December 18, 2010 § 6 Comments
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December 15, 2010 § 5 Comments
ive been pushing this off for a while. heres a recap of my weekend visa-renewal-trip to hiroshima:
-the moment i landed at hiroshima international i made a dumb mistake. this is what i get for embarking on a trip with half a mind. long story short, i ended up overpaying for an unnecessary cab ride and beat myself up as i watched the meter nerve-wrackingly increase for half an hour (note to future travelers: the hiroshima airport is NOT in hiroshima -.-;;). but when we entered the city i just started getting really happy. the air just changed. i dont know how else to explain it. it was nighttime and the area was just…calm. peaceful. not forcefully so – it was just still. the architecture was touching and i saw this row of fabulous christmas lights. i checked into the hotel and went for a late night walk. as i walked through the streets and watched little asian babies run happily around the lights and couples taking cute pictures, i just got really happy even though i was unbelievably stressed right before the trip. this sense of calm lasted throughout the weekend. yay!
-even the hotel made me really happy – my room was small and quaint, with great attention to detail. soft robes, a steaming sauna on the top floor with amazing shampoo, cute little japanese/american breakfast buffet, and smiling faces all around.
-people there just seem so pleasant and caring. theres a sense of bettering the society for all instead of the self. maybe its because i was in hiroshima, a city with a history of significant trials and tribulation, but it just felt so nice. and. parts of japan are so blatantly strange that i feel normal. but even those that would normally be considered ‘deviant’ in the States or Korea seem to be comfortably so and accepted by the larger society as one of their own. or maybe all this is in my head because i cant understand the language. but i dunno. strangeness is embraced here and i just felt good. inspired. like everything was going to be okay.
-is it ironic that i feel like i belonged in a place where i had no contacts nor spoke the native tongue? it was a surprisingly nice feeling – in the States we’re taught that being different and standing out from the norm is a good thing, and while I agree that everyone wants to feel special, the competition-based US mentality makes it so easy to overlook the joys of a shared cause and being in the company of people with common sympathies. Standing out and being independent is great, but as humans we sometimes want, no, need, to feel less alone.
-visited the hiroshima peace memorial, a park-and-museum complex designed to commemorate the tragic losses during the atomic bombing at the end of WWII. it was weird. ive always have a lot of inner conflict about weapons of mass destruction. on one hand, the resulting tragedy is a horrible testament to how people can inflict unbearable pain and loss onto others. on the other hand, the weapons themselves are so extremely elegant – the science and engineering behind each is astonishing, the detonation itself and the resulting progression of clouds and light are visually stunning, and there is something utterly beautiful about the delicate potential for destruction and power, the fact that your life as you know it is uncontrollable in that you can be gone in a split second contrasted with the fact that you also hold the power to make your life as you will.
after the detonation, the dust and ash remnants fell from the skies as precipitation. survivors refer to this as ‘black rain.’ here you see a wall stained with black rain from the hiroshima bombing. crazy!
and in not so many words:
okonamiyaki, the signature dish of hiroshima. noodles with vegetables, meat, and egg atop a flat pancake drizzled with some special sauce and green onions. a korean at heart, i ordered mine with kimchi :)
-went for a midnight walk during my second night there and came across a row of street performers (click for video). in addition to curious babies, confused animals, and the first snowfall, simple live music is something that makes me pause and smile. musicians, especially street ones, are so happy and passionate (2nd video!) and loving what they are doing exactly at that moment – how can you not feel all warm inside?
-and the city was contrasted with amazing layers of mountains fading into the distance.