Exploring Some History
Trip Start Jun 18, 2009
72Trip End Aug 01, 2011
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The A-bomb Dome was another favorite. This was a building that partially survived the bomb. The building was right under where the bomb exploded. Part of the structure is still standing. Another beautiful part was the Flame of Peace and the Cenotaph. The Flame of Peace is a flame that will only be extinguished after the last nuclear weapon is destroyed. The Cenotaph is a memorial that keeps record of all the names of people that lost their lives because of the attack. When standing at the Cenotaph you can look and see the Flame of Peace and the A-bomb dome. The park also has a great museum explaining the events leading up to the A-bomb attack and the effects on the people. It was very interesting. I spent a lot of time there.
While at Peace Park there were many different school groups everywhere. I was approached by two different groups of student who had to talk to a certain number of people asking different questions. It was very cute. They all had their English questions written out. They came in groups of 5. Each student had their scripted questions to ask. What a great experience for them!
I really enjoyed my time at Peace park
After I was finished at Peace Park I decided to see what else the city had to offer. I walked down streets lined with stores and restaurants. Everything seemed very centrally located in the city. It was interesting traveling through so many different cities and seeing how different they can all be.
For dinner I found a little bar/restaurant and had a burger and beer! Very American! Later in the night I found a coffee shop and got a coffee and a treat and sat reading a book. It was very relaxing.
The next day I headed toward Miyajima Island. This is an island a short distance from Hiroshima. I took a train and a short ferry ride there. The island is known for it's "floating" shrine and gate.
Once I arrived I found that there were deer wandering around here just like Nara. I walked around for a while until setting out to get to the top of the highest peak on the island
Once back at the bottom it was high tide which meant that now the Itsukushima Shrine looked like it was floating. I toured the shrine then set out to look at all the tourist shops. Like all tourist town they were all selling the same things. Along the way I was also able to see the Worlds Biggest Rice Scoop! After more wondering through the small town I made my way back to Hiroshima to pick up my bags and head to Osaka.
I arrived in Osaka tired with sore feet from all the walking so I grabbed dinner from a 7-11 and called it a pretty early night.The next day was my last full one in Japan
I set out biking without a clear plan. I first ended up at a covered shopping strip. I parked my bike and walked through. I didn't buy anything because I found things were so expensive. I figured I could just wait and buy the same things in Taiwan for half the price. While walking by all the stores I ended up in Dotombori. This is a very lively shopping area. At night is the best time to see it because everything is lit up and flashy. After walking a bit I headed back to my bike to walk to another shopping district, Amerika-Mura. This is an area of trending shops selling American fashion. It was quite frightening. It took the worst parts of American fashion and made them bigger and bolder. The most interesting thing here was people watching. So I got a coffee and cookie and watched the freaks walk by. There was everything from hippie, preppy, punk, hip-hop, slutty and just plain strange. Some highlights include a couple that were handcuffed together and a man walking with a cane in short shorts, thigh high tights and fake, saggy boobs. This was only at 2:00 in the afternoon. I was too frightened to return at night and see what I would find.
After all the people watching I went to a real shopping mall that had a ferris wheel coming out of the top. To get to the ferris wheel you went to the 7th floor. You then had a birds eye view of all of Osaka
After the mall I headed for dinner. On my biking adventure I saw a Hard Rock Cafe so I decided to have dinner there. I knew it would be expensive but I figured it was my last night in Japan so I could splurge. Well it ended up being $30 just for a chicken sandwich and a small beer! Good thing it was the end of the trip because I couldn't afford that anymore. After dinner I headed back to Dotombori to check out all the flashy lights. I walked around a little, took some pictures and then headed back to my hostel to pick up my bags and head to my capsule hotel.
Now capsule hotels are pretty popular in Japan. They are mostly used by business men and those that may have stayed out too late and need a place to crash. They are pretty strange. You come in and put your shoes in a locker. You then get a key to the male or female floor. You then put all of your things into a locker and get changed into the cute sleepwear they provide. The hotel also has a sauna and spa for those willing to go naked, I passed. There are washers and dryers, vending machines and free toiletries. Everything you would need to get ready if you didn't bring anything with you. After getting all ready you hop into your capsule for a nights sleep.
The night in the capsule was very interesting
The next morning while in the locker room I ended up meeting a girl from MN. She knew a girl I danced with on the Elk River Dance Team. It was crazy! Such a small world! Check out was at 10:00 but my flight wasn't until 5:00. This left a big gap of time to fill. I couldn't do too much because I was stuck with my bags. So I found a Starbucks in the heart of Dotombori, got a coffee, a seat by the window and sat and people watched while reading my book. After sitting for two hours I started my trek to the airport.
This marked the end of my trip! It was an amazing trip! It was something I never imagined myself doing. But can now say I was able to travel in another country on my own. It was an empowering feeling. It was very refreshing to have all that "me time". I think everyone should get to experience it! A whole week where you do what you want when you want at your own speed. I enjoyed every minute! What a great experience. Now the question is where should I go for my next great adventure?!?!?!