Da Bomb

Hiroshima Travel Blog

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 I arrived in Hiroshima around 7 or 8 am via the way too expensive infamous night bus of Japan. Lets just say that Ive had more comfortable nights of sleep before, albeit, I was well-rested. I called Fish, my couchsurfing host during my stay there. I definitely woke him up, but he was cool with it as I arrived as I had confirmed with him weeks prior and the night before just for good measure. We chatted on his porch for a while and then went out for an ancient traditional Japanese breakfast consisting of toast, eggs, coffee and miso soup. By the time we left, it was raining pretty good so we hustled back to his place. He told me what I needed to do to get to the sightseeing destinations I wanted to see. He also lent me an umbrella since I had mistakenly misplaced mine the previous night. Since Fish actually lived in Kure, I had to take an hour long train to Hiroshima. I spoke with a Japanese man on the train who inquired about my travels once I tried to ask about the train stops. They were taking extra long that day, apparently cause of the rain (now I had heard about the impeccable timing of all the Japanese trains, I would find out throughout the trip that this was most certainly not the case. In fact, Id say they were on time roughly 5% of the time.)

            

I got to the Hiroshima station and then had to board a trolley car which took visitors to their destinations and many locals to work. My particular car was loaded with foreigners. There was a group there from the US Sierra Mountain Club (I started typing Sierra Nevada, man I miss American microbrews!). They were telling me about the island called Miwajima. I looked at the info and decided I would start my day off there. Once we arrived another hour later, I had to get another ticket to get on a ferry which took me to the island. Still pouring down rain, I started walking around the island snapping pictures at all of the wonderful sights. There were many beautiful shrines on the island. I hiked half way up one mountain to discover that the cable car was out of order due to bad weather. There were deer roaming around everywhere and would let you pet them all you wanted. A lot them would try to eat your shirt. You were advised not to feed them, but Im pretty sure a lot of people ignored that rule. The island seemed to be a perfect image of my own imagination of Japan: little streets with traditional wooden buildings, women on the street selling their products, old men drinking sake and eating sushi were seen through the glass windows as I walked by, the smell of calmness and rain filled the air, people seemed to really be enjoying themselves. There certainly was no shortage of tourists in this area either, which came to no surprise once I realized were I was. The island has the most famous orange shrine. I know it has a name, but I cant remember (Im writing this blog in class while my students are making straw bridges).

            

One moment I remember vividly was when I walked out of one shrine and it stopped raining. I found this beautiful temple and a basement passage. The door was open so I entered. Candles and incense were burning and there were beautiful paintings all over the walls. I was the only one in there. I was able to absorb a bit of history through my senses I believe. I sat at the back of the room in a not-so-comfortable chair with my eyes closed for a bit meditating on where I was and what I was experiencing. No sounds except for the small waterfall outside the window caused by the relentless rain. The smell of wonderful incense filled the room. After a while, I walked out and to my relief the rain had subsided. I was walking down one of the roads and was listening to my mp3 player. Black Muddy River was playing by the Grateful Dead and to my right was a very muddy river (albeit brown, but still ideal) and a Japanese girl walked past with another one of those bad grammar t-shirts. Hers read Make Your Own Happy. I smiled to myself and pondered what that meant for me.

 

Later on, I wound up at the Hiroshima Peace memorial park. Theres not too much I can say about this. It was hard to close my eyes and think. I honestly had never been so ashamed of my country. All the memorial signs would say something along the lines of, In the first nuclear attack against mankind, On August 6, 1945 at 8:15am…” Things like this are many things when you experience them. Necessary, difficult, humbling and really really fucking sad. The worst part was when they had a grass tomb in the middle of the park and inside were the ashes of everyone they could collect. There were also memorials for the thousands of children who perished and memorials for the Koreans who died. If you are interested in this, I suggest looking up the story of Sadako Sasaki. Im just gonna leave it at this.

            

 I made my way back to Fishs place and him and another couchsurfer who was in Japan wwoofing (willing workers on organic farms) were sitting there chilling for a bit. We chatted and then headed out for dinner. Dinner was the Hiroshima style Yakitori at a small little restaurant. There was one fellow patron at the teppin-yaki grill having himself an Asahi and some grilled eel. Fish spoke a bit of Japanese so they chatted for a while and told him our stories. Dinner was very good along with a few draft Asahis. The owner was pretty cool even though he didnt speak any English. He took our picture. I was disappointed because I had forgotten my camera. This was a very typical Japanese restaurant. The cook even had on one of those ninja headbands.

bigbudd1 says:
Really well written...feel like I was there (well kinda) you should have taken some journalism classes I guess...great blog
Posted on: Aug 18, 2009
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Hiroshima
photo by: mmeymey