First City Destroyed
Trip Start Aug 06, 2011
144Trip End Ongoing
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And what better place to start our visit to Japan than Hiroshima. It's always hard to think of a city like Hiroshima, which was the site of such an epic tragedy, as a 'tourist' destination, but the Japanese have used the event of August 6th 1945 as an opportunity to create a massive memorial that speaks to the need to assure that something like this never happens again
That said, the loss of life and human suffering triggered by the atomic blast as detailed in the museum, was absolutely numbing (the atomic bombing of Nagasaki took place just 3 days later on 9 August). And the suffering went on for years afterward. The defined objective of the museum and park was to raise an awareness and concern among all reasonable people that might lead to further disarmament accords
This very noble objective will probably always be counterbalanced by the need to contain/intimidate chuckle-heads like the ones heading up North Korea and Iran. Putting this scary genie back in the bottle probably isn't going to happen, but a significant reduction in stockpiles would certainly be a nice step in the right direction. If you feel moved to do something, there is an on-line petition sponsored by a Hiroshima led group https://www.ssl-iroins.city.hiroshima.jp/pcf/en/form.htm Among the many victim accounts of the horror of the bombing and suffering that followed, there were a couple of particularly poignant stories that made this tragedy all too real. One in particular concerned an innocent young girl who contracted leukemia from the radiation after the bombing but believed that if she folded 1,000 paper cranes, she would have good fortune and beat the disease. Unfortunately she lost that fight but her story became a cause celeb among Japanese school kids and even today, huge strings of folded paper cranes are delivered to the base of the children's memorial in honour of this brave girls struggle. Very heart wrenching.
Outside of the many Hiroshima Memorials, we also managed a day trip to nearby Miyajima Island, host to one of the more iconic symbols of Japan, the giant red wooden O-Torii (Grand Gate)
And apparently no visit to Hiroshima can be considered complete without sampling the local delicacy, Okonomiyaki - a savoury, layered noodle pancake cooked on an iron hotplate at your table. By following the locals we found a hole-in-the wall diner which served portion sizes that should challenge even the heaviest Sumo wrestler- I can't possibly finish my serving despite a large muscular frame (albeit, one that might be mistaken by folks like Carol C as somewhat robust) and on either side of me are two Japanese girls that couldn't tip the scales at 90 lbs soaking wet, and they are demolishing their meals. How do they stay so small- is this their only meal for the month?? DH didn't finish either but that had as much to do with being chop-stick challenged as anything. Despite lessons from the girl next to her (we're really liking friendly Japanese people) she still managed to snap a couple of her sticks right across the kitchen narrowly avoiding serious injury to the cook herself! In addition to being waddle-inducing, this particular dish was very tasty and a must-try when you're in the area.