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Days in Japan...WARNING LOTS OF PICTURES DIALUP BEWARE!!!
#11
Ooooh!! It seems like you had a lot of fun : D! That's good. Those deer are so cute! ♥
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#12
I'm so jealous. I want to go even more now.
Biiru o nomimasu!
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#13
ditto ! I really wanna go asap now !
Away
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#14
Sorry, I took a three day break to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Tongue I finished it monday morning. And my my it was worth being the final tome of the series... also there are some serious topics I wanted to begin discussing in this post but I just haven't quite found the flow I needed to go about it but anyway I'll get off my lazy ass and finish this post!

July 6th (Day 3)


We checked out of our hotel around 7 in the morning. Keri and I had eaten the rest of our food from the night before for breakfast. If you happen to take the train in Japan as much as we did, which is unavoidable, you will grow to HATE the Shinkansen and all trains in existence, especially if you are lugging around luggage X_X

Miyajima: So our ride from Kyoto to Hiroshima was about one hour and a half. Punctuality is very important in Japan. Even the trains are timed by departure and arrival by minutes to seconds, depending of course where you are going. Soon after arriving in Hiroshima we took the subway to the coast and took a ferry to Miyajima, an island off the coast of Hiroshima. And I'm sure that someone somewhere recognizes this:

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It feels remarkable to see things with your own eyes that you have always seen in pictures. Unfortunately it was low tide at the time.

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The former was taken of Hiroshima bay from our ferry

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Pictures taken of Miyajima from the ferry. Isn't it gorgeous?! Around the ferry port there were more deer O_o and surveys. School children around 12, as I later found out, came up to us and asked us how we liked Miyajima, where else in Japan have we visited, how we old were etc. It was cute because we knew more Japanese then they knew English. Plus they were really sweet to us. ^^
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#15
Hiroshima:

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Taken from the Hiroshima garden outside of the Atomic Bomb Museum, those are 100% cranes. Building cranes have always been a symbol of good luck but the saying was if you built 1000 cranes it would grant you a wish. The idea of building cranes for the atomic bomb relief came from a survivor named Sadako Sasaki. She had survived the initial blast from the bomb, walking away not as harmed as those around her. However once she was around 11, nine years after the bombing she was diagnosed with leukemia. She began building cranes for her health however she died nearly a year after diagnoses, having constructed over 1000 cranes. Since then the crane has become the international symbol of peace, along with the dove. To learn more about her just google Sadako Sasaki or Sadako Sasaki with one thousand cranes.

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Monument of Sadako holding the crane and the golden crane.

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Now see stuff like this makes me tear up. I've mentioned this before but I'm very sensitive and empathetic.
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#16
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These ruins here are remaining from one of the only buildings left standing from the bombing. We ran into more surveys while we were around these ruins. The questions more harder for me to answer because they were essay-worth like "Do you believe that it was necessary to use the atomic bomb?" I had an answers but they weren't ones that the kids, around junior high age with broken English, could understand. I could have written an essay if I had the time and room on the sheet so I merely shortened it to four sentences. I put some rather deep though into my answers while my group waited for me, rather impatiently.

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If you look towards the center you can see the ruins.

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Coming to Hiroshima was incredibly depressing. It might have been because the sky was gray or the mentality that I held but I felt a presence in that city. One that was weakened from what it once was. I imagined that city was once very strong and powerful and while it is true today, it feels almost damaged. I felt guilty for it. Even though my family hadn't immigrated to the US until decades after WWII I still felt guilty. I'm sorry if this offends anyone but I honestly believe that Pearl Harbor can't compare to what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The numbers can't compare. I have many more things I can say about this but I'll leave it after this: it is worth it to go to the museum and pay your respects, try not to hate yourself if you're American (I had to remind myself that several times), go inside and read, watch the videos they will be translated into several languages. I can tell you what got to me the most inside the museum but I'd rather leave the details of that to myself and just say that my ability to emphasize got the best of me. I did cry to myself a few times in there. Also to everyone but to Americans especially, do some research before you step in there. That way when you're glancing through the guest books and just so happen to come to read in Russian Cyrillic "the US sucks!" you can reply mentally to yourself, whether you agree or disagree and be satisfied with your knowledge. Then write down next to their signature that you, an American, want peace just as much as they do.

