Trip Start Nov 09, 2008
Trip End Apr 02, 2009

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Where I stayed
Hana Hostel

Flag of Japan  ,
Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Having checked out of the less than economy hotel in Tokyo, yesterday we took the bullet train to Hiroshima, changing at Osaka.  Not only is the bullet train very fast, the ride is incredibly smooth and comfortable.  We left Tokyo at 12 midday and arrived in Hiroshima just before 5pm. 

We had phoned ahead to book into our first hostel which has turned out to be an excellent choice.  Steven has found a friend, T-jan, who is 2 years old and they spent some time racing each other up and down a corridor.  This was not a problem with T-jan being the son of one of the proprietors of the hostel.  The hostel is a more reasonable price, although the strength of the yen is making everything expensive here at the moment.  When we left, the rate was 192 yen to the pound but it has reduced to between 150 and 160 to the pound.

After the journey, it has to be said that everyone was in bed and asleep by 9pm!

Today we visited the Peace Memorial Park and Museum.  The museum was interesting with the greater emphasis on peace and the danger of the nuclear arms race rather than the horrors of the A-bomb being dropped on Hiroshima itself, although there was a tableau of three badly burned children emerging from the ruins and Steven asked, "Are they monsters?" 

It was good to get into the lighter atmosphere of the park and we were entertained by groups of japanese school children practising their english on us, being entertained by the novelty that is Steven shouting at pigeons (complete with nose dripping constantly from the cold and cough he has acquired) and asking us to write a peace message on their sheet of paper.  It is one of the tasks they are asked to do on their school trip.  Yvonne's chosen message was 'Peace must be forever' and D's was 'Peace, love and happiness'.  We're just a pair of old hippies really!  The children would then ask for a photo of us with them doing a peace sign.  We, of course, were happy to oblige.

D was also given an origami crane by some school children as a symbol of peace.  This relates to the story of a two year old girl who survived when the A-bomb dropped but died 10 years later of leukaemia and whilst she was ill, she believed that if she made 1000 origami cranes it would cure her illness.  It didn't, but the origami crane remains the symbol of peace for children visiting Hiroshima.

We then embarked on the search for the sister statue to the 'Reconcilliation' statue at Coventry Cathedral which Yvonne had seen earlier in the year on a school trip.  Disappointingly, we couldn't find it, despite the valiant efforts of the helpful girl at the information desk, whose command of english was excellent. 

The trip was rounded off with a ride back to the hostel on the street car, where again we were assisted by a very helpful teenage boy who, using a translator on his mobile phone, managed to tell us that we had to pay at the end of the ride because he had realised that we were clueless visitors!
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