Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jenny Does Japan 6: Hiroshima

Oohhhh man... I am SO far behind on this bad boy, I don't even know where to start. I apologize for not updating sooner, but this past month has been a whirlwind of planning, teaching, and vacationing with the fam (among other things!). Fortunately for me (not for my blog) it doesn't look like it's slowing anytime soon, so it's time to get my butt/fingers back into action on the blog and keep updating! I know it's probably pretty difficult for ya'll to sleep without knowing what I'm doing every waking hour I spend in Japan. Just kidding - I seriously do try really hard to leave out the mundane details and keep to the significant stuff - but, there's just so much to say!

So, without further ado, let's go back to a time when that sibling of mine, Miss Jennifer Moersfelder, was visiting. A time when time flew like the peregrine falcon and destination cities in Japan were written on the horizon (and in my planner).

Hiroshima was a city I've always known I would visit in Japan. There are many events and topics you learn about in History or Social Studies throughout the years in public education. Some occurred so far back in history, that they are considered prehistoric or ancient. Interesting, but often irrelevant. Some occurred within the this millenium and are considered more recent and perhaps more relevant. Some events are significant in retrospect, some events are recognized as significant the moment they happen. Although I was not alive to experience WWII or the A-bomb, I know it directly effects my life and is especially relevant to me as a teacher. I wanted to learn more and experience what I could of what remains.

On August 6th, 1945, Hiroshima was the target of the world's first atomic-bomb. The immediate and long-term effects locally, nationally, and globally are jarring. This is a picture of the A-bomb Dome, which remains a symbol of the destruction.

The Motoyasu River runs through the now rebuilt city of Hiroshima.
After taking in the A-bomb dome, we strolled through Peace Memorial Park to check out all the memorials. This was a statue inspired by Sadako, who was a 10 year old leukemia victim after the war who folded 1000 paper cranes. The custom is that if you fold 1000 paper cranes, your wishes will come true. The crane symbolizes longevity and happiness in Japan.
People around the world are still inspired by Sadako's story.
A clock memorial.

The best 5o cents of the trip was spent here, at the Peace Memorial Museum. I learned some really incredible things I never knew before and got a chance to reflect on the entirety of the event.
Explaining why Hiroshima was chosen, with a copy of Einstein's letter of explanation.

Walking through a hall of artifacts.

A child's bike and helmet after the explosion.

A concrete wall after the acid rainfall a few days after the bomb dropped.
It was really nice to have the time to really indulge in these facts and stories and chat about it all with my sister, someone I respect and unfortunately don't get a chance to talk about these issues with all too often.
For lunch, there was no doubt we'd have to try a Hiroshima style okonomiyaki (egg-based savory pancake). Okonomiyaki is one of my favorite Japanese foods and we make it with all different kinds of ingredients up in Gunma. But down south, there is a whole different method: instead of mixing all the ingredients together, they're layered. And, Hiroshima style have a fried egg on the bottom and yakisoba (fried noodles) included as well... not my preference, but the meal was filling and tasty nonetheless. The hardest part was choosing which out of the 30+ okonomiyaki restaurants in the complex to go to!

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