About Me

Ikawa-cho Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima-ken, Japan
I was recently accepted by the JET program as an assistant English teacher in Japan for one year.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

here we go

okay blog
here are some more cool pics of my trip to hiroshima from last weekend. a few weeks ago. a while ago.

welcome back to hiroshima. it is a regular city.

well it is regular and normal in almost every aspect except for what happened around 65 years ago a block away from this spot.

here we are in the peace park, one of the main islands of hirioshima that has the whole north section as a big monument garden. this one is to the girl who died folding the paper cranes. people were lined up to ring a bell inside and pray.

yeah those big glass cases are able to withstand the elements, and they hold thousands of tiny paper cranes that school kids from around japan made. heiwa means peace. there are so many, see!?

if you look down this way you see the long elevated museum building and the curved cenotaph, and a fountain.

lots of crazy weird statues.

this is not a sculpture. this is a plant. and it is ALIVE. and i think it was irradiated by the bomb and so now its gigantic and monstrous. not totally clear on this though. but still, i asked and people told me this was a living plant.

side view of the cenotaph. a cenotaph is a monument to the dead whose remains are elsewhere. this is a very non-western design. usually cenotaphs are big rectangular vertical slabs.

here is the inscription. they had it in russian and german and other languages too. this flavor of peace propaganda is everywhere.

awesome picture of some people's remains inside that little box, some flowers, a long reflecting pool at the dome in the background.

this thing was outside the museum to the victims. its own little building.

and here is a little description of what is going on here.
i just got really hungry. lunch is not for an hour and then some.

this was inside that museum. i thought it was interesting that the elevation of the blast was edited. i think it used to say 580. make sure they get that one right. also, devastation.

names and photos of the victims on a digital display. if you know someone who lived in the area and died recently you can go to the library and submit their name, because maybe what they died of was bomb influenced. now this is the only time i was really moved. you think that only japanese people died in these attacks. not so. lots of chinese and koreans were in town, as prisoners or workers, or whathaveyou. but there were also american prisoners of war. and you can look up victims on another digital display, and so i put in my initials L and R and found 2 american air force people who died in the blast who were my age. pretty sad that the only way i could be emotionally moved was by realizing that people like me suffered as well.

chillers, chilling.

here is what really went down. the island to the right i where the peace park is. you can see how the dome used to be a real building.

this i thought was really great. every year the mayor of hiroshima writes a letter to the ambassador of each and every country that has nukes or tests a nuke, with very strong wording like "the people or hiroshima are disgusted" or "we demand you stop this at once" or "this is a total outrage to the people of hiroshima who love peace". copies of all the letters are displayed here. we are in the actual main museum now.

dome piece is on the left, and if you can see it there is a red line and a white card indicating where the hypocenter was.

and here is the before model. notice how the dome was a real building. it was a government industrial promotion building, designed by a czech architect.

ok, so the hiroshima bomb was dropped on the 6th of august, 1945. nagasaki was bombed on the 9th. but the japanese did not surrender until the 14th. what most people dont know and i didn't know until recently was that the bombs did not end the war. the usa firebombed tokyo AFTER both atomic bombings, and this is what forced the japanese to surrender. the museum seriously drops the ball with this one, opting for the narrative that the bombs ended the war without saying what happened in the week after.

the museum was very crowded and i could hardly read anything or look at anything. it was flower festival day and that is why. big replica of the dome inside the museum.

here is the really interesting bit. check out the top part about south africa admitting it had tested nukes but got rid of them, and the bottom part saying israel has nukes and everyone knows it but since israel hasn't joined the nonproliferation treaty, and has a policy of opaqueness on its arsenal, they can't put it in the boxes. when this was question #1 on my international relations 101 test, the answers were different in the midterm than they were for the final, because the year i took it was the year north korea tested its nukes. this is out of date, because north korea is not in the boxes.

here is a nice little globe with nuclear warheads indicating the size of each country's arsenal.

very peculiar and another negative point about this museum was the white paper left on north korea, indicating it had a warhead indicator there previously, but it has since been removed. why?

also i guess america's arsenal used to be much bigger.

another inaccurate map. israel is not shaded in, because nobody can point to exactly when and where their tests took place, and south africa is also not shaded. the vela incident is widely recognized as a joint south-african israeli nuclear test.

flowers getting ready for the flower festival.

crowded cramped section of the museum where there are plastic bricks all around. saw a bunch of japanese people tapping on them listening to see what they were made of.

aaahhh horrible dramatization exhibit of the immediate firestorm. flesh is melting into clothes and skin is peeling off oh noooo


they cannot have enough maps.

the picture you were waiting for. it's a replica of little boy, the uranium bomb that destroyed hiroshima. they were going t call it "thin man" instead, but it was redesigned and got less thin.

this was incredibly rough. they had lots of pictures and accompanying stories written and drawn by survivors of the bomb of just general havoc and desolation during the aftermath.

some charred and melted stuff including buddha statue.

tiny paper cranes actually folded by that girl who folded all those cranes.

long view of the peace park from inside the museum.

like i said, it was very crowded.

big flaming flower mountain.

there was even a parade with dancers.

these people hopped on some jetskis and cruised down the river.

dome and bridge.

this is the actual hypocenter, a block away from the peace park. this is the only thing here, a modest marble slab with an inscription. it is next to a parking garage. notice it still says 580 meters and has not been edited to match the picture from before.
i think this is a good place to end this post. the next place i went was the modern art museum, which is a totally different vibe. probably not going to put it up today. hope you enjoyed this somber, nuclear post.

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