Monday, March 30, 2015

Hiroshima Peace Museum to Miyajima

We started the day with a breakfast in the Peace Park.  As we sat there, an older gentleman carrying a jar of cheap liquor came over and we had a conversation more cogent than many I've had in Japan.  He seemed to have opinions and advice on a number of things, some that I understood and some that I didn't.  But I don't think the incomprehension had much to do with him.  Despite his appearance, all the information that he had given us that morning seemed to be true as went throughout our day.

We finally graceful cut off the conversation and headed into the Memorial Peace Museum.  Unfortunately the first building was under construction and we began the exhibit by walking through some of the memorabilia of the victims, their stories, and details about the effects of the bomb; and at the end more information about the historical background and the decision to use the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.  As I had remembered from before, it was a troubling experience but valuable to have the opportunity to reflect on the balance of power in the world and how those who run the most powerful countries are still people and can make harrowing decisions when they forget their humanity.  

We then strolled through the Peace Park, walking by the Genopaku Dome which was the center of the bomb and still stands in ruins as a reminder.  There was a woman with more information, handmade books filled with more perspectives on the incident, the granddaughter of one of the surivors.  There are so many parts of the story that are missing.  So many questions about why decisions were made and how the aftermath continues to unfold as the world tries to contend with the incredible power that they've created.

A long walk along a major vein of traffic and the side greenery on the Peace Boulevard brought us to Hijiyama Park which is a park in a more American sense.  A huge expanse of hills of uncontrolled greenery except for the pockets of cherry trees which blossomed flocks of picnickers under their branches.  We hiked through the paths and came upon the clearings, finding views of the city and a closed contemporary art museum.

And with the extra time we came a little early to our next hostel, which despite the name of "Miyajima Backpackers" is not on the island of Miyajima but right next to the pier.  We checked-in, got some conbeni food and caught the ferry to have dinner while watching the sunset behind the floating tori.  We had to fight a few fairly docile dear, but managed to enjoy our meal and a beautiful walk around part of the island.  

Many pictures along the way.  It's beautiful in Hiroshima and Miyajima, a wonderful time to be here.

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