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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 170: An interesting day in Hiroshima

JAPAN | Wednesday, 23 April 2008 | Views [683]

A-Bomb Dome in the daylight, Hiroshima

A-Bomb Dome in the daylight, Hiroshima

Wednesday 23rd April

I woke up feeling reasonably well and had enjoyed sleeping on the futon; it was pretty comfortable and I could understand the attraction in having one (it saves a lot of space, for one). I grabbed some breakfast and walked back through the Memorial Park to the Peace Memorial Museum where I was stopped by two separate groups of Jehovah's Witnesses trying to turn people on to the Bible (maybe they were still affected by all that radiation!).

The Peace Memorial Museum had an entrance fee of fifty yen (plus another 250 for an audio tour) and it told the story of Hiroshima before the Second World War, how the atomic bomb was made and why it was dropped on Hiroshima (over other possible targets), and the aftermath of 6th August 1945. It's a big place with a lot of information but it was very well presented, very balanced and it included artefacts recovered from the wreckage of the bomb. It is another sobering place and it was full of schoolkids, learning about an important period in everyone's history.

I spent two hours in the museum, rushing through the last couple of sections as I wanted to be on the train and back in Osaka before 16.30. Pete, Kumi and I had bought tickets for the Asian Champions League game between Gamba Osaka and Melbourne Victory that was taking place that evening. I met Pete at 17.00, had some food (a really crap chicken curry) and met Kumi, after which we took about four trains to get out to Gamba's Expo '70 Stadium on the outskirts of town.

We didn't see too may people on the way to the game, with only a handful of supporters distinguishable in the crowd of commuters. We got to the stadium just before kick-off at 19.00 and took our seats amongst a crowd of about 10,000. The Melbourne Victory fans – all fifty or so of them! - occupied a sodden terrace behind one of the goals, shouting indistinctly in the rain. At the other end, to our left, the Gamba 'ultras' sang and shouted in unison, prompted by a ringleader with a megaphone. They sang throughout the game and provided a good atmosphere (one of the most bizarre songs went to the tune of Mike Oldfield's 'Moonlight Shadow', I couldn't figure out where that one might have come from). While the fans were loud in voice, their singing lacked an ounce of spontaneity, as they would only respond to the prompts of the guy with the loudspeaker; as soon as a song was finished, a deafening silence descended over that end of the ground, only to be lifted once the guy with the megaphone picked out another chant and off they went again. It was hilarious! It seemed to reflected the Japanese psyche; they still need some sort of order on a social occasion, even when it should come from the heart.

The game ended up 2-0 to Gamba, and the standard of football was fairly dire. The rain that fell down throughout much of the evening didn't do much for the occasion. Melbourne Victory looked like a pub team at best and Gamba didn't look much better, despite the fact that they had at least one Japanese international in their team. It was good fun and reasonable value for money, but I have seen much better games on less impressive occasions.

We set off in the rain on the long journey home, grabbed some food at the supermarket and relaxed for the rest of the evening. We chatted about the football and agreed that the Asian Champions League might model itself on the European original, but they had a long way to go before they could match it for quality.

 

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