Archive for July 7th, 2009

Day 15 – trip to Hiroshima

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

I really didn’t know what to expect out of this trip.  But how can a trip to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park go wrong?  I took the chance, and took this trip.  And it’s a success so far.  Success #1 – the train was awesome.  Success #2 – the A-Bomb Dome was pretty.  The whole Peace Memorial Park was somber, yet very pretty.  Success #3 – the Peace Memorial Museum was good too.  Success #4 – a short trip to Miyajima was good too.  Success #5 – the hotel we picked was good.

#1 – train.  Because we are using the Rail Pass, and the pass restricts us from using one type of bullet train “Nozomi,” we had to switch our bullet train in Osaka.  And this was actually a good thing.  The train we switched to had very comfortable seats, very relaxing atmosphere… and it still went very fast, topping at 300km/h (approx. 185mph).  Not as fast as TGV of France, but still very speedy.  After getting to city of Hiroshima, we switched to the street car.  We went from 300km/h to 30km/h.  It’s still so much easier than walking.  And watching all the trains are fun.  For me.

#2&3 – Peace Memorial Park.  At Hiroshima station, we hopped on the line #2 street car.  We got off at the stop called Atomic Bomb Dome.  As the stop’s name implied, the dome was right in front of us right there.  The train made its only English announcement at this stop.  It’s made easier for foreign travelers visiting this site.

The dome was… just an old building, pretty much destroyed, with some touch-ups done to have it preserved.  By this time, we’ve seen quite a few foreigners.  Obviously, it’s a popular tourist spot.  From there, we semi-aimlessly started walking around.

First thing we encountered was Children’s Peace Monument.  That spot was full of origami cranes.  I’m guessing there are around half a million paper cranes around that monument.  Many punches of the cranes are donated by schools around the globe, often with messages hoping for the world peace.

From there, we started walking aimlessly.  We saw the Peace Bell, Cenotaph for the A-bomb victims, etc…  It’s a pretty park.  Then we arrived at the Peace Memorial Museum.  It’s a pretty powerful place.  I think people can spend quite a lot of time here.  My daughter spent pretty good time reading through the displays, which had both Japanese and English.  I thought the English displays here were pretty good.  I guess there are enough peace advocates to make this place more friendly for everyone, regardless of the language.  I think over half of the visitors I saw in there were foreigners.

#4 – Miyajima.  Miyajima is another tourist spot in Hiroshima, but less know to foreigners, I think.  There still were quite a few of them here.

Once we checked in to the hotel, we ventured out to Miyajima.  It was a bit late, but I really wanted to make this trip today.  The street car #2 takes us all the way to the ferry port.  We got back on that train, and of we went.  Looks like the street trains are really a part of the life for the citizens of Hiroshima.  Why doesn’t America have more public transportation…

The ferry ride was short.  And the ferries leave the port quite often.  Making the connection from the street car to the ferry was not a problem at all.  The island looked pretty.  I think it has many spot to visit… but we cut our trip short, and headed back to the hotel.  This time, we took the regular commuter train (JR) back to Hiroshima, and took the street car to the hotel.

Sidenote – If anyone ever wants to visit Hiroshima, I think it’s best to plan half a day at the Peace Park (for those who wants to learn more about Hiroshima and its history around the A-Bomb survival), and at least half a day at Miyajima (for those who wants to see more beautiful Japanese sceneries).

#5 – the hotel.  The hotel is kinda small.  It is dirt cheap at about 5500 yen per night.  Including dinner and continental breakfast.

The hotel doesn’t provide the dinner, though.  They ask some store to bring okonomiyaki to the guest room.  Hiroshima is known for its unique okonomiyaki.  You can’t complete a trip to Hiroshima without eating one of these.

The delivery was very fast, and food was delicious.  (My daughter said she liked my version of okonomiyaki better…)

Cherries on top are – 1) I can see the Peace Memorial Museum from my window; 2) They have free internet, with which I’m submitting this blog entry.

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Day 13-14

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Day 13 is another Sunday.  We stayed at the church all day.  After lunch, they had potato digging in the garden behind the church.  Evan joined that for a bit.

Also, that afternoon, they had a gospel choir concert at the church, in which I played trumpet on one song.  I stayed in the sanctuary while my daughter was digging the potatoes outside, since they were holding a rehearsal.  I didn’t get to do anything during that though.  I played the song without any rehearsal.  On a song that I’ve never heard of before.  Without any musical score in front of me.  That was some experience…

Day 14 – One of the good thing about coming home to this family is that we get to enjoy the fine home cooking by my mom and fine Korean home cooking by my sister-in-law.  On Monday, she prepared samgyetan for us.  It is one powerful meal.  With stuff like genkoba, garlic and ginseng in it, it’s sure to energize us for the rest of the week.

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