Highlights: Morning Prayers, Burning Ceremony, Monument to the Children, Hiroshima Peace Museum
After a night sleeping on the relatively comfortable thin mattress on the floor it was an early morning wake up to join the monks in their 6.30 am prayers and chanting to welcome the day and acknowledge the evil and the good Buddha in us all.
From here it was onto a small ceremony to burn our prayers and wishes as two monks prayed for them and for us. With a blessing received we moved to the flames and enhailed the smoke and good wishes and then visited the various statutes in the room to make personal prayers for those that we love and care about. The morning was about cleansing the soul.
A vegetation breakfast later and it was back on the public bus to say goodbye to this village. Next come the slow decent on the funicular but this time I got a front row view of the beautiful landscape. A couple of trains later we were back in Osaka were we watched a water display and walked around individually to find lunch. Another short train trip later we were at Shin-Osaka station and boarding bullet train to Hiroshima.
At Hiroshima after a short break at the hotel we headed off by tram to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. We started with the Genbaku Dōmu more commonly know has Atomic Bomb Dome. This structure survived the atomic blast from 6 August 1945, more or less still standing and has been preserved.
Nearby is the Monument to the Children constructured in the late 1950s. Sadako Sasaki was a survivor of the atomic bomb as a two year old but leukemia killed her as a direct result ten years after the bomb was dropped. Sadako created thousand cranes. She wrote, “I will write peace on your wings, and you will fly all over the world.” The Japanese legend was doing so would grant you your wish be that was not to be for Sadako. Her school friends started petitions to raise money for a memorial to all the children who died as a result of the A Bomb. Eventually over 300 schools raised money. I delivered my ‘peace crane’ I had created yesterday. Many civilians died 6 August but many more died later as a result.
WARNING DISTURBING CONTENT
Next was a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Museum. It was a difficult experience. After seeing the remains of cloths, the blacken outlines on paving stones that used to be people I struggled at the 3 year olds bicycle. It was the last photo I took in the museum even though you can take them. I didn’t want someone to accidentally see what I saw and I won’t need photos to remember. They had photos of the most unfortunate people from that day those that lived for a little while longer, a few hours, a few days. Their skin disformed, burnt. The people in agony, hopeless, with nothing. Children, women, men.
The bomb was dropped on 6 August 1945. By December over 140,000 people had died out of a population of a round 300,000. As this was the first atomic bomb many people died who went there to help. Radiation wasn’t very well understood. The sad fact is ‘Little Boy’, the nickname of the bomb, is very weak compared to modern nuclear bombs. World War II show a lot of humankind a great evil and it ended up creating a hell weapon we used against civilians. It gives you great phase. People justify killings by saying they are the bad guys, but can you do such a thing and be pure?
I left the museum with sadness in my heart and I tried to remember that humans are much more than our cruelest moments and we must never forget everything that was done before and during WWII on all sides of the conflict. We must not let things get that bad, and we can’t allow ourselves to get to the stage to think that wiping out a entire population (Hiroshima), or race (Jews) is justified. I wish I had the answers, hopefully people way smarter than me can stop things ever getting that bad.