Before this contract, Japan was the only country I’d visited in Asia. About a year and a half ago I went to Tokyo and Kyoto and loved both cities. I found the country to be clean, beautiful, culturally vibrant, and full of nice people and delicious food. I’ve been looking forward to exploring more of Japan.
Last Sunday was my first opportunity. We stopped in Nagasaki, and had an entire day to see the sights. My dance captain took charge for the day, and helped guide a group of 9 clueless Westerners on the bus to reach the Peace Park.
The park pays tribute to the victims of the bombing in Nagasaki, and is intended to make an appeal for lasting world peace. Information about the tragic bombing is scattered through the park. There are also large statues that were donated by other countries. Each statue represents peace. It was beautiful to see the various depictions of the same theme.
The main attraction at the park is The Peace Statue by Seibo Kitamura. It is a man with one finger pointing to the sky, a reminder of the threat of nuclear weapons, and the other hand outstretched to represent world peace. One leg is folded in as though in meditation, while the other is poised for action in defending humanity.
From there, we walked to the Atomic Bomb Museum. It was interesting to learn about the bombing, but was very emotional. There were testimonials from victims that brought tears to my eyes. Paper cranes were strung together all around the museum, giving a refreshing pop of color to the otherwise harsh museum.
Next we walked to ground zero and saw a remnant of the Ukami Cathedral wall. The section was moved to ground zero to make way for the reconstructed church and to remind visitors to pray for the souls of the victims of the bombing.
We ended the outing with an authentic Japanese meal and a bit of shopping. It was nice to lighten the mood a little, and have a break to process what we had seen.
Next week: more Korea!