Day 20 – The boy with the bow and arrow

Today I went to Hiroshima and then (based on a comment from Megan) I also had a look at a town called Kurashiki. The morning starts with breakfast at Rick and Ian’s hotel…it is Western style breakfast and although they were in my Japanese weekend classes… this is the most English I have spoken in weeks,  we catch the same train as far as Hiroshima…and they continue on to Nagasaki …so another hour and a half of English practice for me, though Ian does almost all the talking 😉

Hiroshima

When you get off the train Hiroshima looks like any other modern city, until you catch a 20 minute tram the small peace park where the monuments and museum can be found..it is a very quite park, despite the thousands of school children who got off my train…they must have gone somewhere else first

It is a very warm day with bright blue skies and I learn that so was the day the bomb fell.. this is the genbaku dome, which was not destroyed because it was directly under the point were the bomb exploded

Most of the monuments lie in a straight line with the dome and are across this river

This is the children’s monument

dedicated to Sadako who died of radiation induced leukemia

but became famous for trying to fold 1000 origami cranes before she died…these garlands of origami are everywhere in Hiroshima

The eternal flame

and the memorial cenotaph…all lined up with the dome.

The museum is very informative but also contains many gruesome remains, photos, audio testimonies etc.  I will spare you the horror images and just show this interseting reconstruction

just before the blastand just after, only about 5 buildings are left standing, the dome is near the top left on the river bankThe location of the explosion above the city.

Okay, that’s probably enough of that for the blog…

Oysters, Okonomiyaki and Karakuri Ningyo

Hiroshima is also famous for its oysters and its okonomiyaki,  so I go searching for a restaurant that combines both…there is one right next to the A-bomb dome, but it is full and expensive…surely I can do better…instead I find(hmmm,  no thank you) anda french bakery…I’ve now walked through most of the food arcade and yet to find this elusive okonomiyaki…but then in a dusty toy shop I find a miracle!!!

The following video link will explain everything

I have been looking for this kit since 2005…

Happy with this awesome discovery and halfway back to the station anyway,  I decide the catch the train somewhere else for the rest of the day..then I find a place that does oyster-okonomiyaki in the train station…here a woman and someone who must have been her great-great-grandmother together cook my meal each cooking one half of the pancake and then putting them on top of each other…had a very long chat with them over lunch…

Kurashiki (known as the Venice of Japan)

This place was very difficult to get to,  with lots of difficult connections and timings (from Horoshima take Hikari to Fukuyama, then switch to Kodama to get to Shin-Kurashiki, then wait ages to get on local train to Kurashiki) …despite the comment from my friend that it is just teh next one along from Okuyama….but it was worth the effort.

Well,…I got lost in the back streets of Kurashiki (I was doing fine until I saw a large group of japanese tourists with a japanaese guide and thought it would be a good idea to folow them) looking for this famous canal…but these two Jomon period residents helped me out

Then I was able to enjoy the canal, in the last hour or so of light…

They make you were a funny hat if you go in the gondola…I wonder if the giant swans are native or imported from Venice

and this guy just loves showing off for the cameras

The traditional black roofs of the Edo era…

I ask this lady if she is washing the street, but she explains that it is a ritual to attract and welcome customers …(doesn’t work on me…I just take a photo)… but if it were really Venice they would throw coffee grinds into the streets to attract customers…yes I found some more weird coffee bagsThe local kids riding home from school, unfortunately for me the other 997 kids caught the same train as me…all the way back to Okayama

What is this strange yellow lemon-like fruit growing on bamboo?

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