NICK: Hiroshima's horrible past.
Trip Start Jan 25, 2006
105Trip End Feb 25, 2008
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Amic English Center was closed this week, so I didn't have to work on a Saturday. While this is a good thing (it means we could travel for the weekend), it's bad for me since that means that as a part time employee, I don't get paid. Anyways, we packed our bags for the weekend and got on the small 2.5 hour ferry trip to Hiroshima.
We booked a room at a small minshuku (I'm not sure what that means, but it's like a hotel room with tatami and futons) right near the Peace Memorial Park. We got pretty late, the ferry arrived at 10, we took an hour and a half train ride down to our hotel and took about 10 mins walking there, so the first thing we did was look for some quick food (convenience stores rock with their pre-made meals for decent prices). Afterwards, we crashed.
The next morning we went to the peace park. We were pleasantly surprised that it was less than a 10 minute walk from our hotel to the center. We walked around and found most of the monuments and sculptures they have for
1) the destruction caused by the bomb and the people it instantly killed
2) the teachers who helped save children's lives after the bomb struck
3) the forced laborers (Korean and Chinese) who died in the blast
4) the children who died of leukemia after the blast
5) the survivors who are dying of cancers and such caused by the bomb today
6) the hope and prayer of the riddance of nuclear weapons
At the main memorial, there's a prayer shrine for people to leave flowers and such. I was moved to tears by the small bottles of water left there for the spirits of the people who died after the blast. I've heard that people have seen ghosts of bomb victims still asking for water.
After walking around the park, we went to get something to eat and just bummed around the downtown section of Hiroshima. The city isn't much different than Matsuyama - still pretty low buildings, just the downtown section is bigger.
And Ashleigh nearly peed her pants when we found a Gap.
Ashleigh and I went to the Hiroshima Prefectural art museum and poked around. There was some really cool things to see there, but one of the nicest things was the garden. The Shukkein garden had tons of trees, a pond, mosquitoes and lots of crabs. We chased around the crabs trying to take pictures of them, but they mostly got away
I hate mosquitoes.
We went out to okonomimura (Okonomi village, famous for 30 restaurants all serving Hiroshima-style okonmiyaki) and people watched for an hour, amazed at the size of the cockroaches (gokiburi) running around the park. After we were hungry enough, we went into okonomimura and picked a spot. We both ordered a house-specialty okonomiyaki and watched the guy make it. It was impressive! And delicious.
We tried to converse with the chef, he was asking us all sorts of questions about what we were doing in Japan, etc. He was really nice.
We went back to the hotel and crashed.