Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hiroshima for an Hour

What type of idiot day trips to Hiroshima from Tokyo?

I do.

Waking up early I caught the nine o'clock bullet out to Hiroshima. I got there at one thirty. My return train, which would get me to tokyo by eight, and back to where I was staying at nine? Well that left from Hiroshima at three twenty. I had just under two hours to see what I wanted to see.

Fun fact: The Atomic Dome is twenty minutes by bus from the station – Forty minutes for transit there and back, and I was down to an hour. But I made the most of it. I saw the dome. That's what I wanted to see in Hiroshima, and there it was. It's strange that with their revisionist history that it still exists. One expects them to have torn it down, and claim that nothing strange ever happened in Hiroshima – what? Why are there no buildings from before the fifties? Don't worry about that – move along, move along.

This may sound crass – but when you start learning about the Japanese version of Japanese history you too may be surprised of its existence.

In fact, reading, I learned they were planning to tear it down, but an outcry from the population saved it.

Looking at its twisted beams, and cage-like dome it is shocking that of all buildings to be left behind it was one as hauntingly beautiful as this. Rubble lines the surrounding area, and visitors make the pilgrimage out to see it in a constant flow.

Not far from the structure is a statue clad in red, with an atomic shadow burned into the ground under it.

There is a peace museum with stopped watches, and other testaments to the terrible time, but I had no time to visit it. My moments were already ticking away. After taking in the site it was nearly time to head back to the station and jump on my return train bound for Tokyo.

For me, this was a pilgrimage to see the one building and learn more about the area. I plan to return to Japan for a month in 2011, and now I've scouted this city out and know where I'd like to go. The water temple mocked me in the far corner of the map, out of reach to me now – but not then.

As I grabbed the train, I spent the time both reading and sleeping. Six hours from Hiroshima to where I was staying. My friend's wife made dinner once more – takoyaki made at the table by heating a skillet with rounded dents in it. There you poured the batter, and placed in the pieces of octopus. Fish flakes, onions, sauce, and a terrible amount of mayonnaise are added after. It's a fun way to cook with minimal set up, and it's very social. Why we don't have things like this back home, I don't know.

I must look for one of these griddlesque cookers in the future – I imagine pancake batter and funsized chocolate bars could also be combined for greatness within.

Over twelve hours in transit for one hour on the ground, in Hiroshima. Was it worth it? Of course it was.

Once more: Thank you JR Rail pass. The price of the pass, nearly covered in just this one day.

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