We start the day with a hearty hotel breakfast buffet - not too shabby.
August 6, 1945, 8:15 am
Our main focus today is visiting the ground-zero site of WWII's atomic bombing of Hiroshima. This blog only intends to cover what we witnessed on this visit without discussion of the event. The human experience of the event is well portrayed by the site's features, and like much of our travels, being there puts a three-dimensional perspective on it that cannot be had any other way - it was memorable. The site's presentation seems entirely appropriate, relatively well balanced, with a focus on this being a World monument and not just Japanese.
Here is the location that was the distinctive aim point for the B-29 Superfortress - a T-shaped bridge in the middle of the city. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial is also seen here, originally the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, and now called the Genbaku Dome, Atomic Bomb Dome or A-Bomb Dome, and is part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The structure is kept in a state of preserved ruin as a reminder of the destructive effects of nuclear warfare.
This cross walk is essentially where ground-zero was intended (an airburst directly above around 2,000 ft up)...
In the next photo, the actual bomb detonated just under 2,000 ft up approximately above the building with light blue panels behind and just to the left of the dome. The hypocenter, or ground zero, of the bomb was Shima Hospital, approximately 800 ft (240 m) away from the intended aiming point at Aioi Bridge.
Monuments to the young killed in the bombing.
The Dome seen up closer - around less than a 1/4 of the original building is left standing.
We saw end-of-year school field trips with lots of children and teenagers touring the site.
When the bomb exploded, the roof was crushed, the interior destroyed, and everything consumable burned except in the basement. 36 people in the building died; 47-year-old Eizo Nomura survived in the basement where he had headed to retrieve some folders just after the morning meeting, and which essentially served him as concrete-boxed air raid shelter - he survived into his 80s.
Now at the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, built to remember and mourn the atomic bomb victims. It is also an expression of Japan's desire for genuine and lasting peace. The museum contains a seminar room, library, temporary exhibition area, and victims' information area. The Hall of Remembrance, contains a 360 degree panorama of the destroyed Hiroshima recreated using 140,000 mosaic tiles — the number of people estimated to have died from the bomb by the end of 1945.
Panoramic photo at the entrance to the museum showing Hiroshima prior to war in the area of ground zero.
The area between the rivers shown above is now part of the Peace Park shown below.
The mosaic tiles in the Hall of Remembrance - the sculpture resembles a clock stopped at 8:15.
The Peace Flame is another monument to the victims, but it has an additional symbolic purpose. The flame has burned continuously since 1964, and will remain lit until all nuclear bombs are eliminated and the World is free from the threat of nuclear annihilation.
Trains of paper cranes, many created by school classes of children.
The front side of the resurrected building described previously.
Finishing the night with dinner and refreshments - okonomiyaki is a Japanese teppanyaki, savory pancake dish consisting of wheat flour batter and other ingredients cooked on a teppan. Common additions include cabbage, meat, and seafood, and toppings include okonomiyaki sauce, aonori, katsuobushi, Japanese mayonnaise, and pickled ginger. “Oishii” is a Japanese adjective which means “delicious” or “good-tasting” - "it was oishii!"
After dinner we happened upon a tiny tavern - seating for 4 outside, or if the weather is a problem, the bar keeper can handle maybe 3 inside, but you'd have to watch out for his elbows as he preps the drinks and snacks.
This might be Japan's tiniest "izakaya" (居酒屋), which are casual drinking establishments, similar to Spanish tapas bars, where customers order a variety of small dishes of food that can be shared at the table. They are one of the most common restaurant types in Japan and a popular spot for friends/coworkers to meet up for a drink or to wind down after work. Tourists find them convenient for drop-in dining without out the restaurant formalities.
We told him we'd just had dinner, but he offered up some fried potatoes to go with our beer and sake. Oishii!
On the way home, we stopped into a convenience store and noticed these whiskeys. That's some good stuff for cheap - from the left about $8.50, $17, $7.70, and $9.10 (about 30-50% less than the USA). We don't know why Jim Beam is only about half the price of Jack Daniels - supply and demand? These are around 700mL, just under the 750mL of our "fifths".