Saturday, August 2, 2014

Hiroshima - 24 hours

This was my first visit to Hiroshima.  I felt such sadness as the train rolled in...knowing what had happened here.  As hard as I try, I'll never be able to truly understand the devastation that took place here.  It breaks my heart so many times over just to think about it, to know it.  And it just kills me that after we know how absolutely horrifying nuclear weapons are, there are hundreds of them in existence today.

After we arrived to the hotel, we had 30 minutes before dinner.  I immediately dropped off my bags, and went out for a walk.  I saw some mountains in the dark distance, and I wanted to get to them somehow in this little bit of alone time I had... to think, to reflect, to remember.  I was very happy that I could reach the mountains in about 12 minutes.  And once there, I found a temple.

There was a beacon of light glowing from the top of this mountain.  I wanted to go there somehow.
But alas... my free time was up and I had to rush back to the hotel for dinner.

We all hopped in taxis and drove to Hassei for dinner.

The guy behind the counter was serious at what he did... which was make seriously, super delicious Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki over a hot, hot counter.  Cooking, chopping, sauteing, then wiping clean and starting all over again.

This wasn't the 1st time people from Ghibli had come to stop by.  Below you can see Totoro with a Kaonashi mask drawn by Toshio Suzuki.

Special sauce

Then we all left signatures on the ceiling...  Here is the Director Hiromasa Yonesbayashi, drawing Marnie.

The famous (and truly humble) Masashi Ando, drawing Anna.

Anna Takatsugi, replicating a drawing from "When Marnie Was There"

And then me.
Here's the think... I really can't draw so.... I signed my name and drew a little stick figure girl with a heart balloon.  It's sort of my "thing".  But when I did, everyone was like, "What is that?"  It had nothing to do with the movie.  I didn't know what to do!!!  Anyway, that's how I left it.  P.S.  It's REALLY hard to draw on ceilings!!!

Yoshiaki Nishimura, the Producer, wrote the title of the movie and the date.

And there you have it.

The next morning I did something I never do, which is wake up 3 hours before my lobby call.  I was set on getting to the top of that mountain!  In order to get there, I decided to go by way of the Hiroshima Toshogu Shrine and then the Kinko Inari Shrine.  

Leading to the inner shrine at Kinko Inari, there are over 100 torii and 500 stone steps.  I was wearing fake Toms, and I definitely felt this the next day.  I'm sure if I wasn't a cheapo and wore REAL Toms, I wouldn't have been as sore or guilty feeling about not just buying real Toms.

The toriis led deeper into the mountain.

Then they ended, and straight ahead, lay the narrow, soft forest trail.

I followed this to a crest, and then along a ridge inside the woods, and came across these steps.

Hiroshima today.

The beacon at the top of the mountain is the Mt. Futaba Peace Pagoda.

Constructed in 1966 as a stupa for praying for everlasting world peace and for the souls of the atomic bomb victims.

After taking some time here, I head back down the way I came.

Again, after another interview, I had 30 minutes of free time, and we also happened to be right by a Castle.

Hiroshima Castle

The streetcar tracks throughout the city are still intact.  It's interesting to see the old brick running down the middle of the street. 

For lunch we ate spicy noodles.  These really tasted Korean to me!

You were supposed to dip the noodles into the hot sauce... but I found this really difficult because of the spice.

So I did what any foreigner Half-Korean would do, and I mixed my sauce and noodles together.  :)

Of course we visited the Atomic Bomb Dome, but by the time we got there, I barely had time to finish reading the information board.  And this didn't feel right to me.  All in all, I really wish I'd had more time in this city.  I know I will definitely be back.

We left Hiroshima by Ferry.  

Waving goodbye to our hosts on shore!

Snacking on a yummy mochi-like Adzuki cake

This ferry also brought up sad feelings for me, because of the horrible incident that happened in Korea recently.  I reflected and prayed for their souls as well.

(I'm sorry this post is mixed with very serious feelings.)

There is so much that has happened in this world, in our histories, mistakes made but hopefully never forgotten.  I hope we can all see that we're all just people sharing this planet together... no matter our race, religion, age, or agenda.  We all have the same blood in our veins, similar hearts beating, feelings of loneliness, feelings of hope.  We all were once children who just wanted to play.

p. a. 


  1. Hi, enjoyed your post on Hiroshima and very happy to see you made it to the Futaba-no-sato temples and up to the Peace Pagoda despite what looks like a crazy schedule. Were you given a copy of the GetHiroshima Magazine by your hotel?
    All the best

  2. i think you drew a delightful figure. And your free time was very well spent. Such a spectacular view of the city.

  3. thank you for all the wonderful photos (especially of the okonomiyaki!) and the story of your journey. really took me back to my trips to japan years ago. i will have to go back to hiroshima and hike up that mountain someday. reminded me of when i took a similar journey up mt. biwa in kyoto, up and over to sakamoto on the other side and back to kyoto, all by myself with my crude japanese language skills lol. ok sorry last comment for the night… sorry to flood you. it's been a while since i've been on your site and it's always an insightful, mystical journey.


    1. Thank you Robert! Your journey in Kyoto sounds so beautiful! Japan really is a special place, isn't it? I do recommend this hike in Hiroshima if you go back! It's not too difficult, but very rewarding. :)