Hiroshima happiness (plus a bit of appropriate sadness)

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2nd pitstop of Le grande tour Japan has commenced.

The shinkansen (bullet train) was cool. It was fast. And there were cute little trolley dollies selling stuff. The >800km journey took about 5 hours and that included 1 change.

Firstly, on our last day in Tokyo we took a day trip to Kamakura, a little city to the south of the capital. It is a lovely little seaside town, with lots of temples and nice little shops. We saw some beauties of temples  and a statue of the big buddha and did a shirtload of walking. We succumbed to Makodonado (McDonalds) for Lunch, mostly just to remind ourselves what filth it is.

Hiroshima makes a nice change from Tokyo; it is quite easy to get about on foot. Yesterday we went for Okonomiyaki, a type of japanese pancake, only these ones were different to the ones you get in Australia – they have a noodle base. And the place we went to was like a teppanyaki for okonomiyaki – they made them up in front of you on a hot grill. We then went wandering about and found some little gyoza presses in the 100 yen shop – will look forward to mucho gyoza when we get home.

Today, we did the A-bomb thing- went to the A bomb dome and the museums associated with it. We also saw the memorial to Sadako, the little girl who died of leukaemia about 8 years after the event. She tried to fold 1000 paper cranes in the hope that she would get better. It was all very moving.

One of the most moving things about the museum displays was the humility of it- there was no glossing over the fact that Japan showed aggression to neighbouring countries. It showed the protest telegraphs that the Mayor of Hiroshima sends to the defence secretaries of countries who continue to test nuclear weapons. They mayor continues to send the messages to this day. There was lots of powerful anti-nuclear war sentiment.

They also had testimonies from people who survived the attack, very chilling and sombre. I also remembered my Grandpoppy (now deceased) who was in the Occupation forces in Hiroshima after the war. He probably wouldn’t know the place now. In fact, if there weren’t memorials around, there would be no clue.

There were lots of Japanese Schoolkids around the Peace park. A few of them wanted photos with us; foreigners must be a little bit of a novelty to them! One of them had a worksheet from school, and they did a little exercise where they asked us where we came from (Ostorarya, not Shidanee), what food we liked (gyoza) and what our favourite Japanese word was (sumimasen – excuse me. I don’t know any swear words in japanese and am disinclined to use them in front of primary schoolers). Then they wanted a photo with us, for which we gladly obliged.

We did a bit of wandering about.

We are lucky to be in town tomorrow for the food festival of Hiroshima – we didn’t plan that, just fortuitous. Off to Kobe, the capital of Beef, Sake and Castles, tomorrow afternoon, via the shinkansen.

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