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The other side! Anywhere is walking distance, if you've got the time!

Heading south

JAPAN | Monday, 17 November 2008 | Views [593]


Whilst waiting to board the 'ferrari' of trains! Honestly I never thought I would say a train was sexy!! Such a silent, streamline train, that literally sighs as it starts and stops, in between its 170mph stints!!! A line of pink and blue clothed ladies and gents with white gloves waited in perfect formation along the platform and when the sleek white 16 carriage bullet train glided into Tokyo station and passengers disembarked they all climbed on the train and cleaned all the carriages with great precision, 10 min later we were on-board bound for Okayama! Once you have travelled by shinkansen there is no other form of transportation to match! The sheer comfort, efficiency, space, speed and punctuality. From Tokyo to Okayama we had the clearest weather we have had all stay here, the scenery, so diverse!

Things that strike you in the cities and towns are they have a web of electricity cables above them, most of the buildings are made from some sort of material,plastic in appearance , not the most astheticaly pleasing!Yesterday we watched a small, old lady go into , probably only a 2 metre wide corrugated iron slice of building, which was her home! Every available space has a building squeezed in and very little property's have a garden, some are lucky enough to have a square with bonsai, azelias in pots and of course the odd beautiful cloud tree. You see why the Japanese have evolved into such a tiny, vertically challenged race, there's not enough space!!! Or too many people!! From Tokyo to Okayama there is literally hardly any land without buildings! Japan is a very mountainous island and therefore most of the buildings are all packed together on any available flat land!

Mike is like a giant over here, each time we get into a lift, I feel like bursting into hysterical laughter, its like being surrounded by a mob of umper lumpers for him!! But slightly daintier, oh and not Orange! Well at least I cant loose him in a crowd!! We sat for breakfast the other morning and they give you a breakfast bowl (which the Japanese use to eat their cereal out of with their chop sticks!! Yes coco pops and all, no joke!!) and plastic cutlery, Mike looked like he was playing with a little girls tea set!

The giants of Japan are of course the wobbly but incredible agile Sumo wrestlers!! Its and extremely addictive 'sport' to watch, (promise you nothing to do with the 20 stone plus nappy clad men with their long hair knotted on the top of their heads!?!!!) Sumos are actually huge (literally) celebrity's over here! Their balance is incredible and from what we can gather the rules are push the other nappy clad man out of the circle first and you win! Rather like watching 2 toddlers fighting in a sandpit but on a giant scale!!

Okayama is a large city but again very pleasant. We visited one of Japan's 3 famous gardens, which had many beautiful ponds filled with carp and lots of cloud trees scattered about! From Okayama we visited a local island by train, Takamatsu, where we toured another breathtaking garden, where we were lucky enough to witness a bride and groom having their wedding photographs taken!

We travelled to Hiroshima today. Very warm, compared to the north. We visited Miyajima Island by ferry, an island full of deer roaming amongst all the tourists attempting to steel anything vaguely

edible out of your hand, cigarettes and all! We walked for one and a half hours up steps to the top of Mt Misen, the highest point on the island, the view were spectacular and well worth the aching bones the next day! On reflection we should have taken the cable car!!!

Another note on the Japanese! They use bikes in most of their cities but they don't have cycle paths, well they do, and they are called pavements! Gee wizz!! You need only sway slightly and you feel a handle bar brush by!! They are Kamikaze!!

We visited Hiroshima s 'Peace Park' today, this was the hypocenter when the Americans dropped the atomic bomb in 1945 during the 'Pacific War'. It was a very poignant day. The reality of the damage nuclear weapons can do really comes home to you!

When the bomb was dropped that day, the 2nd largest of Japan's growing cities, with a population of 350,000 people was within a matter of seconds, literally flattened. The intense rays and radiation combined with the sheer force of the bomb was horrific! Its estimated that 140,000 plus, people were killed. The ground temperature reaching 3000 – 4000 degrees Celsius and the temperature at bursting point exceeded one million degrees Celsius!!! The fireball generated into the air and expanded to a diameter of 280m in one second! People within 1km radius of the hypo centre absorbed a lethal dose of radiation, most died with a few days! Those who entered what was the city to help injured were also exposed to radiation and many also died, some did survive but suffer/ed from various ailments such as leukaemia and cancer etc.

The park here is a huge step forward and mike and I were truly touched and shocked that so many of the worlds leaders still own/develop nuclear weapons, if one were to be used again , it would devastate millions of lives!

Hiroshima is a beautiful, strong place that really makes you want to fight and make your voice heard for what the people want, not what the leaders want, at the end of the day it is the civilians that suffer!

Rock on freedom of speech!

Tomorrow we trundle off to kyoto where we are hopefully going to find the perfectly porcelain allusive geisha to photograph!

Sayonaru! Goodbye!

Ai sashite hewa! Love and peace!!

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