide, it appears to be floating! The Torii at the front of the shrine is especially well known. However, since it was still morning the tide was out so we were able to take the short cut across the area that would alter be flooded. Oh, I forgot to note this yesterday, but like Nara, Miyajima is overrun with deer! So I got a good picture of a deer in front of the Torii and I think it captures Miyajima perfectly!

Once on the train to Hiroshima, a high school girl started talking with us and she was really good at speaking English! She was really interested in a lot of things and was going to school on a Sunday because it was her exam year so she had to study extra hard to make sure she got into a good university. Amanda asked her if she was into sports and she said that she did Kendo! I thought that was pretty awesome! Kendo is a Japanese style of fencing but it really isn’t much like our idea of fencing. It’s a way of keeping the samurai type of tradition alive and competitors have to wear huge suits of protective armor. They also use bamboo swords as opposed to the flimsy metal sticks western fencers use. I don’t think anyone else from our group really knew anything about it.

When we reached Hiroshima, a somber attitude washed over us. I found it extremely difficult to imagine what the city looked like sixty years ago when the first atomic bomb was dropped there. We took a street car to get to the peace park and began a very humbling and saddening series of tours.

The first thing we saw was the remains of one of the only building left standing after the bombing which had left the rest of the city nearly completely flattened. We proceeded next to te children’s peace memorial which was dedicated to Sadako Sasaki and the story about her, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. I thought it was a very touching memorial and I was reminded of when I read that story in elementary school. It was nice to have a connection to the monument, to be able to understand what is was all about. Later in the museum we would see a couple of the actual paper cranes Sadako folded.

On our way our the museum we stopped to look over the eternal flame, much like the one in Arlington cemetery burning in remembrance of JFK, but this one has the goal of being extinguished when the last nuclear weapon is destroyed.

Once we got to the museum, we were unprepared for what we were about to be exposed to. At first I didn’t think it was going to be as graphic as I previously thought. The first section of the museum was dedicated to comparing the city as a whole before and after the attack. Leaving this area, one passed through a sitting area which contained a gift shop. I think I would have felt really horrible if I’d bought something there as I would have been quickly brought crashing back down to reality when I walked into the next section of the museum which was home to the personal effects and stories of immense tragedy and strife. I nearly burst into tears upon seeing the diorama containing wax figures of the walking dead, victims of the Atomic blast. It was far more heart-wrenching than the last museum I went to that held this sort of tone, an Immigration and Famine museum in Cobh, Ireland.

After finally getting through the museum, knowing that I would never forget the things I’d just seen, I couldn’t understand why any government would want to be in possession of something so devastating. I wonder how many world leaders in possession of nuclear arms have ever been to this museum and have seen the lasting effects such a weapon can have on people. I would not wish the fate of Hiroshima on my very worst enemy.

We were all drained of energy as we made our way from the museum to a memorial dedicated to all who died. It was a very beautiful and serene spot, though it once again became overpowering as the personal accounts of the events after the explosion were being read o a television.

Wearily, and ashamed of belonging to the human race, we returned to Miyajima with heavy hearts.  Nadean, Amanda, Helen, and I decided to attempt to lighten our demeanor by browsing through the shopping arcade and buying a few souvenirs, but the memory of what we saw at the peace park will probably stay with us forever.

A while later, Nadean and I, after trying unsuccessfully to find somewhere to eat, once again crossed the channel on the ferry ad took the train all the way back to Hiroshima to eat at the McDonald’s there. It was a long way to go just for that, but it was worth it in our eyes. It was a really nice night out, and it was uplifting to know we could navigate the rails on our own if we had to.

As it was late when we got back to Miyajima��"not past curfew, but late enough for all the shops to be closed and for all the tourists to have left��"we enjoyed a very peaceful walk back to the lodge. It was sort of strange though at the same time as the streets were deserted save for the wandering groups of deer. We also saw a badger scuttling beneath a van and as we passed by the aquarium across the street from the lodge, this deep throated sound roared from within it! I hope that was a walrus and not something more sinister!

Well, tomorrow we make the long trip back to Tokyo. I’m sad to leave, especially since getting back to Tokyo marks the end of the trip, however I do look forward to find Dr. Pepper in the vending machines once again as Tokyo seems to be the only place with that type of soda!


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A-Bomb dome
A-Bomb dome
photo by: mmeymey