Published: November 18th 2008November 18th 2008
The Power of Life Over Destruction
This painted school wall made us smile after visiting the A-bomb site in Nagasaki.
"Not everything you do is going to be fun" were the words of a Dutch lady in the hostel before we headed to Nagasaki Peace Park and we knew that, we just hadn't put it into words, it's hard knowing you are going somewhere that will upset you.
Visiting Nagasaki and Hiroshima has been extremely moving and thought provoking; the foremost thought being how was this ever allowed to happen and a hope for the future that no-one will ever have to see such an atrocity ever again. Tens of thousands of voices fell silent in one second of the A-bomb exploding, within three seconds tens of thousands more cried out no longer; the same four seconds happened in Nagasaki three days later.
Both museum's give a balanced view of events without portraying a victim or aggressor. Feeling numb at the images of the bomb dropping, then sorrow at the personal accounts and belongings, followed by anger at a letter stating "no warning should be given before dropping" and "should be dropped in a built up area". It was thought the target area would be devoid of vegetation for 75 years, how can you drop a bomb knowing this???
500 meters above the monument is where the A-bomb exploded in Nagasaki
They were wrong, within four months flowers blossomed giving people a new hope. The Peace Parks with their monuments and remains that survived the bombings are not reminders of war but provide symbols of hope for future peace. The cities and the people living in them are the greatest testimony to the power of life over destruction.
A huge exhale of breath, a sigh of relief if you like as you leave the past and let todays Nagasaki wash over you. Not every step you take will be fun and some challenges are harder than others but Nagasaki and Hiroshima has shown that with tragic events, there's always a strength to pick yourself up and carry on.
The person who prays for peace must not hide even a needle, for a person who possesses weapons is not qualified to pray for peace. - Takashi Nagai
Writing about our visit to the sights dedicated to the A-Bomb has been incredibly difficult to put across but it was far from being all about sadness.
We arrived in Nagasaki on a semi-bullet train, all the look of a bullet but without the speed, this was the warm up required before the real bullet, you just can't throw yourself on a bullet without the proper training, you could pull a face muscle when you hit the G's.
Pointing figure of Peace
Right hand pointing skyward at the threat of the bomb and the left holding back evil, Nagasaki
But still a fine mode of transportation, no cattle class here, can you believe that every seat has leg room, leg room on a train, whatever next!
Nagasaki was one of the only places in Japan that had contact with foreigners during the late 1800's while the rest of Japan closed its doors to the outside world; the Dutch, English and Portuguese influences gave it a European feel that is still there today. The Nagasakian's are keen to preserve their history which is displayed at Glover Gardens where original properties have been restored and individuals celebrated for the influences they introduced to Japan. Mr Glover's Japanese wife was said to be the influence for the lead character in Puccini's Madam Butterfly which was set in Nagasaki.
Nagasaki has got a homely feel to it, it's like a sausage & mash smell or logs on a fire sound, it comforts you and tucks you in at night; where Hiroshima gets you out of your tucked in bed, buys you a drink or two but still tucks you in at a reasonable time!
The food has been outstanding; from the tiny restaurant down the alley, served by an old
A thousand paper cranes
I shall write peace upon your wings, your heart and you shall fly around the world so that children will no longer have to die this way.
Haiku was attributed to Sadako
lady, who used her food trolley as a zimmer frame to the Pork & Prawn restaurant serving crispy succulent juicy pork, this is not just any pork, this is Japanese pork! And not forgetting the Okonomiyaki which have been mentioned previously but this time they were prepared and cooked in a different way so worth mentioning again.
Boarded our first REAL bullet train from Nagasaki to Hiroshima arriving five minutes before we left, it was like a rollercoaster for the reserved gentleman, we covered just over 280km in one hour 10 minutes, you work the maths out! Hiroshima is a big city with a small city feel, people smile when passing and ever helpful, our Japanese has expanded from three words to four words, we are now practically locals!
Hiroshima provided the launch pad to Miyajima Island a beautiful place where we hiked to the top of Mount Misen for panoramic views of the inland sea and Hiroshima City. The island is renowned for the Itsukushima-jinja a red gateway rising out of the sea. The warning on the map said beware of the wild deer as they are partial to eating paper and cloth; this is not surprising
A-Bomb Dome Hiroshima
what remained of the building after the bomb was left standing as a reminder of the tragic event that happened
given the island guides demonstration of feeding one his business cards to an unsuspecting deer, everyone decided this was a good idea and all started doing the same!! The poor old deer, that is the animal not an old lady, that would just be cruel!
Tucking into a bag of freshly roasted chestnuts, watching the wild deer and being stunned by the beauty of the autumn leaves in the sunshine; before we knew it the sun had gone down and over 600 photos taken, and here they all are..............only joking 599.5! Ahhh nearly got you we've just gone for 560! Aaahhh nearly got you again! We've just had another look and we're back up to 570!
You will have to excuse the shear amount of autumn leaf photo's, every step you take offers yet another incredible photo opportunity. We are so lucky to be in Japan in such a colourful season, viewing autumn trees is like going to mother nature's firework display with all the ooohhhs and aaaaahhhhs followed by the snapping of camera's and then more oooooooooohhhhhhhhhs, snap! You get the picture, we did and here they are. Aaaahhhh!
Visiting Nagasaki and Hiroshima has been a
rollercoaster of emotions; both cities will always be known and remembered for the A-Bomb but for us they will always mean so much more.
Thanks for all the messages, we love hearing from everyone x
There are more photos below