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HappyCheesehead Jun 27th, 2006 05:57 PM

and mine would also say...can't remember names - I meant to say Travelgirl, LOL!

LoveItaly Jun 27th, 2006 06:12 PM

travelgirl, I have said from time to time that trip reports here on Fodor's are often so much better than articles in travel magazines. Your ongoing trip report certainly falls in that catagory.

But no napkin on my lap..oh my..that might be a problem, lol.

I like everyone else is so enjoying mentally travelling with you and your family, thank you for your generosity in taking the time to post while on your trip.

LCBoniti Jun 27th, 2006 08:17 PM

Hey, HappyCheesehead - are you really in Wisc. or just wishing you were? I'm from Appleton but living in SoCal now. Hoping to go back for a visit this fall for the first time in almost 40 years.

Sorry to hijack the thread - just curious! (And just a temporary hijack as I am loving this trip report too much to sidetrack for long!)


kswl Jun 28th, 2006 04:03 AM

Enjoying your report so much, travelgirl2! Your children are very lucky!

When we were in Japan last year, we were repeatedly told what side of trains to get on in order to catch sight of Fuji-san. The mountain is undeniably lovely, but the awe with which it is regarded is what interests me about it. The Japanese have an almost mystical reverence for nature which shows in every aspect of their culture. That is a good thing for US kids to be exposed to, IMO. Our son came back from that trip with a much better understanding of the Kyoto Treaty from contact with Japanese.

LindyE Jun 28th, 2006 08:06 AM

Wow! What a great report. We are enjoying every word. Thanks for sharing!

HappyCheesehead Jun 28th, 2006 08:48 AM

Hiya LCBoniti:

Yeppers - I live here in Wisconsin. I was born and raised in Wausau, and my hubby and I laugh that we "did time" in Illinois before he was transferred back to WI for his job. We live just outside of Madison now, in Sun Prairie. My DH spends lots of time in Appleton.

You've only been gone 40 years?? Hmmmm... when you come back I wonder if you will think WI has changed, LOL!

travelgirl2 Jun 29th, 2006 01:58 AM

Day 8 Ė Day Trip to Hiroshima

We wake to a rainy, gloomy day. In checking the weather, we learn that the forecast is for rain for the next several days. So far, it has rained just about every day of our trip. The temperature is comfortable, around 75-80 or so, but it is wet and humid.

We get money at the post office. I am glad to have found out from Fodorís posters that this is the best place to get money in Japan. The ATM is easy to use, with instructions in English.

We catch the train at 11:30 am for the approx. 2 hour ride to Hiroshima. It is very convenient today to be staying in the train station. The round trip fare to Hiroshima for the 4 of us is about 77000 yen. This is about $650. Public transportation in Japan is easy and efficient, but it isnít cheap. We briefly discuss whether we should spend the money for a day trip. Luckily, we decide to go ahead and purchase the tickets. Once on the train, it is nice to be traveling without any luggage, unlike our previous trip from Tokyo.

When we arrive at Hiroshima, we look for the streetcar stop. A man sees us looking at a map and comes over to us. He motions for us to follow him and leads us out of the station and points the way to the streetcar stop. We are appreciative, because we would never have found the stop without some help. At the streetcar office, we ask for a map in English. This helps us to figure out which car to take. You pay 150 yen at the end of the ride, dropping it in the box as you exit. The conductor motions to us to show him our change before dropping it in. He approves and we drop the coins. Each stop is numbered on the map and also on a sign at each stop, so it is easy to know when to get off.

Our first stop is the atomic dome. It is the twisted remains of a building, showing the damage done by the first atomic bomb. It is an iconic image. The people of Hiroshima debated whether to leave it or knock it down, as it served as a painful reminder to many people. They eventually decided that it would remain as a symbol so that no one would forget what happened. Hiroshima became dedicated to the abolition of nuclear weapons. This park is called the Peace Park.

We wander slowly through the outdoor park. There are several statues. There is a childrenís statue, with thousands of folded paper cranes enclosed in glass cases. There is an eternal flame. It is very quiet and a great place for contemplation. And there is so much to contemplate here.

We reach a museum building which is dedicated to the victims, the survivors and their stories. At the end, there are individual kiosks at which to sit and read through stories from various survivors. All 4 of us sit here for about an hour, just reading and reading. It is very moving. Many of the stories are from people who were children or teenagers at the time and tell of where they were, what they saw, how they searched for their missing family members, how they were injured, how they experienced the complete chaos in the aftermath of the bombing, how they survived afterward without their families, etc.

We proceed to the main museum building. The audio tour is very good here. We follow along and read the signs as well. This museum tells the entire story, from the Japanese perspective, of the atomic bombís development, the choice of Hiroshima by the US military, the history of Hiroshima, the effect on the people of Hiroshima of the bomb, the aftereffects of radiation, the peopleís attempts to promote peace, etc. There are some gruesome pictures of people with radiation burns and some sobering exhibits with peopleís charred personal belongings.

The presentation is mostly balanced, at least more than I expected. There is a reference to the mistaken policies of Japanís government at the time. I wonder about the objectivity and accuracy of a reference to the US needing to use the bomb in order to justify the expense of the Manhattan Project to the public.

