It had occurred to me about two weeks earlier that I could visit Hiroshima with some of the extra days I had. It fascinated me that after learning about WWII in middle and high school, I could now finally visit the place and face some of the reality of what happened there. I mean, us school kids just really see a picture of the mushroom cloud and some paragraphs of how after the A-bombs the war ended, and maybe some ideas of the implication that radiation damage was imminent after.
And boy, I was not prepared for the Peace Museum. I suppose the museum at its conclusion advocates for peace via denuclearizing everyone, but I would name it the “Atomic Bomb Museum and People were Burned Alive Btw” museum. It was really graphic, and a lot of the museum was dedicated to the fragments of journals and belongings of the deceased, many of whom were children. I was not mentally prepared.
After the museum, I was kinda in a state of shock for the remainder of my day. What I once saw upon entering a city as a modern shopping district destination suddenly looked like a graveyard. Especially standing before the Atomic Bomb Dome, a preserved fragment of a building right after the bomb hit, with the associated pictures, you could look around and suddenly see the devastation everywhere as an undertone to the prosperous now. It was very hard to reconcile these two images of past and present. I don’t blame people for wanting to forget. It makes me wonder how many decades before people will stop coming to the museum, if and when the museum will ever close.
On a brighter note the Hiroshima Castle was fun, with informative videos, cool relics, and a lovely view of the moat and surrounding park.
For dinner I stopped by my friend VL’s recommendation of a okonomiyaki sort of mall with different okonomiyaki stands on each floor. After scrolling distractedly through a list of all the differences between stands, I decided to sit with a bunch of adults rather than try to fit in with the middle schoolers all seated in the neighboring stand, cuz I thought it would look weird, lol.
It was really tasty and the chef was charming and knew a good amount of English. A Japanese TV quiz-type show was nearby where kids were guessing fruits by their silhouettes and adults were labeling stroke order of Japanese words. Some of them were in one-to-one correspondence with some of the Chinese I learned in school, but I didn’t get all of those correct, further reinforcing the idea that my Chinese is deteriorating rapidly, or more optimistically, maybe Japanese people just write their symbols differently. Or maybe I just didn’t understand when the hosts announced right answers from wrong answers.
That evening I walked through some stores in the area before retiring early, breeding more kittens, and sleeping. I thankfully had a dream-free and peaceful night in my pseudo-capsule-but-not-really-more-like-a-large-shared-room-in-a-hostel Airbnb.