When you think of Japan, its hard not to also think of either the word Tokyo or Hiroshima. Tokyo as one the the most highly advanced, clean spectacular capital cities in the world and Hiroshima, a name which is so indirectly distinguishable with the word atomic-bomb.
I only had several in hours Hiroshima because apart from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, I had read there wasn’t much too see there so I’d booked my accommodation at the next destiatination, Miyajimaguchi, 30min train from Hiroshima. Since I had all my belongings with me I opted to drop my big bag off at one of the station coin lockers. These are extremely useful and for a huge locker cost around £5 for the day.
After following the extremely well posted signs to the locker and dumping my bag, I head for the tram, stationed directly outside the main railway station. It was a 15 minute train ride to the Peace Memorial Museum, and as the tram rode down the city, tall sky scrappers towered above me, not in a powerful or demeaning way, but in a way that let me know that Hiroshima is here to stay. What may sound like pretentious non-sense, I’d like to express my absolute sincerity.
A man stood near the entrance inside the park, below a dome building structure. He was holding a sign printed using basic Microsoft Word Art, with the words:
Free volunteer. Please. Let me explain to you what happened. I speak English.
We caught eye contact, and my heart started to pound, every warning sign in my body was going off telling me not to approach, for travelling rule 101 is never believe anything is free. I wanted so badly to talk to him, but as my mind was contemplating and working its way through the maze of decision trees, I’d passed him and I felt it was too late to turn back.
As I moved round the corner, a towering dilapidated structure came into view. Its presence, once in a persons field of view, took direct attention away from the surrounding beauty of the memorial park.
According to the information board, strong controversy surrounds the kept structure, as some people believe its presence holds a blanket of sadness over the city which its unable to shake, however there are also those that believe the pain of the events that occurred need to be remembered so they are not repeated.
As you enter the main museum building, a large stone structure obstructs the centre path way, not to stop one from entering, but to make sure no one misses the title of exhibition.
As I made my way through the Museum, I felt like I got a good understanding of the events which occurred. It was an eerie feeling moving through, people were silent, looking lost with words as they’re eyes scanned through the boards of information which recounted the horrors which occurred.
I spent a good couple of hours in the Museum and I’d implore anyone who visits Japan to make the visit, especially anyone in a position of power.
As I left the park I realised then, that the man at the beginning wasn’t offering free advice, he was doing what he thought was his duty, he was doing what he thought was his only choice. To educate people, to emotionally connect with people, to explain, in his words the horrors he saw. To make sure, that what happened, never ever happens again.