Thanks to my Japan Rail Pass, I got to see more of the country than ever before during my last visit. Even better, my awesome girlfriend accommodated my wish to see the Atomic Bomb Dome at Hiroshima.
This unabashed tech geek has had the good fortune of visiting Tokyo five times now, but it took that rail pass and a willing travel partner to venture southwest and see the west’s most infamous interaction with the east.
Just like I thought it would, my heart sank when we arrived at the site, a short tram ride away from the Hiroshima train station. Gazing upon this somber grey monument to one of the 20th century’s more horrific events was… I don’t know if “moving” is the right word. “Troubling” would be a massive understatement, but better.
It wasn’t helped by the fact that there was an old Japanese man there taking questions who called himself an “in utero survivor” of the blast. I wasn’t sure if he was taking donations or not; nonetheless, it reminded me of the souvenirs being sold at the 9/11 site in Manhattan way back when.
Back to the dome, I literally could not take my eyes off of it. After circling around the perimeter we decided to cross the river to ruminate on it from a distance.
This turned out to be the best decision of the day, if not the entire trip. Just down the river the cherry blossoms were in full bloom and, as is the custom in Japan, locals were picnicking on plastic mats, enjoying a pleasant afternoon in the park.
The dome itself was an enigma — I couldn’t come to terms with whether it was an awful reminder of war, a symbol of perseverance or something else altogether. The scene playing out around it, however, was a lot more instructive.
Yes I know, life moves on, stupid… It’s all rather obvious, isn’t it? Still, seeing proof every now and again is kind of awesome.