As much as it pains me to say this, while in many ways it makes total sense, it is rather disturbing to explain. I don't even know how to begin but after staring at my cursor for about five minutes the best opening I can come up with is: that the 300 years of Japan's isolation has made them like not having foreigners. While many Japanese people are fascinated and are welcoming to foreigners, many see gaikokujin or gaijin as troublemakers. You can be arrested for speaking in a foreign language and it has happened before. I'm by no means saying be afraid to speak your own language I'm just saying that's how ridiculous it can be. No matter what they tell you they are NOT ALLOWED to ask for your passport and if you do get arrested demand to see your embassy or consulate. Don't give them a reason to arrest you, that's a given. Also there is an anti-foreigner feeling in Japan, particularly around Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Hokkaido. Though fortunately I didn't run into these while I was there, but there are places that will not serve to foreigners or will charge 3X or 5X more if you are a foreigner. Look out for signs that will say in English usually 'NO GAIJIN'. It saddens me and though I hate to spread propaganda, it must be said. Japan isn't an immigrant country nor is it a fairy land. Again, the reason I don't have a picture of these signs is because I didn't run into any of these places so you can visit Japan without being excluded but I tell you this so you know and can be careful.
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#17
Moving on, we checked into our hotel then went out to dinner. We had Okonomiyaki Hiroshima style. I can't eat pork so they substituted the meat for shrimp and it was really good. Okonomiyaki is a pancake on top of layers of food, the toppings and the thickness of the layers depends on the region. The bottom layer is noodle, you can choose either soba or udon. Then you have grilled lettuce, then fried egg with meat, usually pork and if you want you can have toppings like shrimp. Then its topped off with a pancake. If you go to the Kansai region (Osaka) or Hiroshima, you should have some Okonomiyaki. Keri and I shared one because they are pretty big servings. The toppings such as the shrimp will usually cost more but because they had to cook it without pork we paid only about ¥40 extra for a total of about ¥840.

We later on split up from our teacher and wandered through a department store across the street from our hotel. Again, I mentioned before about the floor sign, usually at the front door, by the stairs or elevators or whatever you can see them. Read up on your katakana because there will usually be some on there. By the way, I have found that the porn is usually on the higher or the top floor. Porn isn't a big deal in Japan but you will laugh at yourself when you see the boob stress balls (they come in different colors Lmfao) and when you're trying to find a particular floor and you see no one else but men coming out from the floor above you and you see pictures that tell you "Hmmm yes, WRONG FLOOR" Sweatdrop

I found the music floor and went wild, not really but you get what I mean Wink One thing particularly irritating about CD stores is that their sorting system is a bit confusing. All Japanese music is under Jpop meanwhile they can be sorted by hiragana, katakana and its hard to tell when one category stops and another starts X_X So no I unfortunately could not find BACK-ON in Hiroshima and not from lack of trying!!! But I did buy a t.A.t.U CD from the bargain aisle for only ¥100 (less than $1 YES!) and a Ayumi Hamasaki remix album for ¥700. I have found CDs in Japan to be a little more pricey than American CDs. Cheaper than imports, of course but still a little expensive for what you get. Unlike here, as you already know, where musicians go on a one year hiatus but produce as full length album, Japanese musicians produce singles every few months. They usually cost about from ¥1,000-¥1,500 ($8.50-$12.60 or €6.17-€9.25 with today's crappy exchange rate) for about four to five songs. While full albums go for ¥3,000 ($25 or €18.50) but sometimes you might want to buy the CD with DVD edition for about ¥500 ($4.20 or €3.10) more. I suggest you look through the bargain/used aisle first because the CDs are usually in great shape, you wouldn't think that they were used at all. Both of the CDs I bought in Hiroshima didn't have any scratches on them whatsoever. Also there might be two register areas, one for new CDs and one for used.

Anyway so we went back to our hotel, enjoying our first real shopping spree. That night was the first time we had seen our next favorite Jdrama, Yamadatarou Monogatari as well as our last night together before our separate homestays for three nights. Next up is Himeji and Nagoya!
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#18
Rynn, I've said this before (I think, but alas my memory) but these posts are seriously amazing! I find them very informative and moving in parts, but not boring in the least, and full of useful tips that are actually USEFUL! The Hiroshima pictures with the paper cranes were the ones I found particularly powerful for some reason in the latest edition (perhaps the pictures of the buildings should have been the ones) but eloquence is a bit elusive at the moment and I don't quite know how to describe it. Thank you for writing about your thoughts because although pictures do speak a thousand words, one always learns that captions add volumes too! Smile

I've been lugging baggage around recently on trains/coaches/roads so can absolutely sympathise about the luggage part!

On a more serious note, I really hadn't realised that there would be an anti-foreigner sort of sentiment in Japan, but it does make sense particularly around Hiroshima. The arrests/passports part does sound scary though! If I needed an additional reason for brushing up on Japanese, perhaps this is one!

Oh yes, love the pictures - they're almost always so vivid in colour! Big Grin I noticed in the lift picture reflection that a VERY pro-looking camera was being used as well!
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