Monday, January 4, 2010

Nagasaki 12/26 and 12/27

I stayed in Nagasaki for about a day and a half and just took it easy and hit up the most popular spots that I wanted to see. I started out with the museum that was all about the atomic bombing, the events leading up to it, Japan's relations with other countries, and the aftermath as well as current information about nuclear testing. I thought that the Hiroshima museum was much more detailed and interesting and definitely had more exhibits, but maybe I just found Hiroshima more interesting because I was there first and there was a lot of repeat information and exhibits.

So when you first enter is a clock, frozen (or burned?) on the time that the bombing happened -- 11:02 am. The time is a little hard to see with the reflection and shadows, but if you look close, that's what it says. They had a watch similar to this at the Hiroshima museum. It really does make a thoughtful entrance to the museum though.

I wandered through the museum for awhile checking out the exhibits that weren't such a repeat from the Hiroshima museum and then headed to the Peace Park.

This is ground zero, a small space that is preserved behind glass in the park. The rest of the rubble has been built over and looks like nothing happened really, but it was interesting to see this spot.

The park has a monolith, some prison foundation that was left, the remains of the Urakumi Cathedral, and lots of statues given to Nagasaki to promote peace in the world. One was giving (someone ironically) by St. Paul. I didn't know before going, but St. Paul and Nagasaki share Japan's oldest sister city affiliation, a great tidbit to know! Glad I happened upon it. Anyway it's seven humans who represent the seven continents and our interdependency on each other. Thought it was interesting. There were lots of cool statues in the park, but I'm not gonna post them all on here. You can see the rest on flickr if you want!

So you know how I'm always posting pictures of the big torii gates on here? Well this one is just one half because the other half was blown away by the bombing. It's about 900 meters, over a half a mile away from where the bomb was dropped. Insane how powerful that kind of bomb is. I can't really say much because I don't know enough of the history, but looking at the damage firsthand (and of course a little second hand and obviously biased because, well, it's a museum from Japan's point of view), I can't believe how horrific the results are of using an atomic bomb. But I'm also realistic, and I know that we'll probably never be rid of all the ones that are already in the world and that a lot of crazy people will probably find ways to make them (and are already right now). But, I signed a petition anyway to get Obama to come to Nagasaki :) It was at the entrance of the museum and they want him to visit there because he's expressed his interest in lowering the stockpiles of atomic bombs (Russia and America have the most by far). I said, I'm not so much in the know when it comes to history and WWII, but the museums were really interesting and I feel like I know a little more now that I've been to both of them!

Anyway, back to my day. I wanted around the city and park a bit more, and then headed to the Nagasaki port. There are mountains in the background and it was a perfect evening to watch the sunset. I stopped at a small cafe near the water and got some pasta and wine. It was fabulous -- some real pasta, which doesn't happen so often in Japan! It was nice watching the sun go down and the stars come out over a great meal! Excellent!!

I was rejuvenated after the food and made my way down to the river, which had a line of bridges along it, some of them very old. This is one of the more popular ones - a "spectacles" bridge because it looks like a pair of glasses with the reflection in the water. There are quite a few of them in Japan and I'm sure all over the world, but it was a nice walk at night. I actually randomly saw a friend from Shizuoka that I know when I was getting on the tram to come here, so we met up later and went to get and a drink and catch up. It's nice when traveling alone to see a familiar face and have a good chat.

So my time in Nagasaki was complete. I was able to get well rested in a hotel with a big bed!! The beds in my apartment are both singles and I usually stay in hostels which are more like dorm rooms with a bunch of bunk beds, so the real bed was a nice luxury for two nights. I could actually roll over (twice if I wanted!). Next stop: Beppu, the land of hot springs!

See the rest of the pictures from my trip at


Ahles Family said...

Omg, I was totally going to pick this background. I actually had it set as this until I found the other one. That is too funny :)

Ahles Family said...

That's very cook that you've been to both of those museums. Now that you've been to both of those museums, you should see the Pearl Harbor one, since obviously we never would have attacked Japan had they never attacked us. Pearl Harbor was unprovoked... the museum has raw footage of it, too. It's totally amazing- in a horrific way. Do they have museums for the fire raids throughout the country? Those would be cool to see because although we all hear so much about the A-bombs, in fact the fire raids, like that on Tokyo in March of '45 (est. 100,000 dead) took more lives when combined than the A-bombs took combined. Just a random history, if you didn't know :)

ash said...

I think that was actually one of the stories I read when I used to be in Speech and did extemporaneous reading...there's something you didn't know about me :) I remember one of the stories being about that. But I don't know much about it...I should look into it and see if there is a museum. Best way to learn since I'm here...