© 2012 Elys. All rights reserved. Peace Memorial Park

Day 318: Enola Gay, You Should Have Stayed Home Yesterday

Tokyo – Hiroshima, Japan

The trip from Tokyo to Hiroshima took 5 hour on two bullet train rides.

Arriving in Hiroshima, my first destination was the Peace Memorial Museum. The museum is a tribute to that doomed day of August 6, 1945 when the US’ Enola Gay dropped an uranium atomic bomb on the city. Killing 140,000 people, it was the first of the two atomic bombings that eventually led to Japan’s surrender.

Hiroshima was one of the few cities picked by the US due to its size and the fact that it harboured no Allied’s POW. But what sealed Hiroshima’s fate on that day was the clear sky it had, rendering it ideal for targeting.

The ironic truth about the whole genocide is that the main reason of it all was for the US to justify the 2 billions dollars spent on the atomic bomb project. The bombs were originally created to use on Germany. But since it wasn’t utilized, the US finally decided that by using it on Japan, it would place America in the forefront of the arms race with the Soviet Union.

While all seemed wrong, it was these bombings that led Japan to surrender, which in turned triggered the relinquishment of many of her colonies ie. Indonesia, China, Brunei, etc. Japan did not ignore this fact. The Peace Museum thoughtfully included history textbooks from Japan’s former colonies, acknowledging the pain that she too had caused.

Besides breaking down the historical and technical aspect of the day, the museum also featured individual experiences in the form of photographs, drawings, videos, and the most heart-wrenching of all, items and clothing left behind by the victims.

The impact of the atomic bomb was not only lives that were lost during the time, but also lives that were affected by it long after that day. Many of the people exposed to the radiation would finally die of various disorders. The icon of these victims was a girl named Sadako. She was two years old when the incident happened. While she seemingly escaped unharmed, Sadako later on became sick. During her time in the hospital, she started folding paper cranes in hope that her wish to recover would be granted once she finished 1,000 cranes. To this day, children from all over the world send 1,000 paper cranes to the Children Peace Memorial in the park to support Hiroshima’s call for a more peaceful world through the abolition of nuclear arms.

Looking at the things in the museum and walking around Hiroshima, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the animation “Grave of the Fireflies.” Although, supposedly, the animation plot story meant to take place in Kobe, not in Hiroshima.

In the evening, I had a mission to eat Okonomiyaki. Hiroshima is famous for it. Akie had given me tips on where to go but the hostel receptionist suggested her favorite place instead. I went there and I was more than satisfied. It’s a small 5-seater stall. I went in to find only two guys and the cook. One one side was a TV and a cabinet full of comic books. It felt to me as though I had accidentally walked into somebody’s living room. After picking the comic i wanted to read and making myself comfortable, I watched the cook prepared my dish in front of me. My Okonomiyaki dinner was a perfect one as by the end I was the only one in there eating while reading a comic book and having TV playing on the other corner. I could easily had been home.

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