Wanderings in the Land of the Rising Sun – Part III

It was not unlike the other locations in Japan that I had visited – in that the people seemed to move in concerted purpose.

As I stared out the window of the bus that was shuttling me to the A-Bomb site in Hiroshima – the vibrant bustle of the city ran contrary to the events that had transpired there 74 years prior – where one of most horrific events in human history took place.

On the shuttle bus from Hiroshima Station.

En route to the A Bomb Dome site on the shuttle.

It was still a bit surreal – to be in a place that I had read about in the World Book encyclopedias when I was growing up.

Hiroshima is one of only two locations where nuclear weapons have been used in human warfare – the other being Nagasaki, Japan.

When the bomb detonated over the city – the explosion wiped out approximately 8 square miles of the the city – there were 80,000 people that died immediately as temperatures in the heart of the blast reached several million degrees – with thousands more perishing from the subsequent radiation exposure.

I remember reading about the heat of the explosion changing the color of surfaces that absorbed the blast – leaving shadows of people who were vaporized in the blast – seared into the ground as a testament that they once existed.

When departed the bus – I made a beeline to Peace Memorial to view the only building remaining that withstood the explosion in the still standing in the hypo-center of the blast.

It got me thinking…

About the most consistent trait about humanity…

Man’s inhumanity towards man.

And how placing fealty in things that don’t allow us to evolve is nothing short of a betrayal of our humanity and it was the realization that many people could care less that shook me to the core.

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Memorial plaque outside of the dome.

The walls stood.

On the A-Bomb dome site.

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I saw the resilience of the human spirit – instead of a charred building.

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A marker of what transpired here.

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Seeing the ruins was haunting.

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Looking up and I wondered – if our humanity is crumbling like the shell of this building.

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There is an ongoing restoration effort on the dome.

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When words are hollow – a picture speaks volumes.

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I saw people wielding wide smiles, but I had none to give in my selfies.

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Monuments weren’t in short supply – nor should they be.

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There are over 70 monuments on the A-Bomb site.

The A-Bomb Dome


As I furiously snapped pictures – my spirit was heavy.

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Outside of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Hall.

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A view from across the Matoyasu River.

My active meditation was shattered near the Peace Bell, where I witnessed a diminutive man, probably all of 5’4 pulling back the bell and using all of his body weight to strike it with an oppressive amount of force, repeatedly.

 

He did this despite a sign on the site asking that the bell be handled with care – it low key pissed me off and I had to bite my tongue.

 

A plaque at the base of the Peace Bell.


I took these words to heart.

He paid no regard to letting the vibrations subside and I watched him in stoic disbelief. When our eyes met – he had this smile on his face that was equal parts goofy and maniacal and I stood there arms folded while glowering at him until he walked away.

See my previous rule in Part I – don’t be an asshole in a foreign land, if you can help it.

But, I saw this man as indicative of this disregard that we accord the other people that we share the planet with – this galling statistic of Americans spending nearly 8 times more on defense than on education speaking volumes.

It is our haughtiness blinding us to the lessons of history that cry out to be heard.

 

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A trio ringing the Peace Bell.

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Making my orbit of the Peace Bell.

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Inside of the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall.

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The names of those who perished were etched on the wall inside of the memorial.

 

Next up… Part IV – the Nishiki Food Market!

 

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About Shun P. Writes

Author, Amateur Genealogist, Writer, Poet, possessor of 2 cents, blogger and eternal student of life, who harbors a firm belief in his Grandmother's mantra that: "People need to get off of their rump and do something". All while keeping in mind that a cheering section will often get in the way.