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October 11th, 2000 · No Comments

Hiroshima, Japan

Day 285 traveling the world

Hiroshima suffered a horrible disaster in 1945 from which it has turned into a city with a purpose. We visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum where the horrors of the atom bomb and it’s aftermath are detailed in shocking realty. The Museum takes visitors through a pictorial history of the city and it’s progress through time. The reasons the United States choose to bomb it over other cities and what the city looked like before and after the bomb.

Oragama SwansThe destruction of the city was a significant, but worse was the effects it has had on the survivors and families. One girl, Sadako Sasaki was exposed to the A-bomb when was two years old. Ten yours later she entered the Red Cross Hospital with radiation-related leukemia. Despite the pain from her disease she faithfully folded paper cranes in hopes of a cure. Despite the valiant effort her life ended after an eight month struggle. Today Sadako has a statue in her honor. Thousands of children come each year placing paper cranes alongside in remembrance.

Buidling destroyed by the atomic bombThis site was 186 meters from the epicenter of the explosion, it remains as a reminder to the entire world the horrors of the atomic bomb and a symbol of global peace.

The museum was moving experience for me. It was so graphic and painful, I had to leave before I could finish seeing the whole thing. The message to the world is “never again!”

The Mayor of Hiroshima and it’s people have made it their business to intervene in the prevention of nuclear testing, by writing letters and demonstrating against the use of such weapons. It has become the city’s mission. Who better to promote the cause then one’s who have suffered so much from it.

“Hiroshima loves peace,” read the T-shirts in the gift shop. As the hoards of school children passed through the halls of the exhibits with us mostly Americans Odyssey riders, I couldn’t help but wonder if they hated us. Looking at their faces, I couldn’t detect any concern towards us “gaijin” or the exhibits they were looking at. It was just another day out of the classroom. They were totally nonplussed by the material and what it represented. Has it been that long?

Box lunch from a Japanese Vending MachineAs I have mentioned before the Japanese love vending machines, they are found everywhere in lieu of convenience stores. You can buy almost anything in them. For example, at a bus stop we found a rather inventive box of noodles. It was inventive because the noodles were sold cold and partially cooked. They were packaged inside the box in cellophane along with 3 packages of various spices, depending on which box you purchased.

To prepare your lunch on the road, all that was needed was to remove the ingredients from the box, sprinkle the spices on top then close the box. Hanging from the side of the box was a string, when pulled it would cause a chemical reaction and soon steam would exit the sides of the box. At this point is was important to remember not to hold the box by the sides, because it would burn. The chemicals in the bottom of the box were located under a perforated tray. They are they same chemicals used in those little pouches used by skiers to warm their hands. After 8 – 10 minutes the noodles would be cooked enough to eat!

Since the directions were totally in Japanese I didn’t wait long enough before opening my box. The noodles didn’t cook as much as they should have, resulting in a poor lunch. The experience of “cooking” this way was worth the price.

Our campground was on an island called Miyajima, to get there we got off the buses and took a ferry across. On the other side I was delighted to find a lovely tourist town with beaches and tame deer that walk the streets looking for handouts. It was a picturesque place.

Al pulling a rickshawAl the Alien, aka Shogun Warrior was eager to help the riders with their luggage. Since he has not been working on his “upper body” strength, he had some difficulty moving the carriage. Of course the riders loaded the carriage with 2 tons of baggage, making moving harder than ever.
Al being the happy go lucky guy he is didn’t mind, he takes everything in stride, smiling all the time.

The deer liked my breakfast sandwich.

Kristal Kraft feeding the deer in Japan

Our campground in the early morning light.Campground at Miyajima

Al the A lien enjoying a view of Hiroshima from Miyajima.Al the Alien enjoying the view of Hiroshima

Jim Higbee rode across Japan on a bike not a bus!When Jim Higbee learned we were not going to have our bicycles on our bicycle tour of Japan, he went out and purchased this clunker for approximately $66. He rode the route and met us at the campground the morning before leaving for the airport cities. He has a goal of riding 20,000 miles this year, no matter what. He was cheered and congratulated by the group for his efforts. It was a very long, hard ride. That bike is a wobbly mess, I rode it for a few feet and couldn’t believe he rode all the distance he did from Kyoto to Hiroshima. Go Jim! Achieve that goal!

Tags: Japan