The Japan Travel Experience: Hiroshima

By Donald Ash | Articles

The Japan Travel Experience - Hiroshima

Rise and Shine...

Just after 6:00 AM, and I'm headed to Hiroshima. Today, we're going to go, and look around, just stay for a few days, and I'm going to take you with me. So I'll see you guys on the Shinkansen

And Boom, just like that, four short hours ... Did you see that guy just look at me? Hiroshima Station. All right, my cheap hotel is nearby, so I'm going to head over there and probably take a nap, a quick nap, like a power nap, an hour, 30 minutes, something like that, and head right back out so we can see what we can see.

Japan Travel Experience DAY 1 - Hiroshima

Morning, guys. It's just before 9:00 AM, and what are we going to do today? I think we;'re going to check out the Peace Memorial area, so we'll go check out the Peace Memorial Park, I think the Atomic Bomb Dome, and if the museum's open, I want to go see that too. It's just one of those things you have to see if you're here. And since this is my first time, got to do it, right?

Before we head out today, guys, I just wanted to quickly show you what my hotel room looks like. It's nothing special. I'm staying in a Toyoko Inn. Toyoko is kind of like a no-frills approach to hotels, to accommodations. So relatively small but clean, great Wi-Fi, no complaints there, TV. Okay, they're my bags. Nice new cool Manfrotto Bag, shameless plus it's really cool.

Heres' the bathroom. I like it because it's international and I accumulated points so I got to stay today for free because of the points that I accumulated, so it's very convenient in that regard.

I'm going to go ahead and drop my bags off at the other hotel and then we'll head out, okay? So see you in a few.

Japan Travel Experience - The Atomic Bomb Dome

You know, I considered myself to be a pretty good student in school, but you know one subject that I really hated? History. And that's because Ms. [Wadick 00:02:48] was dry and she didn't make it interesting. Nah, I'm just kidding. Ms. Wadick was a nice lady. Sorry, love you, Ms. Waddick.

Donnie:No, but seriously, I only ever had a handful maybe even only a couple of teachers that made it interesting for me. And outside of those couple of teachers throughout my entire schooling, you either had the teacher that was either dry and or extremely boring. I'm talking about the teacher who probably thinks the most interesting part of their day is the giant brick of shredded wheat that they eat for a snack. Or you get that smug head-wiggling son of a ...

“Actually, there's no ... Hum-hum-hum.” Shut up! But today, I think I had one of the best history lessons I have ever had in my entire life. If you look behind me, this is the Atomic Bomb Dome. For those of you who aren't familiar, Hiroshima is famous for being the place where the first ever atomic bomb fell, back in August 1945. And I did my little Wikipedia research, and it said the blast from the atomic bomb was the equivalent of detonating 15,000 tons of TNT all at once. Even though there are tons of interesting facts, that doesn't necessarily make the history connect for me. That was the problem in school. You open up a textbook, and I just don't hae any connection to it. Even me being right here, right now, in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome, instant connection, so it's already more real to me because you see where it happens, right?

Japan Travel Experience - A Chilling Story

The other thing is, I just came out of Peace Memorial Hall and you want to talk about some fascinating, heart-wrenching stories? Oh, my God, in one story in particular, there was this video talking about some of the survivors or they may have passed away later that year or something but they were talking about survivors going to look for more survivors. There was an elementary school that got hit by the bomb, which is already in itself just devastating. But there's this mom, I don't know if she was writing or she was just telling this story to somebody but they go to look for their child, for their daughter. So they go inside the school and they find this teacher laying over this water cistern, this water tank.

The teacher's dead, and underneath the teacher, I can't remember how many, I want to say it was like eight to ten kids underneath the teacher were also dead. Because this teacher had sacrificed himself by putting all of these kids into this water tank, and then trying to lay over the top of it to shield the kids from the blast. The mom finds her daughter inside of that tank, and the only way she's able to identify her is by the name written on her underwear. I don't care what culture you're form, that kind of story reaches you. 

Seeing some of the names and the faces and connecting it, even the dome behind me just has so much more meaning so whenever I see something in a book or something about the atomic bomb, I'm going to have a lot more interest in it because it's not a firsthand account for me, but I guess ... I always forget. Secondhand account is me hearing it from somebody else, I always forget. But that's powerful. And beyond just history man, maybe that's a lesson for learning period.

I realize that a lot of times learning Japanese, I scan my textbook too much. And I don't necessarily have a way to connect the things that I'm learning. So guys, if you get a chance, definitely man, you'll wanna come here, or if you're one of those people that doesn't have a lot of interest in historical things, maybe try going to one of the places and checking it out. Could be a lot of fun.

