This post is one I treasure not just for its content, but the memories made from the city of Hiroshima. First, for anyone from the Hiroshima prefecture you have my eternal thanks. I cannot express how humbled I was by the attitude of those who live in the area. When you think of Hiroshima what do you think about first, bombs or peace? For me, I immediately thought of the grief people suffered here during World War II; however, this is not the image this city exhibited. Out of all the cities I have ever traveled, Hiroshima has one of the most peaceful and friendliest environments. You immediately felt the compassion and genuine love for every human being existing at the moment. How can a city that was once in flames be so forgiving towards the cruelty of war? This was the thought which boggled my mind, that is, until you get a glimpse into the community of the city. Also, here is the hostel where my friends and I stayed at. Here is about a ten minute walk from the shopping district, and the staff is both friendly and helpful!: http://hiroshima.j-hoppers.com/ Friday, November 28, 2014 Though the atomic bomb dropped over 60 years ago, memories still exists from survivors all over Hiroshima. This weekend I was honored enough to visit the atomic bomb memorial museum, and while the sight was unsettling, the personal belongings and testimonies will forever leave an imprint in my life. The first museum I attended was the Atomic Bomb Memorial. Here I was given an insight of the lives of those who either died or survived to tell the story of August 6, 1945. Inside were stories and artistic drawings from the event, but one of the most powerful voices was the film shown at the end of the museum. This film consisted of four people who gave his or her tale of the day. One woman described her experience as one straight out of a war film. Walking along the streets, she saw her classmates, neighbors, and acquaintances bleeding from internal or external injuries caused by the explosion. The terror beaming from the eyes of survivors were ones incapable of imagining, yet despite all her own injuries she had to find her other family. Outside the building is a memorial park dedicated to the children who lost their lives in the explosion. Most people describe this day as hell on earth. Friends and families were trapped underneath building, but due to the intense heat and fear most were left behind to perish in the flames. Many became orphans, widows, and childless in an instant; those even capable of walking were forced to travel miles just to reach an area of safety. The rage of war takes a toll upon the people of Hiroshima, yet again the people continued showing a face of happiness and forgiveness. The answer to my question would not be answered until we visited the other side of the museum.
Saturday, November 29, 2014 Instead of continuing towards the other side of the museum we decided to travel to Miyajima. This is a small area known as the “Island Where Humans and Gods Live Together”. What is amazing is this island is a great spot for viewing the momiji (もみじ） (autumn leaves viewing), and luckily we were here during a nice week. Also, the first thing you might notice on the island are deers roaming the area. Actually, while I was eating my curry oyster pan (which by the way, always try out the oyster in Hiroshima) a deer ran by and snatched the wrapper of my snack. Luckily for her, she got none of the food parts. Be careful of feeding the deer, because the moment you do it will follow you everywhere around the island. If you are ever in Hiroshima, I highly recommend taking a day and spending it at Miyajima. Numerous shrines inhabit the island, but one of the more famous ones is the floating Itsukushima Shrine. During high tide the only way to cross the shrine is by a rowboat; however, at low tides you can walk by foot through the shrine. Sunday, November 30, 2014 Next up on the list is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Here in this building are photos, videos, and stories meant for showing the reality of the atomic bomb. Possessions of those during this time were donated to the museum along with the story of their findings and several surviving stories. Unfortunately during this time a lot of middle school students were on an exhibition in the city of Hiroshima. So those who were not supposed to be there on this day were swept away almost instantaneously. Things such as lunch boxes, shoes, clothing, and book bags recovered from the debris were either sent back to the family or donated to the museum. Those in display has a plaque telling of its owner and the story behind his or her reasoning for being in the area at the time. This link provides a full database on the items: http://a-bombdb.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/pdbe/search_rule.do;jsessionid=CVKCNF33EFUHTS REOGK9SISB0RFDIVEMNF05U8E899FCTASV7S7O7NDS2H502000RK000000.heiwadb_001?class_name=bombed Silence filled the room from start until finish, and for me it felt as if the souls of the deceased welcomed the visitors by sharing their story. The interesting section of this museum was showing how an atomic bomb is created and how the Manhattan Project went about the decision to drop the bomb in Hiroshima. Despite the damage done both physically, emotionally, and spiritually the people of Hiroshima use this as a reason for greater peace among the world. Though only for a short time, I am grateful to have visited here. Never before had my heart been broken before hearing stories and getting a glimpse of August 6. The city’s people are kind and they welcome visitors from all across the world, and for this they have my respect. I only hope to return here in 2018 for the grand unveiling of the museum’s full completion. Perhaps in the near future, Hiroshima will be the starting point for world peace and tranquility. The last day we were able to try out an okonomiyaki place and experience this kindness first hand. When my friends and I entered, we were immediately greeted and shown to our seats. At first, the workers thought we were tourists, but when we told them we were exchange students their expressions brightened. Since Hiroshima is more of a spot for visitors, many of the signs had English written on them. Therefore, the locals who meet students seem quite happy students from abroad choose to come here to visit. The food was absolutely amazing and if you are ever here, please visit them! They gave us complimentary sushi and made amazing Hiroshima style okonomiyaki.