Bullet Time

Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
Trip End Mar 15, 2007

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Flag of Japan  ,
Tuesday, March 28, 2006

After leaving the hotel with a handful of e-mail addresses and offers of places to stay further down the line (thanks guys), I set off to start making use of my Japan Rail Pass. The waiting line to turn the exchange order in to get my pass was long with people taking a ticket and waiting till their number came up, thankfully an Australian women gave me her ticket as she could no longer wait so I jumped to near the front, result!

The ticket for the Shinkansen even tells you were to stand on the platform so when the train stops you are right opposite the door with everyone in an orderly queue to board. The train itself was huge, which coming from someone who overlooked a busy rail line for the best part of 2 years is saying something, just glad the ticket did tell you were to stand as it would have taken ages to walk the length of it.

It is much more like riding in a plane than a train with a large amount of legroom and comfy reclining seats and which when reclined all the way back was a strange sensation when looking out the window at the world whizzing past at 300kph. On board there was of course vending machines and a great service with again the trolley girl and conductor giving a little bow on exiting the carriage, just made me a little concerned that all other rail travel from now will pail in comparison, which is sure to be a lot over the next year. Had to use the squat toilet on board since the western style one was in use so that was an experience at almost 200mph.

At Hiroshima station decided on getting the tram into town which had the same paying procedure as buses here with you paying when you get off rather than when you get on. Found the Aster Plaza International Youth House with no problems but was unsure if it was the correct pace as it appeared to be a pretty swanky place but the receptionist assured me it was the place and only 3620 Yen to boot. My large room was by far the best accommodation so far with a fridge, TV, phone and en suite bathroom where even the toilet paper was folded.

Went for a look for somewhere to eat came upon the Peace Memorial Park which was just a stones throw away. I was unsure if I wanted to see it just now or wait until tomorrow but decided to have a look since I was already there. The Park was all but deserted at that time of night with only 1 or 2 other people about which left me a good chance to visit the Memorial Cenotaph and A-Bomb Dome in relative peace. I had seen the A-Bomb dome countless time before on TV and in history and school text books but it was still an unexpectedly moving feeling seeing it now right before me with it's skeletal remains eerily lit up in a green glow at night.

Failing on finding to find anywhere to eat I felt like I settled on a take away Bento Box and returned to the luxury on my room which had a great view over Hiroshima from the top floor.
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