Around… Hiroshima

From our time in Japan, here are a few items that are difficult-to-categorize (My first phrase of choice was ‘un-categorizable’ but apparently ‘that’s not a word’. Whatever spell check, whatever.)

First up: A beautiful park outside the Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum:

With the biggest koi fish that we have ever seen:

These pics do not give them justice; I was a afraid of these things. (You may also notice a sneaky extra in that last photo).

Second and on the topic of nature:

I spoke of the only remaining building that was built pre 1945. Well, these are a few trees that also survived the blast.

Finally:

We don’t normally talk about alcohol on the blog but these were really different. It was typical draft beer but they really held back on any kind of foamy head. That is, until they brought the beer to this frozen drink machine and gave our drink a healthy dose of frozen head. That is an actual icecream-like swirl on that beer made with slushy-ish beer! (Ya, I said ‘slushy-ish’, spell check be damned!)

Talk to you later!

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Hiroshima’s Memorial Park

Our main interest in visiting Hiroshima over any other city in Japan, was of course, its history. We were interested by this city’s historical importance and being so close we had to take up the opportunity. It was well worth it.Thousands of paper cranes can be found in the memorial park

The city has done a wonderful job memorializing the event of August 6, 1945 and all the people who were killed or otherwise affected by the first use of an atomic bomb. They have taken an area of town at the epicentre of the blast and created a park with numerous monuments to specific groups as well as museums and fountains. It was beautiful and moving.

Seeing the images of the city in the days after the bomb were very shocking. Even though I am sure that I had seen these images before in history class or when watching TLC with my family, they had a much more moving impact when you were standing in the city where it all occurred.

On top of that, it was impressive to look around and realise that this gorgeous city is brand new, as everything had to be completely rebuilt in the years following 1945. The ONLY building that remains from before the blast is the famous Atomic Dome (as seen above and below) or Genbaku Dome as it was called prior to the drop of the bomb.

We were both impressed by the entire feeling of the park and its museums. The memorial park and its museums never pushed a feeling of victimhood. Rather, it attempted to present a complete picture of what happened in the time leading up to and following the bombing. There was a lasting message about the importance of remembrance of what happened and what should never happen again in the future.

Relatedly, something that was really important to us since living in Korea was the recognition of those Korean folk who were affected by the blast. Impressively, there was explicit recognition of the Korean people that died that day who were in Hiroshima under coercion because of the colonial rule by Japan.

Hiroshima is now recognized as the “City of Peace” and actively pursues the end to all testing and use of nuclear weapons.

Looking for more info? You can click here or here or check out this very thorough Wikipedia page for more info on the park.

Our trip to 広島市 Hiroshima, Japan

We were lucky to have the chance to check out Japan during our very short, but very needed, summer vacation. We decided to go to Hiroshima.

Before we get to the particulars of how wonderful the city was, I wanted to tell you some of our lasting impressions.

Hiroshima’s air is clean and the sky is blue!

Living so close to Seoul and getting pollution from China means Osan can be a bit grey. Sometimes, a lot grey. But in Hiroshima, with the ocean right there and Tokyo and other large cities far away, the air is so nice and clean! We were delighted to see the blue skies after the vividness stopped burning our corneas.

Hiroshima is soooo clean

Now, Canada is really clean too so I think if you headed straight to Japan from there you would not be as impressed as we were. See, Korea, wonderful as it is, is not very clean. While they have quick garbage pickup, they don’t really store their garbage anywhere but instead just have piles of garbage on the sidewalk. They also don’t have garbage cans on the sidewalk or in parks. Japan is the opposite. Very clean roads and parks, trash cans and recycling everywhere. VERY appreciated.

Things are much smaller

This is our hotel room.

It never felt too small just compact and efficient.  The two of us don’t need much space anyways for such a short trip! .Plus, the bed, oh the bed, was so wonderfully soft and welcoming compared to our hard mattress back in Korea.

Japan is expensive

Some of you may have heard this before, but the rumours are true, Japan is pricey! The pic below helps to explain.

Those are tiny travel sized containers of peanut butter for about $6.30. Peanut butter is expensive here too (about $6 for 500 grams) but this was outrageous!

They really do like their bikes!

Young people, business people and seniors, everyone rides bikes. Though now that I think of it, I don’t think I saw and kids riding bikes….

Thats it for now. More on Hiroshima later!

Canada Day!

Well, this comes a little late doesn’t it? Well, let’s just say I am posting this in light of the patriotism one may feel during the Olympics… yeah…

We headed into Seoul on the Saturday before Canada Day to celebrate with some fellow Canadians. We went to the foreigner district called Itaewon. We wanted to celebrate in true Canadian style: with other Canadians and with some Canadian beverages and food!

We went to Rocky Mountain Tavern, a Canadian themed bar.

It really has the feel of a Canadian pub like Hudsons. It was dimly lit, had a bunch of sports and Canada stuff on the walls, had good beer on tap and familiar food on the menu. To Sandy’s delight, they played TSN on every TV. It was funny, but also very necessary, how explicit they were when it came to the ingredients of their Caesars!

Sandy had to investigate.

They had 4 live bands that night. Two were tribute bands: one for Great Big Sea and the other for The Tragically Hip. It was a blast!

Next we went to Gold Bar. A quirky place nearby. I will leave you with a few pics. (I apologize for the quality of all these photos, my camera does not do well without perfect light!)

Happy (very belated) Canada Day Everyone!

When in Osan Update

We have to apologize for the delays in postings the last few months but as of today we have a slightly altered schedule that will allow for more time for the blog. (Seemingly contradicting facts: as of today we are working more hours AND we will be dedicating more time for blogging. It’s a long story!)

For now, enjoy a picture of my birthday cake!

Tay Tayo! Tay Tayo!