Today has been a mixture of emotions. Fun, inspiring, moving, heartbreaking, scary, confronting, exciting and intense. A strange mix, I know… But when we left our hotel early this morning, we all knew what was to come; Hiroshima Peace Park. One of the most sacred and important places in Japan. We did one of our infamous mad dashes to catch the bus, and along the way came across a small, cute, old lady, less than half my height. She came up to us, and said “背が高いですよ！” whilst pointing at our heads, which translates to “VERY TALL!” Hahaha! Upon getting on the bus we were pleasantly surprised when one of the bus staff handed all of us flowers to lay at the Hiroshima Peace Park. It just goes to show how beautiful and respectful their culture really is.
Straight after getting off the bus, we came face to face with some of the ruins destroyed by the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima on the 6th of August 1945. It was crazy to see how much damage it caused. We were on our way to the museum when we saw a man standing on a rock shouting things out to crowds of people. Rhiannon, who went on the last Japan tour, informed me that he was a survivor, and that he is one of many that stands there every day, telling his story of survival and hope to the crowds of people that come and visit. Over the past few months, Ms Hyde and the rest of us have been at school on Wednesday lunchtimes folding cranes and creating a ‘Faith sign’ to place at Sadako’s monument in the Peace Park, an d our time finally came for us to do that today. It was a strange feeling knowing that even though the atomic bomb hit 70 years ago, we were still playing a part in the event, and making a difference.
After Sadako’s monument, and a few other monuments, we arrived at Hiroshima Peace Park Memorial Museum. I thought I had prepared myself prior to entering the museum, and people had warned me of what I might expect, but I soon realized that nothing can quite prepare someone for what was in there. Walking through the museum, I was confronted with original items from the bombing, graphic images of people, completely burnt from head to toe, pieces of human anatomy taken from hospitals, and so much more. I couldn’t help but burst into tears as I stared down at a burnt, bloodstained school shirt, once belonging to a girl my age. It did make me think about how fortunate I am to have a great life, and how I need to live out my purpose, because this girl wasn’t able to.
After looking carefully and slowly at each exhibit, I soon realized what the real purpose of the museum was. It wasn’t to scare people, or make them feel uncomfortable. It wasn’t to get revenge on those who bombed Hiroshima. It was to give hope to everyone, and pray that nothing like that ever happens again. There is currently an eternal flame burning in Hiroshima, and it will only be extinguished once all the nuclear weapons in the world are destroyed. I personally believe that our world can change for the better, and that one day we will achieve world peace.
We were all starved by the end of the museum, and my face was stained by tears, so food was sounding like a good option. We headed to the train station, and decided on a tasty Japanese restaurant that served tempura, soba, and udon. It was very delicious!! Miyajima Island was our next scheduled location, and so we were off again.
A bus ride and a ferry ride later we arrived, and the first thing we noticed was a big, beautiful temple. I paired off with Rhiannon, Harrison and Meron, and we had some great adventures together! The very first thing we did was grab some Japanese soft serves (yummmmm), and then we went for a little walk. We walked around the shops for a while and bought some presents, and then we found this secret staircase that led to a giant temple. It was so pretty inside, and I enjoyed taking my shoes off and journaling on the floor. After the temple we went to the beach, and chilled there for a while. Meron and I came up with a secret handshake, and then we taught Rhiannon and Harrison too… It’s pretty great, if I do say so myself.
Another ferry ride back, and we were, yet again, starved. Hiroshima is famous for making delicious okonomiyaki (it is a stack consisting of egg, noodles, cabbage, shallots, bean sprouts, pork and more), and so we caught a bus again to Okonomi mura and enjoyed this delight! It is run by these lovely people, and a very old lady that works there (Mama San) told us that she has worked there for 50 years! Crazy!
After a good feed we decided to really get into the spirit of Japan, and visit Karaoke! I sang my little heart out, and I think I lost my voice. It was a lot of fun though!!! We had our own little private room and jukebox, and we picked a song and went for it! Awesome! I think Katy Perry – Roar was the hit of the night, and the screen told us that during that song, we burnt 6 calories! Hahahaha!
Overall today was a great day. It turned out to be all of the things I thought it would be, and heaps more. I will continue to pray for those in Hiroshima, and I will always remember the things I saw today, and hope for a better future. I am really loving trying new things and tasting new foods. Japan, please can I stay here? Hahaha!