I had the need to go to Hiroshima to go learn more about what I missed in history class. Everyone else had other plans today, so I figured I would go alone and take the Shinkansen by myself for the first time. I was pretty nervous for the whole experience and spent quite some time debating on even going because I fear going to places by myself. But I managed to work up the courage to go.
Once I arrived in Hiroshima, I made my first stop at the dome. I saw many tourists speaking all sorts of different languages and taking photos while I was there. First, I decided to get quite a few photos of the dome before really beginning to analyze the structure. Once I began analyzing the dome, it started to pain me knowing how this building came to the current state it is in.
Being in such close proximity to what was once such a gorgeous building prior to the bomb broke my heart. I find it hard to believe that as humans, we can hurt one another so much. As I circled around the dome, I spent some time reflecting on thoughts regarding how mankind can be so cruel. I was also trying to mentally process exactly where I was standing at that very moment. It’s such a difficult concept to grasp that I was standing on soil that was hit by a nuclear weapon. Soil that so much suffering occurred on.
After my time at the dome, I made the short walk to the museum and that’s when I began the emotional roller coaster. Upon entering the museum, I was greeted by a wall that once showed how Hiroshima looked like prior to the bomb. But once I made my way around, I was greeted with a wall that appeared nearly identical to the last wall, except replaced with a photo of the tragic aftermath.
The museum afterwards then took me on a journey that involved a lot of reading and moments of silence. I went from panel to panel reading how the Manhattan Project came to be, how an atomic bomb works, and the process that occurs after a bomb is detonated. There was even a panel that described political efforts to remove nuclear weapons. While this was all sad enough to take in, I wasn’t prepared for the part of the museum that showed the actual clothes and items that belonged to victims of this tragedy. I held back many tears and had a constant pit in my throat and chest this whole time I spent in this sector of the museum.
There were occasions even where I had to move quietly away to take a small break from what I was seeing. Going back to where I was looking at objects left behind by the victims, a thought occurred to me. What was it like for those who put these items out on display? Was there absolute silence in the room? Were tears being shed? I’m not sure I would like to find out the answer to that question.
After my journey in the museum and buying a few souvenirs from their shop. I made my way to the people memorial. I browsed the memorial for a bit, and wish I could’ve stayed longer, but it was becoming too much for me to emotionally take in. As I was walking out from this building, the employees for a Hiroshima local radio station ran up to me to interview me on my experience in Hiroshima. I got a bit nervous but I agreed to be interviewed.
I was asked questions as to where I was from, why I chose to visit Hiroshima, and how I felt being an American in Hiroshima. The harder questions were more difficult for me to respond to, because I struggle putting my thoughts and emotions into words; especially on the spot. After my interview, I ended up chatting with the interviewer and he told me how he was from America and how he is an author. He gave me a signed copy of his book that he wrote on Hiroshima. I was very happy to receive this gift and felt very grateful.
At this point, I noticed my time was running short. So I decided to spend an hour shopping for a skirt and grab a quick bite to eat before going back to Kyoto. I got some nice and very affordable clothes while I was in Hiroshima, and I also got some Japanese donuts since I didn’t really see much food around the area I was in. The whole time I spent shopping, I kept reflecting on what I witnessed in Hiroshima. I know it definitely changed my perspective on life and on humanity in multiple ways. I just am trying to really comprehend exactly how.
I’m currently writing this while I’m on the Shinkansen back to Kyoto. I’ll be uploading this once I’m home on wifi!
Till next time!