A&E on the World Heritage Train East 2009 travel blog

Yours Truly outside Kanazawa's maginificent train station

The Peace Flame and the A-Bomb Building, a very different kind of...

Chains of tiny origami cranes, made for peace by schoolchildren

Tha A-Bomb Building, one of the very few buildings to survive the...

Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle

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Hungry carp

Japan was weakening towards the end of WW2 and there were a number of options on how to finish that part of the war. The USA and UK agreed the best option was to drop atomic bombs on Japanese cities, and ignored the requests of the scientists involved to give a warning first. This option was preferred as the one most likely to reduce future Russian influence and to justify the costs already involved in the nuclear programme. A city was chosen with no warning so the Allied Military could see what happened.

When we were in Krakow, Erica got me to go to Belsen, slightly against my will. Hiroshima wasn`t on my list of places to go either, but E wanted to, so here we are (although it is a good base for the other great places nearby). I had felt like I already knew more than I wanted to about how bad people can be to each other, but I also know from experience that I do always appreciate what more I learn from these singular places where great evil has occurred.

It was - as expected - all very upsetting - I felt upset almost as soon as we got out of the train station and I saw what a nice place Hiroshima is, how cute the local Japanese toddlers are, how normal everyone looks on a nice sunny day. It was a nice day when the bomb was dropped too. It is all a bit inconceivable, even here where it happened.

We went to the Museum, which was very informative, and disturbing. Its all set in a big nice park on an island in the river, basically the epicentre of the original blast. Poignant is a separate children's monument with literally millions of little origami cranes made by schoolchildren. The origami crane thing was all started by this Hiroshima schoolgirl who was two at the time of the blast and got leukemia as a result. She was trying to make 1,000 cranes before she died, but didn't make it, so her friends continued, and schoolkids all over the world have made them ever since and still do. It was all very sad.

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