wolftone (wolftone) wrote,

Day 10 - 100 Meters from the Hypocenter

Hiroshima is a fairly compact city geographically. Everything you might want to see and do is wedged between two rivers. It's also compact temporally. It's stuck firmly in time at 8:15am, August 6 1945. The city may have rebuilt, developed some great nightlife, and constructed a Tiffany store. But everything filters through the lens of one fissile event 60 years ago, and that's unlikely to change anytime soon.


First, a garden along the "peace walk". I can't get enough of these elegantly planned zen gardens. It's amazing how much detail and care are packed into such a small space. And it did put me in a contemplative mind to accept the horrors of the next few stops.


I hadn't expected to be all that moved by the peace park here. Yes, the a-bomb was horrific and damaging. But the devastation that one bomb rained on this city is comparable in scale to the utter flattening dealt to Tokyo, Berlin, or Dresden. Rationally, the difference is technological in its source, not necessarily in terms of the actual human suffering caused. But human suffering of any kind is hard to argue with . I held myself together pretty well through the excellent museum exhibits describing in frank detail Japan's own war crimes and the political/military decisions which lead to the bomb drop. Later exhibits detailing the trauma dealt to the survivors made things worse, until I completely lost it at an exhibit of a tricycle beloved by a little boy who died that same day of radiation poisoning. It's hard to collect yourself surrounded by unruly packs of similarly-aged japanese children.


A bit of fresh air and lunch helped. I don't know why Boston doesn't have okonomiyaki, but it should. My boss encouraged me to try it, describing the dish as "an omelet/pancake/pizza sort of.... thing". Having now tried it, I can't really describe it any better other than to say that it's a great comfort food served immediately off a hot grill, and would do great as a college-food alternative to pizza and pancakes and ... things. It also helped that the restaurant was showing Game 4 of the world series, so I was able to see the Sox do their own thing live. I wish I could have been there - I remember what the city was like last time this happened.


One reason you're not seeing many nightlife reports is that the smoke inside most bars is simply too overpowering to consider entering. I did hunt down a tapas place with pretty good sangria, a decent cheese plate, and no smoke. It was a great recovery after a disappointing "sushi nouveau" restaurant, which is to say "california style", which is to say "avocado in everything". Salud!
Tags: japan, travel, war
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