Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Japan Day 4- Hiroshima

I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from Hiroshima.  I knew that the buildings would be newer because of the atomic bomb.  I honestly expected it to mainly be just a memorial and museum.  Boy was I wrong!  The city is so beautiful and bustling!  It is much smaller than Osaka but it is still a busy place.  

We stayed at the Aster Plaza which was just a few blocks away from the Peace Park.  A few of us chose to stay in traditional Japanese style rooms for the three nights we were there.  Surprisingly enough, I actually slept better on the rice mats then I did in the hotel beds! Who'd have thought that?!  

We once again had spectacular views of the city!  

Hiroshima is surrounded by beautiful mountains.  

We started our day out at the Hiroshima Peace Park and Museum.  I took a lot of pictures inside the museum but they didn't turn out too well.  It was a very emotional experience.  A few of us were worried about how the Japanese people would feel with is being there, seeing as how we are American.    We were anticipating it to be awkward. It was the exact opposite.  They are such kind and welcoming people.  It didn't feel weird or inappropriate at all.  The focus of the museum is to bring awareness of the destruction that nuclear war causes.  There is a whole section of the museum that focuses on how we can help stop the production of nuclear weapons.  Since the bombing, every mayor of Hiroshima had written letters to countries that are developing nuclear weapons asking them to please stop.  They have each letter printed on metal and hanging up in the museum.  It was very powerful to see all the letters.  

I thought this quite was really powerful...

This is a picture of the exterior of the museum and the fountain in front of it.  

After we toured the museum we went outside to tour the Peace Park.  This is a memorial to all those who lost their lives that day.  We were standing there taking pictures when all of a sudden this man rolls this old lady up in a wheelchair.  She stops in front of the structure, closes her eyes, and bows her head as if in prayer.  I begin getting teary eyed as I realize that this women was effected in some way.  Did she lose a child, her parents, her husband?  It was so sad.  

If you look through the middle of this structure you can see that it is lined up with the eternal flame, pool, and the atomic dome (the only structure still standing after the bombing).  

I am not sure if you all are familiar with the story of Sadako and the paper cranes.  There have been children's books written about her.  I am excited to read these when I do my Japan unit this year!  There is a monument in her honor on the park.  There are these large clear boxes absolutely full of paper cranes that have been sent there from all over the world.  They are there to spread a message of peace.  

After we went through everything a few of us were sitting inside the museum waiting on some others from our group.  Our professor has spent a lot of time in Japan and is able to speak Japanese pretty well.  There was a group of sixth graders there on a field trip.  The little boy in the blue shirt and white hat passed by and our professor spoke to him in Japanese.  The boy was excited that he spoke Japanese and struck up a conversation with him.  Next thing we know we are surrounded by thirty sixth graders. They were excited to meet Americans and enjoyed practicing a little bit of English with us.  Our professor told them why we were in Japan and told them that we were teachers, or sensei, in America. They all said "Oooooo" and bowed their heads to us.  It was so neat!  The conversations we had with these kids made our day!  

Once we left the museum we went back to the hotel to rest before heading to a Hiroshima Carps baseball game.  It was quite an experience!  Baseball is very big in Japan!  

One of our nights in Hiroshima we went to Hondori Street for shopping and dinner.  It was beautiful!  

Oh and I also saw several Frozen posters there.  In Japan it is called Anna and the Ice Queen.  :)  

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