Japan Travel Experience - Being At The Atomic Bomb Dome in Person

It'd probably take you several days to unpack everything that you can see and learn at Peace Memorial Hall and the Atomic Bomb Dome. I didn't even think to go to the museum, because it was closed down for renovations. I like how you can see what the Industrial Promotion Hall looked like before it was the Atomic Bomb Dome. I like how you can find information that you wouldn't necessarily see in Wikipedia. 

For example, I know it's a small thing, in Wikipedia it says the bomb dropped on Hiroshima at 9:15 AM, but on this particular exhibit, permanently etched in glass and stone, it says the bomb dropped on Hiroshima at 8:15 AM. And I'm probably gonna go with this one as the more accurate one. In addition to that, the death toll numbers. I've seen one number on Wikipedia, and I saw several numbers inside of the exhibit, but the truth is, nobody knows how many people were killed because, all of the buildings and agencies that record that kind of thing, they were all destroyed during the bombing.

Japan Travel Experience - Peace Memorial Park

All right guys, let's shake off some of the serious talk by going to Peace Memorial Park.

Let's ring the bell of peace. Man this dude just walked by me and said Obama. I couldn't even be mad because it's kind of funny. Ah, god. But anyway, this is Peace Memorial Park, and it's incredible. Nice day too.

Japan Travel Experience - Hiroshima-Style Okonomiyaki

Guys, I'm a little bit hungry so we're gonna have one of Hiroshima's most famous foods. Their savory pancakes called Okonomiyaki. I'm gonna sprinkle in a little Japanese for my Japanese mavericks out there. You know who you are. So the word Okonomi means choice or preference. And the word Yaki means to bake or to grill. So in this case, when you put Okonomi and Yaki together, it's almost like saying, "Grill what you like". 

Choose your noodles, choose the type of meat you want inside, and I just chose one of their, there's stock selections on the menu, one of their recommendations, so let's see how it is. I chose this super delicious yaki sumo noodles. So here's what my Okonomiyaki looks like. On the top and bottom you have your savory pancake, you have your yaki sumo noodles, pork, lots of cabbage, bean sprouts, Tempura Crisps, loads of green onions, and then you top it with a sunny side up egg. Then you garnish with Japanese mayonnaise. And this isn't like Miracle Whip but, it really does compliment the Okonomiyaki very well. And don't forget that you have to have you Okonomiyaki sauce. So let's try it.

Japan Travel Experience - Hiroshima Castle

You know what's really hard to do? To pretend you're not freezing your balls off in the snow when you are. It's cold. But that's Hiroshima Jo behind me. I made it. Just a short walk from the Royal Park Hotel. Well actually, about 20 minutes, but I thought they said it wasn't going to snow tomorrow, they lied. They lied.

But, being a bald black man from Atlanta Georgia, where it's hot, snow isn't my favorite thing but, I can deal with this. Hiroshima Castle was built in the late 1500s, destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945, and then rebuilt in the 1950s. It's like the castle that you can't keep down. Being an 80s kid, and being around for the dawn of video games, you know what Hiroshima Castle looks like at night to me? This old apple IIe game Karateka.

Japan Travel Experience - Royal Park Hotel

Donnie:You wanna um, come inside? Life moves pretty fast.

Ferris Bueller:Life moves pretty fast.

Donnie:If you don't stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Ferris Bueller:If you don't stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Thank you so much for coming with me to explore Hiroshima today. Had a great time at the atomic bomb dome, at the Peace Memorial Park, and the Peace Memorial Hall, and I enjoyed that Okonomiyaki so much. I even enjoyed freezing a little bit at Hiroshima Jo. 

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned, because in the next one, we're gonna go check out Hiroshima's Miyajima Island. And trust me, you are not gonna wanna miss that one. Oh, and for those of you studying Japanese on your own, and you're looking for other self study learners just like yourself, we'd love to have you over at Japanese Mavericks, so I'll leave that in the description box below, as well as a link to TheJapanGuy.com, the blog where you can find lots of other great articles. 

And if you really enjoyed this video guys, please let me know about it by liking it, sharing it, and subscribing. It really does help me out. And I'll end today with a question. Where in Japan should I go to next? Or, is there some burning desire, some Japanese topic that you really wanna see me cover? Let me know about it in the comment section. Look forward to hearing from you guys. Peace.

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About the Author

Donald Ash is an Atlanta, Georgia-born, American expat who has been living in a Japanese time warp for the last eleven years. While in that time warp, he discovered that he absolutely loves writing, blogging, and sharing. Donald is the creator of thejapanguy.com blog. Wanna know more about this guy? Check out his "What's Your Story" page.