Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Bit of History

After a morning filled with the beauty and calmness of nature it was time for me to get a bit of a history lesson.  I took the streetcar back into town which took a good 45 minutes, but not quite peaceful enough for me to sneak a nap.  Conveniently, the A-bomb dome has it's own stop along the streetcar route so it was extremely easy to find.  This was likely the most tourist trap portion of my trip, I felt like I was in Europe with the number of foreigners soon surrounding me. I'm sure everyone reading this knows the history here so I'll just let the pictures explain what I saw that day.
A-Bomb Dome
Memorial Cenotaph
Peace Gates "Peace" in 49 languages
Children's Peace Monument - Sasaki Sadako a HS junior who died after radiactive effects from the bomb.
Paintings created by survivors, most touching part of the museum
After spending hours in and around the park, including a lengthy visit to the  museum I was famished. Both tired and hungry I was ready to find what I came for - Okonomiyaki.  To be fair my brother raved about this dish after he came home from Japan and argued that it was much better than the Kansai style, so after having and enjoying that I figured this one must be good.  I received a few different recommendations but the closest, and what I expected to be easiest to find, was Okonomi-mura, an area with roughly 25 vendors selling the same thing. It took a little while roaming the streets but soon I was there and selected a booth with two nice women, to be honest none of them were busy as it was only 5pm, but I was hungry. Apparently I picked the right place because soon after being seating a large group of Japanese workers came in along with a few other solo diners, soon all the seats were full. 
Tastes better than it looks, it was amazing
Although I still had hours before my bus was due to leave I thought i'd walk back to the station where I stowed my bag earlier that morning.  I wasn't entirely sure where I'd be catching the bus that night so I also wanted to figure that out before the information booths closed.  Turns out it's a good thing I decided to head back when I did, my bus was in fact leaving from the bus terminal, not the train station.  Wouldn't luck have it that the bus terminal was only steps away from where I had just been.  Not wanting to change the walking theme of the trip, and having plenty of time to spare, I decided to trek back to the terminal on foot.  I suppose I could've explored more of the city before grabbing my bag but to be honest I was dead tired and all I wanted to do was sit down and relax.

Clearly I didn't really piece together the amount of time i'd have in Hiroshima - arrive at 6:30 and then depart later that night at 11:30, it was a long day. This was obviously not my favorite part of the trip, bus stations aren't really the ideal place to hang out at 11 o'clock at night, but I made sure to stay close to the ticket counter.  I did make one friend at the terminal though, an older Japanese man who was keen to practice English and learn about why I was traveling Japan.  At one point he handed me his cell phone because his friend that "could speak really good English" wanted to talk to me - turns out his daughter lives in Chicago and he's traveled around the US a few times.  Oh the random meetings while traveling.  Finally the bus came and thus started my near 24 hour trek home. 

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