When arriving in Hiroshima, you would never imagine what ruins the city was in 65 years ago. Breathtakingly beautiful, you might believe she is the heart of some romantic country. There is a river that runs down the center of Hiroshima, surrounded by tall buildings and trees. The Peace Memorial Museum and Park are extremely close to the hypocenter, which is where the bomb exploded, I think around less than a quarter of a mile. When we arrived, we went through the Peace museum, which basically offered us a historical review of what happened (like the previous post). On the other hand, the tour and the speaker we heard the next day, was much more compelling. Our tour guides lead us throughout the city, where many memorial sites were erected and where we heard various testimonies from people who survived the bomb. I can tell you that I cried so much on that day, but right now, it’s really difficult to put into words. I really want to explain what I felt, but I honestly can’t over a blog post, so I’m just going to move on for now and maybe I’ll come back to the subject another time.
|The building with the little dome was extremely close to the hypocenter and somehow withstood the blastwave|
|Under the archway there is a memorial tablet for the victims. It is surrounded by water and protected from elements from above.|
The next day looked more inviting as we took the tram and a ferry to Miyajima Island, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. The focal point is Itsukushima Shrine which consists of an orange gate or the centerpiece of the island, the corridor, and the purification hall. When we visited there was a high tide, so it looked like various structures were floating on water, it was kind of surreal. There were also deer everywhere; one came up to Tyler while he was sitting and literally put his head in Ty’s lap. Though the scenery was extremely beautiful, it was still a tourist spot. Our director told us that there was a mountain that had a shrine at the top of it. They made the route purposefully difficult so that people would have to work hard to get to the shrine. So of course we tried to climb it and we found out that it was a lot steeper than we expected. We broke up into groups when climbing to make it less chaotic, which was actually kind of unfortunate because people were so focused on getting to the top, rather than the journey there. I know that is really cliché, but there were various miniature shrines and scenery along the way that we wanted to stop by. Eventually Ty and I broke off into our own group and stopped at some places. In the end, though, the view was incredible and completely worth it. Plus everyone had endorphins rushing through their body so it was a nice feeling for all of us.
|good friends already|
|After climbing the mountain|
|Still such a beautiful island|
|With lots of bunnies!|
On a less depressing note, that night we went to a Japanese baseball game, which I have to say, was a billion times better than an American game. Every single person was completely immersed with the crowd, singing a different song for every player. What is even more amazing is that everyone was in sync; half the crowd had different parts when they would sing and get up, it was quite entertaining to be a part of. Of course we had to try and get people to do the wave, but it only went one section over. Apparently, many people don’t like it here, and we didn’t want to offend people. I think the best part, though, was that around the beginning of the 6th inning, everyone started blowing up these pink balloons. Apparently, instead of singing a 7th inning song like we do in the States, they let the balloons go. It was kind of cool.
|Japanese baseball food..yumm!!|
|Cup of noodles car haha|
On the last day, everyone was exhausted and really just wanted to go back to the dorm. Though the week was extremely fun, we constantly ate out of bento boxes on the run, not to mention walked at least a thousand miles. But we still had to go. In the morning, we went to a naval academy where they gave us tons of rules that could easily be broken, i.e., can’t drink water while walking. The museum was actually pretty cool, though you could tell it was a bit nationalist. But which country isn’t? Then we took a tour of Kure, a city of ships and submarines. Within Kure, we went into an underground arsenal, where people went during WWII when there were air raids. When thinking about it, it’s kind of frightening because when we went in it was completely pitch dark, only able to see with the use of our flashlights. So who knows how frightening it was for them.
|Inside the arsenal|
Whether it was fact or emotionally based, everyone in our group learned a lot over the trip. Sometimes it’s scary to think about how much technology and “advancement” there is in this world. At the end of the day, is it really all necessary? No, probably not. But people want power, and technology is the means to it. Currently the US has something like 10, 000 warheads, only second to Russia with 12,000. In a blink of an eye, a city could be demolished because of failed negotiations and the yearning for more land. I guess we have to do what we can on a personal level and hope the bigger things take care of themselves.
If you want to take a look at more pictures, please go to these links:
** http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=231040&l=57f75cfd28&id=568567152 (general)
** http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=231047&id=568567152&l=ad7f6996b1 (Hiroshima trip)