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There and Back Again The continuing travels of me

Hiroshima 2008

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 11 August 2008 | Views [713] | Comments [2]

The A-bomb dome, it's all explained in the next photo if you can read it.

The A-bomb dome, it's all explained in the next photo if you can read it.

Home from Hiroshima, it was a tiring trip, too far to go for such a short time really, but that’s one more international event I can cross off my list.
I left Friday morning, after not being able to sleep Thursday night so I was pretty tired. I got a train from Kiryu to Oyama, then another from Oyama to Shinjuku in Tokyo (roughly 2.5-3 hours on the train).
I stopped off in Tokyo for a while, mainly in Harajuku where I bought some sunglasses. It was really hot and I was pretty sweaty, also regretting not bringing sun cream, a hat etc. I ate at a food court place that had fish tanks, one of which had two clown fish and whatever kind of fish ‘Dory’ was. That is they had gone to the trouble of putting fish representing the main characters from ‘Finding Nemo’ in the tank.

I took the monorail to Haneda airport and then it was a short flight to Hiroshima. The bus trip from Hiroshima airport into the city was almost as long as the flight. I was really tired when I got to Hiroshima, but I had to sort out where the Animation Festival was screening and find my hotel. The city center seemed pretty easy to get around so I walked through the Peace Park and found Aster Plaza where the festival was, picked up my ticket for Saturday and a map and went looking for the hotel.

The Peace park is full of monuments remembering the atomic bomb, the park is built around the A-bomb dome, the remains of a building near the epicenter of the blast that was left mostly standing by pure coincidence. See the gallery for a picture. The park is beautiful and naturally full of tourists from around Japan and the world.

The city of Hiroshima is itself a monument to survival, it’s a truly lovely city and it seems impossible to believe what a horrific past it has had. The fact that the city is committed to advocating peace and harmony on an international level probably isn’t surprising, there’s only two ways to respond to an event like the A-bomb, and Hiroshima picked the right one.

 It wasn’t hard to find but took about 30 or 40 mins to slowly walk there while constantly checking the map.

Hiroshima was solidly booked as this is peak holiday season and last week there was a big Peace and Harmony festival in the city. But I found a night at a cheap hotel in the city which really was the smallest room with a bed in it I’ve ever seen, and a second night at the airport hotel.

The screenings went all day, mostly I was watching short films in the ‘medium’ hall, the ‘grand’ hall had a couple of feature films that I didn’t want to see (Finding Nemo and a film from Finland) and the big competition screening that evening, I did got to that one. I didn’t see the ‘small’ hall at all, but I imagine it was tiny. It was a pretty good bunch of films over all, I’d seen some before at the Melbourne International Animation Festival, but they were generally worth watching again. I was a bit surprised at first, the event seemed smaller than I expected, but I was in screenings in the medium hall most of the time. Later in the day a lot more people turned up and when I saw the ‘grand’ hall solidly packed that evening.

Saturday night I had to make my way to the airport hotel, I missed the last airport bus of course, so I eventually worked out which train to get and then had to get a taxi for about the last 10kms or so. I got to the room at about 1am, and had by far the best sleep so far in Japan. Pity I had a plane to catch.

So there was another long train ride, then I was worn out and in Kiryu looking in confusion at the train station ticket machines. I knew I had to pay 500 yen for a ticket but I put my money in and the 500 option didn’t appear. I was getting a little confused thinking I was somehow in the wrong place (even though I have done this before, I was tired today though) when I suddenly realized I could read some of the sign in Hiragana. It definitely said  わたらせ (Watarase - my train line) so I went back and looked more closely, found the right buttons and sorted it out. I really impressed myself here, because I didn’t just match shapes to a written sample, I read the characters individually without any reference. It may not be a big deal but after 2 weeks here I thought I did ok.

So tomorrow is work again, Tuesday afternoon there’s a meeting for the local JETs in Kiryu city and then Wednesday through Friday there’s a prefectural orientation in Maebashi, the capital of Gunma. We get put up in a hotel for 2 nights again, but probably sharing rooms I guess ☹ Looks like earplugs for sleeping again.




Hi Pete

Well I am enjoying your journal entries. I'm glad you found Nemo both in the flesh and on the screen - and Dory - well Pete, how can I say this - Dory is a ......... well...a....dory - D'OH! Yes there is a fish called john dory, quite nice too and available readily at the Vic market. Your photos are very clear considering they're supposedly from a crappy phone. Look forward to the next instalment. Sayonara Peter-San

  Jo Quinn Aug 14, 2008 1:24 PM


Thanks for the comments Jo, it's really nice to hear from you, and Kevin, and anyone else that feels like saying hi, it helps when it's not just a one way communication stream.

  peter_allen Aug 14, 2008 5:33 PM

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