Monday, March 5, 2012

Trains, Buses, Streetcars, Subways, & Boats: Fun Times in Hiroshima

So I've had a craaaaaazy weekend, so I will split it into two blog posts for ease's sake. I took a day trip to Hiroshima Saturday, which is a bit far for a day trip, but the next day I had to go see a Noh performance for school in the morning (next entry) so I had no choice in the adventures that follow.

Preface the entire adventure with the following:

1) I fell off my bike again (the first time was no big deal, it was raining and I had a hand on my hood and lost control on a hill; just a couple bruises) last week, and not only did I rip my jeans (my BLACK JEANS that I searched forever for -.-) but I have a nasty wound on the bendy part on my knee too. So walking/biking/moving is fun. Frequent bandage changes are important.

2) When I woke up at 6 in the morning to get to the station for the trip, I never changed my socks, so I wore my fuzzy pajama socks all around Hiroshima.

Obviously all of this spells fun. As I mentioned, we met the teacher at the station (there's a class who specifically goes on this trip, but everyone else is welcome to come along) so we could travel together to the Shinkansen. The Shinkansen is the bullet train that can go over 300mph. It really didn't look like it was going that fast, but we also kept stopping at other stations. I took video anyway, which you can see here. After the hour and a half ride (sounds long? Hiroshima is 6 hours away; that's how fast we were moving), we arrived in Hiroshima. We had to meet in the Peace Museum at a certain time to hear the speaker that was the point of the class & us going there, so Elizabeth and I decided to explore the Peace Park and the museum beforehand so we would have time to do everything we wanted before we had to leave that evening. Here's one picture of the Atom Bomb Dome:

Obviously there are more pictures here. They are not happy pictures, especially the ones from the Museum. It was pretty...intense; I was surprised at some of the things on display. One of the things that I thought was...different, was that in one of the rooms they had a display typical of museums with fake people, except said people were in burning rubble and ash with their skin melting off. I did not take a picture.

There were many powerful stories attached to each of the items on display. Another one I couldn't bring myself to take a picture of was a deformed tricycle and little hat. A little boy would ride his tricycle every day; he died on it. His father couldn't bear to part the two of them, so he buried the trike with whatever they could find of his son in the backyard until it was donated to the museum.

So I'm looking online trying to make sure I label my pictures correctly, and look what I find:

Yeah. It was a powerful experience, to say the least.

We just finished the museum before we went to meet the teacher to hear the speaker, who survived the bombing of Hiroshima. The teacher was a horrible translator, but with my own knowledge and his failed attempts I got the gist. She was a teenager working in a factory, and she saw light out the window and knew a bomb was coming. Her and a friend were pinned underneath some rubble when the building caught fire, and her friend was able to move so they could get out and run. Her father died a year later from complications, and her mother was in the hospital all the time. She worked the next ten years to support her siblings. She said  she was angry at Americans for a while, but then she realized it was war she really hated.

(That's another thing that bothered me, when he was translated he would not give us all the details. The info about the first ten years after the war I translated myself; the teacher only said "she said it was hell." He does this every semester too; you would think he would have at least practiced in advance.)

So with only a limited amount of time, we wanted to go to Miyajima and see Itsukushima Shrine, which is famous for this:

Gate in the water. :) Unfortunately, it was low tide so the rest of the Shrine did not have water, but it was still awesome. Many pictures were taken. Oh yes, on the way there, we ran into the teacher on the streetcar station stand, and he was like 'you're going to Miyajima? Don't take the train, take the streetcar! It takes 25 minutes!' TRY AN HOUR. ::sigh:: I suppose it probably still would have taken an hour to go back to the station and get a train, but still.

Either way, it was very pretty. Itsukushima Shrine also has the oldest Noh stage in the world, which I also have pictures of. What I don't have is something called goshuinchou, which I found out on the night bus on the way home is if you bring a special notebook to the shrine, they'll made a pretty stamp and drawing (sumi-e) of the name on it. I need to try this, and wish I knew BEFORE we went to Miyajima. Gr. Oh well, I live next to Kyoto and the cherry blossoms are coming ;)

We also ate delicious momiji, which is a specialty in the Hiroshima area. They are little maple leaf shaped cookie-cakes filled with various substances. I bought some custard filled ones! Unfortunately, good candy and food here expires quickly, so I cannot bring any home. I will think of you fondly when I eat them :)

For dinner back in Hiroshima, we had okonomiyaki, which is also famous in Hiroshima because it is cooked differently. Normally okonomiyaki is a bit of a cabbage-batter-meat pancake, but in Hiroshima each layer is made separately and deliciously. With noodles. However, I like the normal way the best, because when it is cooked separately then I have to eat straight-up cabbage. Not as delicious.

And what's a trip to a different city without a trip to Mister Donut!? Yum:)

After some confusion as to where the stop was, we then got ready to take the night bus home, which went from 11pm to 5am. It stopped for like an hour, which my housemate says was around bathrooms and food and stuff, but everyone was asleep. It was very nice, there were three seats in a row, each had a foot or so between each one. There was a lot of feet room, and they gave you a blanket. Even I fell asleep a little.

Which was good, because by the time I took the assorted subways and trains and got home, it was 7, and I needed to be up at 10 for the Noh theatre.....

I'll write that one next. Tune in next time! ;)


PS. The title is as thus because in Hiroshima I used the following transportation: Shinkansen, subway, streetcar, streetcar, ferry, ferry, streetcar, streetcar, streetcar, night bus, subway, train. Fun right? Who needs a car!


  1. I'll pretty much just say wow and two additional inconsequential things:

    1. You and I now have matching knee scars from falling off a bike (though mine was not for lack of skill riding.. just sayin')
    2. You rode a night bus?! Did you see Stan Shunpike?

    1. It was dark! We went down the curbrampthing to pass on the street, and I couldn't see the uprampthing, so I basically ran the bike into a curb. -.-

      And Alas, he was not there. Nor were beds lol. But there was a downstairs with a potty! lol

  2. Two daughters with knee scars! Who can be luckier! Are you sure you didn't need stitches? Sounds like your trip was a powerful one. Love ya!

  3. Stop riding your bike after you've been drinking. This will cut down on the falling and knee scars.
    Do not stop riding the bike! If you do, with what you've been eating, you'll have to buy two new wardrobes before you come back. Don't they have any vegetable or fruit stands there?
    Very interesting bloggery. I especially enjoy the technical terms like curbrampthing and uprampthing.
    Sounds like you're seeing a lot and having a good time. Keep writing. We'll keep reading.