Posted by Emily Block | 0 comments

Japan! (Day 2 Part 1)

     Well things have done a 180 since yesterday!  Today has been 100% better than yesterday and it's not quite over.  :0)

    The day started out nice and slow with a long bus ride to Hiroshima.  Instead of being tedious, it was interesting and relaxing.  I spent a majority of the time talking with our guide, Miho, about all kinds of things.  She was really excited that another girl and me each had some bags of paper cranes to leave at the Hiroshima memorial.  We chatted about our lives and families and showed each other how to fold new origami designs.  I also used the bus ride to finish stringing my paper cranes.  I didn't get to 1000 (sad face) but I did get several hundred which is still an accomplishment.  

  The bus ride was also broken up by two rest stops.  I was able to get some much needed cash from the ATM machine along with some lunch and snacks for later.  Gelato counts as lunch food right?

    I was really excited to use the bathroom during the second stop.  If that seems like an awkward statement, you must not yet have been introduced to the legendary Japanese toilettes.  They have more buttons than an MP3 player complete with seat warming controls, bidet settings, and  music!  The ones at the rest stop bathroom were apparently on basic models because they didn't have a place to plug in your laptop or ipod.  The toilets are also equipped with a button that makes the sound of a flushing toilet!  I guess too many people were repeatedly flushing the toilet to cover up the bathroom-type sounds they were making.  In order to save water, the simulated flushing sound was added and the amount of buttons grew from there.  

    On the way back to the bus, I was distracted by the numerous and elaborate vending and coin machines.  It seems like anything that is a little cool in the States become absolutely epic here.  I bought a silicon band watch from one of them much to my delight.  Some of the guys bought cameras the size of an eraser that could take real photos.  Very cool.

The trip took on a much more solemn tone when we arrived in Hiroshima.  Because it was raining, we decided to go to the museum first and hope it would clear up for our tour of the garden.  The museum was extremely powerful.  The exhibits incorporated larger scale statistics and history as well as personal artifacts and stories.  It was difficult and important to learn about what people went through because of the U.S. dropping the atomic bomb.  

This was a watch someone was wearing that is stopped at the time of the bombing.  

I thought I had received a fairly complete education in my history classes.  We had even had pro vs. con debates about the decision to use atomic weapons in WWII.  I had never heard this perspective before.  

I also was told in school that the potential target cities, as well as the central Japan government was warned of the attacks via pamphlets that were air dropped on the cities in the days prior to the bombing.  

After the bombing.

BEfore the bombing.

A large part of the museum was dedicated to the eradication of nuclear weapons.  EAch time a nuclear weapon is tested by a country, many people send out letters of protest to the leaders of that country.

I thought it was amazing how quickly people started to rebuild!  

I believe this is a picture of American citizens watching a demonstration of the bomb before the effects of radiation were fully understood.  

These are pictures, stories, and personal effects from people (mostly kids) who died due to the bombing.  

This is a little boy's lunch box that was found with his lunch that he would never eat turned into charcoal.  

A toddler who was killed in the bombing was buried with his tricycle and helmet because his father didn't want him to be lonely.  The items were recovered when the boy's father reburied him in the family gravesite several years later.  

The famous building front where someone took a picture of a person's shadow burned into the stone.

Another deadly affect of the bombing was the radioactive black rain that fell from the bombing dust cloud.

I learned more about the significance of the paper cranes that I have been folding throughout this trip.  


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