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JAPAN | Sunday, 15 September 2019 | Views [42]

Oura Cathedral World Heritage Site, Nagasaki

Oura Cathedral World Heritage Site, Nagasaki

NAGASAKI’S DORMY INN WAS A WELCOME SIGHT, visible as it was from the #5 Airport Bus stop at Shinchi.  It was after ten, we had been traveling all day and hadn’t eaten since lunch.  ANA, All Nippon Airways, was affordable, efficient and on-time but not big on food and beverage service.  I foraged in the FamilyMart for Diet Coke and noodles, our go-to emergency rations, plus some pastries for breakfast and we hunkered down in our room.


   Dejima Canal and Chinatown

Japan was “discovered” by the West in the mid-16th Century.  Portuguese and Spanish missionaries were the first Westerners to have contact with the people of Nagasaki.  The city became the center of Christianity in Japan and was known as Little Rome because of its churches.  Within a few decades Japan’s most powerful daimyo lord, afraid that his country would be conquered, had the missionaries thrown out. 


      Dejima Dutch Settlement

Meanwhile the Dutch East India Company established itself in Nagasaki followed by the British East India Company.  In the 1639s Japan’s isolationist policy banned all trade and contact with the West — except for Dejima, an artificial island in the port of Nagasaki where the Dutch East India Company operated its trading post.

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                             Dejima Dutch Settlement

For the next two centuries Nagasaki was Japan’s only open window to the West until, in 1859, Japan was “opened” to trade with the rest of the world.  With the help of Western industrialists like Thomas Glover, Nagasaki became the center of Japan’s industrial revolution and Mitsubishi became the General Motors of Japan.


        Japan's Industrial Revolution World Heritage Site

Not coincidently our hotel is only a few hundred meters from the Dejima Dutch Settlement.  We are right across the street from Nagasaki’s vibrant Chinatown and have a number of mini-marts to choose from.  Our room is a bit cramped but has everything we need.  We spent a steamy Sunday morning walking around the former European areas on Holland Street.  The Glover Office in Glover Garden was closed but we did visit Oura Cathedral, part of the “Hidden Christian Churches of Japan” World Heritage Site.   We could even see the remaining Mitsubishi crane (not red-crowned) in the Industrial Revolution WHS across the harbor.

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     Dutch Influence                             Hidden Churches of Japan

A Viking cruise ship is in port and it was strange to hear so much English with so many regional American accents.  I guess we look as out-of-place when we visit a port but at least we don’t wear college logos or hats that proclaim our veterans’ status.  After all, we are seasoned gai-jin.  It’s been 6 weeks since our first port-of-call in Kushiro and we have been on our own now for a month.


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