Japan Blog Study Tour

Little Boy

IMG_2572 Today (Sunday) we went to Hiroshima on a culture day. We jumped on the Shinkansen (Nozomi number 5) to Hiroshima from Kyoto. One of the group had a GPS system for cycling which can show the current speed and other statistics and we clocked the train at a top speed of 303 km/h. At that speed we found a smoking booth between two trains. So after we bought some coffee from a nice young lady on board, we checked out the smoking booth. After some hilarious situations in a small booth with 2 cups of coffee and cigarettes (taking sudden corners at 300km/h is dangerous for people in the vicinity with open mugs) we arrived after 1,5 hours at Hiroshima.

While everybody knows what happened at Hiroshima, none of knew why it was bombed. My theory was that is was probably a large military installation at the time of WWII – a hunch which got confirmed half way through the day. After we got out the Shinkansen we took a tram to the Peace Dome. The Peace Dome is an old building (Chamber of Commerce I think) which was at ground zero and survived the blast because the shockwave came from above the building (it has no floors: those got smashed down in the explosion). The Peace Dome is now a memorial to remember the world of what happened that awful day in 1945 in Hiroshima.

Surrounding the Peace Dome there are various monuments in one big park and next to the memorial site is the Memorial Center. This is a memorial to remember all the people who died in the blast. You can even look people up if you know their name. They also have a 360 degrees panorama photo from the site just after the blast engraved into stone. I also made a movie of the panorama but I need decent internet to upload that so I’ll post it later.

IMG_2624 After Luuk and me visited the Memorial Museum (which has numerous artifacts from the bombing) we tried finding an Italian restaurant using the free map we got at an information booth. The first restaurant we found was next to the memorial park but they didn’t sell pizza (Italian without pizza – we didn’t understand either), the second one was a 10 minute walk away into the Hiroshima center (which is a big freaking city) and they were closed. After some scouring we found a third Italian in Hiroshima and after we walked to the wrong place at first, we finally found it after 30 minutes of walking. Guess what – closed. Those idiots sit in the restaurant all day while they are closed between 2 and 5 PM. Luckily we saw a Japanese hamburger joint a few blocks back so that was plan B. The restaurant sold good coffee and fresh made hamburgers and home-made fries – one of the best hamburgers I had in months.

IMG_2695 On the way back we found a departo (department store, much like the Media Markt in the Netherlands, just a lot bigger) and we decided to take a look. We found out that small electronics and DVD’s/CD’s are relatively cheap in Japan compared to the Netherlands but larger electronics are more expensive. Our theory is that because Japanese people buy a heck lot more DVD’s than we do (huge consumer market) the prices are very low. I decided to buy some music and I remembered the band HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR from the Gundam and Bleach soundtracks. So I set off to find the CD’s in the racks of media. After a minute I realized that everything was sorted by the Japanese alphabet and not the Romanji one (figures). There usually is a small army of staff to help you when you need something and some of them speak English. However the guy helping on the CD department didn’t speak much English so I asked a random Japanese guy for help and he called his friend to figure how the name was spelled (in Kanji or Romanji). After a few minutes we finally found it and I bought 2 CD’s for 4500 yen (less than 30 euros).

On a side note: anime is fucking cheap here (duh), like 20 euros for a Gundam or Bleach DVD box but there’s a catch: no subtitles…. dammit!

IMG_2725After the walk through Hiroshima we gathered at the Peace Dome and walked back into town to a local place where they sold some Hiroshima specialty, something with crepes (forgot the name). We randomly picked a floor from the elevator and we arrived at a floor where small eating corners where placed next to each other. Each place has its own menu so you just pick one that suits you and order a meal that’s prepared for you on the cooking plate while you sit next to it. After a delicious meal (one of the best true Japanese dishes I’ve had so far) we went to the Star Bucks (one of many) in the neighborhood to finish our dinner.

We then traveled back to the hotel in Kyoto with the Shinkansen to conclude a nice day of relaxation.

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