Well hello there! Yeah, I know, it’s been a while since my last post but I have a good reason. I moved to another apartment and I had to wait for the internet connection. Long story short, I’m online again!
I honestly don’t know where to start. I bought a ticket for the N700 bullet train which is apparently the fastest train in the world right now. It goes up to 350 km/h (217 mph) and I arrived from Kyoto to Hiroshima extremely quickly! I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if it’s safe to be there because of the atomic bomb attack that happened on August 6th, 1945 at 8.15AM. My guide told me studies have shown that it’s perfectly safe to be and to live there. I have to be honest, I just couldn’t take a deep breath but I guess everything was in my mind. When you’re walking the streets of Hiroshima, you still can see some older people with some kind of health issues but the next generations don’t have any side effects whatsoever. I stayed in one beautiful hotel called the “Royal Riga Hotel”. They got me the best panoramic view and I just couldn’t stop looking at this beautiful town. Hiroshima now has over million people living there and some big companies have their headquarters set up in this town (Mazda…). It’s growing again but I heard that the government has a hard time making young people stay in this city. Everybody wants to go to Tokyo or some other big town.
First I visited the beautiful Miyajima island which ranks the top 3 most beautiful places in Japan. And it really is! There is this ancient, famous, orange, effective Shinto shrine called The Great Torii and the amazing Itsukushima Shrine. There is a jinx on this island. The first version is that there are three statues of women who were single and they hate couples so they split them up. The second, more realistic reason is that, in the past, this island was an entertainment island, so-called the “Red Light District” and men came here to enjoy and cheat on their wives. This island is full of deer who came there before humans did. No one knows how. *cue scary music
Now it’s time to learn about their history. When we came to the Atomic Bomb Dome (the A-Bomb Dome) I got chills immediately! I couldn’t believe it “survived” the A-bombing. It’s almost fully destroyed but the walls remained still. Today, this is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and it’s a symbol of the pain and destruction but also strength, peace an ‘no more war’ in Hiroshima! In front of it is a famous, rare, T-shaped, three-way bridge which was rebuilt after the bombing. There are the Motoyasu river and the Ota river on the other side. When the A-bomb was dropped, people jumped into these rivers because they suffered serious burns but unfortunately that didn’t help. There were a lot of dead bodies on the surface and the water turned red.
I don’t know if you have ever heard a story about a girl named Sadako Sasaki. There is a great book about her. She was only two years old when the bombing happened. Sadako and her family didn’t have any side effects at first. She was doing sports and everybody in school loved her. When she was twelve, a 6th grader of elementary school, she developed leukemia. During the hospitalization, she started folding the paper cranes because, back in the old days, there was a strong belief in Japan that, if you fold more than 1.000 paper cranes, your wish will come true. She folded 1.400 of them but in the end, she died. Since then, these paper cranes are the symbol of a peace.
And now came the hardest part of being in Hiroshima, going to the Hiroshima museum. There are pictures of this town before and after the bombing. Same places, totally different images. This bomb destroyed 70% of the town and the photos are just terrible. Only dust and ruins. There you can see a lot of pictures of people who suffered extreme radiation who died eventually, some remains (clothing, bottles, personal objects), simulations. I hate to see people suffer in general and when I saw that, I went completely numb for 30 minutes. My guide told me that that’s the normal reaction of everybody who ever exited this museum. I felt nauseous. I just didn’t want to talk. I had to process that.
he last stop was the Orizuru Tower where they teach you how to fold the paper cranes. I folded one, wished a wish and tossed it down this tower. I hope my wish will come true.
There you have it. I think everybody should visit Hiroshima at some point. People there are amazing. I couldn’t believe how much strength they have, how polite, nice, adorable, cute, helpful, beautiful they are. Hiroshima is the true warrior.