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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 7: Trip to Japan (10 April 2010)

Another relatively quiet day actually. We decided to visit Hiroshima, the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture. I am pretty sure everyone knows about Hiroshima. Thus far, I have only read about the city. A few months back, there was an exhibition held at the Museum of Asian Art of Universiti Malaya on the atrocities of the atomic bomb that was dropped on 6th August 1945. That was as close as I got to Hiroshima, that is until today.

Again we boarded the Hikari Superexpress. This time we were heading from Okayama eki to Hiroshima eki. The distance is some 160 km, and the journey on the shinkansen took only 30 minutes. There was only one stop before Hiroshima, and that is Fukuyama.
Once reaching Hiroshima city, we took the Hiroden streetcar (picture above) towards the famous A-Bomb Dome. The remains of the building is now the a UNESCO World Heritage site. The atomic bomb was detonated some 600 metres above the building. Miraculously, the structure of the building and in particular, the building's dome, remain intact in spite of the huge blast of energy from the atomic bomb detonation.
Frankly, I cannot begin to describe my feelings to be standing near the A-Bomb Dome (above). I tried to imagine what transpired that fateful day on 6th August 1945. Try as I might, I don't think I can possibly visualise the horrors of the incident. However, to my mind, what is more important is the lessons learnt from this incident. I can only hope that our generation will at least try to understand history so as not to repeat it all over again.

A short walk away from the A-Bomb Dome is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. These two are actually part and parcel of an area called the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Area. There are many monuments here, erected to preserve the memory of the devastation that took place in Hiroshima.

After spending nearly an hour there, we walked towards Hiroshima Castle which is located about 750 metres north of the A-Bomb Dome. The castle was our last stop before boarding a streetcar back to the eki to return to Okayama where we are stationed. All in all, the seventh day serves as a good reminder of history for me. I am fortunate to be able to step on the grounds of Hiroshima. At the very least, my appreciation towards the significance of the event that took place on 6th August 1945 is greater.

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