I feel a little odd here. It is so ironic to be visiting a city which our country bombed, in a museum dedicated to the events. The Japanese people for the most part either smile at us or ignore us, but I still feel a little unsettled. I feel that a few people are staring at us as if to ask why we are here. There are many Americans here today. It is important for our children to be here, to see and feel the effects of war on real people. We spend 4 hours touring the gardens and museums and I am glad for the experience.

Afterwards, we walk down a shopping street. For block after block, the entire street is covered, making it seem like a huge mall. It is loud and bright and bustling. None of us are shoppers really. At a shop selling all sorts of luggage, backpacks, etc., we buy a very nice canvas bag large enough to hold our foldup umbrellas and a guidebook. We stop and have okonomiyaki, a Hiroshima specialty which is compared to pizza. It is basically two flat crepes, cooked with an egg and stuffed with fillings. We have cabbage, noodles and bacon. Everyone likes theirs, but I donít care for it at all. But the restaurant is welcoming and it is fun watching the cooks at the counter. And the sake is good.

DS1 has a pedometer which his friend gave it to him as a going-away present. It shows that we have walked 10 miles today.

We drag ourselves back to the train station and unsuccessfully try to exchange our tickets for an earlier train. There is a great shop at the Hiroshima train station, called Jupiter, which sells all sorts of imported foods. We buy a Snickers bar and some Lindt chocolates. Pepperidge Farm milanos and Walkerís shortbread cookies. Then, we catch the 9:05 pm train and get back to our hotel at 11:00 pm. Itís been a long and emotionally draining day.

travelgirl2 Jun 29th, 2006 02:14 AM

Hello, Wisconsin-ites, past present and future, and all others:

OK, OK. My calligraphy also said I was kind. (I think maybe that is what they say when they would really like to laugh at your work and say you are just a sloppy, hopeless mess.)

But DH really is kind. And, I'm not just saying that because DMIL (dear mother-in-law) and DFIL (dear father-in-law) are reading along... Hi DMIL and DFIL.

I'd like to say hi to DM (dear mother). Now, she is reading along too.

We will be meeting everyone in Italy later this summer, so you will hear more about everyone then, if you are still following along. We're just one big happy family :)

marina_v Jun 29th, 2006 03:21 AM

I'm making a trip too with two friends but in Spain, in Valencia, it's a very beautiful city where you can find a lot of activities to do! try it if you can!

marina_v Jun 29th, 2006 03:21 AM

janisj Jun 29th, 2006 05:31 AM

marina_v: You just register and post to several threads unrelated to Spain in any way - simply to advertise your tacky website.

Advertising isn't allowed on here . . . . .

travelgirls2: Loving this. You started in Europe and are going to end up in Europe again. But w/ so much of this being in Asia - are you also posting to the Asia board? It would really by of interest over there too . . . . .

travelgirl2 Jun 29th, 2006 06:32 AM

Thanks janisj. Yes, I posted a notice over on the Asia board letting them know this would be on the Europe board.

dorkforcemom Jun 29th, 2006 06:54 AM

Fascinating, entertaining trip report - I'm in awe of the planning you must have undertaken. I have trouble planning a trip from point A to point B and back!

Meredith Jun 29th, 2006 07:43 AM

Hi, Travelgirl2,

I haven't had a chance to actually read your report yet, but after briefly skimming over it, I know I want to absorb every single word. So, I am bookmarking this for later...

Happy and safe travels!


MissZiegfeld Jun 29th, 2006 07:58 AM

bookmarking,i want to read this!

nevermind Jun 29th, 2006 08:25 AM

Travelgirl, keep the reports coming!! What an adventure you are on!!!

LCBoniti Jun 29th, 2006 08:55 AM

Travelgirl -

What a fantastic, fascinating report about Hiroshima! That must have been incredibly moving and a priceless experience for your children.

I'm amazed that the public transportation as you describe it is so easy! Coordinating numbers . . . so much easier than looking out the window for "Pisa Centrale" or whatever!

Thanks again and I'm looking forward to "meeting" the rest of your family as your travels continue.

Best regards,

SeaUrchin Jun 29th, 2006 09:09 AM

Yes, stil enjoying the report very much. I keep checking for a new installment. What a wonderful trip for a wonderful family!! More please!

LowCountryIslander Jun 29th, 2006 10:19 AM

Loving this trip report! You are providing your sons with an amazing experience!

Can't wait for the next will keep me going until my one month "romp" through Central Europe in September!

tower Jun 29th, 2006 03:18 PM

travgirl.....the piece on Hiroshima triggered a long ago memory for I wrote before, I was a 17-year old enlistee and ended up in Japan for two years (1946-48). En route from Tokyo to Kyushu, there were two hundred young kids on board the army-run train (very few railroad routes had been rebuilt by that time) and we stopped in Hiroshima, about a mile from Ground Zero...the city was still "hot" so we were not allowed to leave the platform to go into the "hot" area...but just imagine this...200 young recruits, first glimpse of Hiroshima (only 8 months after the bomb fell)...standing on the platform, looking at the sight of a ttoally destroyed city..not a word, not a whisper...for about ten minutes! Then a sergeant yelled.."get your a---es on board!" Still no words came forth. The most dramatic scene one could imagine at this place and time!

Stu T.(p.S. Truman's decision to drop the bombs over Hiroshma and Nagasaki..right or wrong, probably saved more than a million lives (US and Japanese)...including mine.)

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