Riding on my first Shinknazen was a great experience. Everything from entering the station to checking in and finding my train, boarding and eventually traveling was great. It’s the first times that stay with you the most.
The morning felt rushed a little bit though. After writing and posting I realized that my train was at eleven and not noon like the rest of them. I felt the few drinks I had at the bar a little bit and rushed to get to the station. It’s a good thing I wasn’t far from the station. I had a bit of time to wait and I watched as the organic and machine interacted to keep things precisely on time. The waves of the attendant signaling the approaching train. The way people lined up to enter or exit the train.
Soon it was my time to board. With all that was happening around me time just quickly melted away. The train looked very opulent upon first entering the carriage. There are two seats by the window with enough space for a much taller person than me to comfortably relax. The seats are wide and comfortable to sit in. I settled in for the journey that only took a bit more than an hour. I ate the rice balls and orange that were given to me by Takako yesterday. The landscape whizzed by so quickly between the tunnels. I found the lounge room and the toilets and it was time to exit at Hiroshima. Wow! I thought to myself as we arrived. What a wonderful journey.
When I got out of the station through the scores of kids all neatly dressed in their uniforms I realized that I hadn’t really prepared for traveling through the city. I never prepared a map with directions to the hotel or found the bus or metro that would get me there. I was going to do it sometime so I took a cab. Even the cabs are opulent. They have these ornate seat covers and are spotless. I waited my turn to take one of the older looking cabs. My driver looked quite old but was decent and he leisurely drive me to my destination. Every professional driver here seems to be wearing white gloves I’ve noticed. It gives them a bit of panache.
It was a bit dreary when I first arrived but over the course of the afternoon the skies cleared as the sun became prominent. I’m in the middle of the city close to the epicenter of the blast and I could see the famous dome from my hotel room. This is the first hotel that I’ve had on my trip that has a decent view. I decided to go and visit this monument.
There are a lot of tourists here in the city both from Japan and abroad. Fukuoka didn’t have as many but then again it isn’t the same kind of landmark as Hiroshima is. The shell of this building stands as a reminder of the horror that was inflicted here. Two hundred thousand people died almost instantly as the bomb exploded overhead about a hundred and fifty meters south east of it. The blast radius was about two kilometers, just over a mile. The buildings construction saved it from obliteration but it didn’t save those inside.
I walked around the whole building taking snaps and thinking about what happened here all those years ago. It has that stark feeling that I’ve felt when I’ve visited other sites that have witnessed atrocities. This place is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site so it will be preserved in this state for as long as it can be. I sat there for a while watching as tours came by and crows flew overhead using the dome as a perch to see them milling around as well. I decided that I’ll visit the war museum the next day and decided to find a place to eat.
I found a restaurant nearby that had a unique way of ordering food. The menu is a vending machine from which you purchase tickets to give to the waitress. She took a bit of pity at me as I tried in vain to make it work on my own. I had to insert money first or else the buttons don’t work. The meal came quickly and it was pretty good for a fast food restaurant. I keep thinking of ideas to use in the western world this is one.
After the meal it was time to walk around and check out the city a bit more. I got to a place that served as a giant market place with a covered arcade to shield from both sun and rain. I checked out a few stores as I also needed to find a plug converter so that I could charge my battery for the camera. In one of the stores I had five people trying to help me pick out he right one. We eventually came to a decision that worked. Everyone is so nice and gracious despite our language differences. It’s rare to find someone that speaks proper or close to English. No matter though we can still somehow communicate.
I captured a sunset but it didn’t turn out as well as I hoped. I think or I know I messed up the settings and there were no clouds to add that magic sparkle to the show. Off to the side where I was perched I observed as people dealt with a minor fender bender. Eventually there were four cops there taking down statements it seemed to me to be a bit much for something so minor. I couldn’t see any damage after I packed up and walked away.
Tiredness came over me and I thought I’d take a quick nap but that turned into a prolonged sleep through the night. I don’t feel rushed so I’ll take this luxury to catch up and rest. This city has a different feel to it but it still feels serene and peaceful. I’ll do the things I’ve planned to do today before heading off to Kobe tomorrow.