Peace baby. Only a one hour flight from Seoul and the North Korea border but Hiroshima feels a world apart from the threat of war that comes from Kim Jong Ills crazy leadership in the northern part of Korea.
Peace park, which encompasses a large area of a small island right near the hypocentre, took up the better part of two days to explore. It is here that most sites related to the atomic bombing are located, including the fascinating museum and sobering memorial that includes thousands of video diaries from the people who survived the bomb and rebuilt the city in its aftermath. As well, the park includes many monuments erected over the years and a couple of surviving buildings like the haunting A-Bomb dome. The dome, which has become an iconic image of the city, survived as a shell and remains as it was right after the bombing in 1945 as a reminder to future generations of the horrors of war and atomic bombs.
The peace museum had a lot of detailed information on the history of the city, its military role before and during the war, the reasons the city may have been chosen and the aftermath and how the city rebuilt..
One thing I learned was the speed in which the city started to re-build. Within three days of the blast partial streetcar service was restored by the surviving workers. That's pretty amazing considering what was going on in the city at that time.
Walking around peace park with a lady from the UK and we where approached by an older man who wanted to talk. He was 71, a retired professor from the local university and had moved to Hiroshima a few years after the blast to attend high school. A former university professor of Japanese language he was very eager to speak with us about his experiences, which I found to be rather common in Hiroshima. A few other people at the hostel also spoke with survivors on the peace park grounds and I understand that many survivors come to speak with the student groups who are required to visit the grounds.
I flew into Hiroshima on July 1st and the Hiroshima Carp of Japans' professional baseball league where playing a game. Since it was an afternoon game it was too late to go by the time I found out about it. Later that afternoon, when I was near the A-Bomb dome, I heard a tonne of noise and music.
It turns out the stadium is right across the street and the noise was from the game. That Carp game was pretty intense, it turns out. Later that night at the hostel I met a guy from Canada who had gone to a baseball game a few days earlier and showed us a video of the seventh inning stretch he had taken. It looked like a world series game with all the noise, cheering and energy in that video. Not something I would associated with a regular season game.
Unfortunately the Carp where on the road after July 1st but I am definitely going to try to catch a game in Osaka or Tokyo. It just looks wild.