**Disclaimer: The following posts from Japan are all coming at once.. I apologize in advance.**
A five hour train ride from the mountain top of Koyasan brought us to Hiroshima. I was excited to see Hiroshima, especially after seeing Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. I was curious to see the contrast between the two and get a better understanding of how each country interpreted the war.
It was a rainy day, and walking through Peace Memorial Park, where the memorial was established or also referred to as a type of ground zero, in the gloomy rain really added the extra emphasis to the eeriness that was present in this city.
The park was a tribute to what happened on August 6, 1945 at 8:15 am but more than a memorial, it was a park for hope to show awareness to the rest of the world that nuclear weapons are unnecessary and we should live in a world without them.
At 8:15 every morning the peace clock tower chimes as a sign of peace. Annually on August 6th, paper cranes are floated down the river during a festival of commemoration. Children from all over the world have sent paper cranes with wishes in them that are on display in the Children’s Museum of Peace. There is a bell you can ring for peace in hopes that the world will become a better place. Unlike Pearl Harbour where it was displayed as a personal attack on the heart of America, Hiroshima was surprisingly set up to promote more awareness of what happened in Hiroshima, and how to never recreate it, rather than mourn the tragedy.
It was not what I expected, but I am happy with what it was: A tribute to world peace by learning from History’s mistakes.
By 5 pm, it was time to make our way to the big city of Osaka and meet up with the original group from the first day in Tokyo. Osaka mark’s the fifth city we visited in 3 days. Smaller than Tokyo, modern Osaka still managed to keep hold of their traditional Japanese heritage with eccentric districts of lights and signs, that led into smaller alley ways that resembled the traditional streets that our version of China Town tries to recreate.
Out with an Australian we met at our hostel, the UK Hostel. The Australian showed us where to go and where to end up. We finally embraced the culture and went to a Japanese Karaoke Bar! The four story high building gave us our own little room where the ten of us crammed in and sang our hearts out to one another.
Karaoke bars are a favourite pass time of Japanese youth, and are not set up like our western bars. In Japan, your audience are the people you came with. There for a series of rooms all down the hall ways, and you are assigned to your own room for a certain period of time. Generally you need to book a room and they call you with a ten minute warning to wrap up your singing or tack on some extra time.
By 4am we were back at the hostel and in bed by 5am. This didn’t leave a lot of time to sleep for Ali and I since we had to get up again around 8am for a speedy departure to Nara, what was the previous capitol of Japan.