Saturday, May 23, 2009

Shifting gears...

The last two weeks have sort of whizzed past with my re-emergence into the world of 8-5 work for a week while in Nagasaki and then the entry back into the world of scholarly pursuits after.

Nagasaki was bliss. EVERY Japanese person you meet in Tokyo keeps reminding you that Tokyo is NOT Japan and that one needs to get out of Tokyo to see Japan in its entirety. How so very true.

The trip started with a sighting of Mount Fuji from above. Fuji san is so iconic here with locals and foreigners alike that just a sliver of a sighting draws screams of joy...and then to finally be able to see it...all of it...well its a good thing the seat belt sign was still lit or I would have been jumping up and down on that plane!!

Nagasaki itself...rice fields, mountains (correction: hills) green all around, slightly bigger houses, people more smiley and strangers saying good-morning, prices were lower, transportation was cheaper, need I go on. Was put up in a place outside the main city center so would wake up to this view from my window each morning.

Hotel was also right next to the Atomic Bomb Memorial to pay a visit just before closing time on my first day there and it was quite a humbling experience. The artifacts, stories, pictures and even remains of bombed buildings, bridges and remnants of scorched clothes were arranged in a way that makes you stick to the stomach just thinking back to what people in that area went through, during and years after the bombing.

What was beyond me was how Nagasaki and Hiroshima were the first places in the world to be bombed as such, the destruction caused was absolutely freaking clear...and yet, several places suffered the same fate since. Were the perpetrators so..thick? The next morning I took a walk through the peace park which has the epicenter of where the bomb landed and several monuments donated by countries as a prayer of peace and comfort to Nagasaki. You get goosebumps just approaching the place even though it has concrete all over it now and...yeah. well.

Here are some paper cranes from outside the museum (heaps of them all over the Peace Park making shrines at the foot of monuments)...Ancient Japanese legend has it that if you string a thousand of these together you will be granted one wish. These are all...wishing for peace.

The workshop itself was a success, was nice mingling with Islanders again after yonks, the crew from home brought over some stuff from Mum...BBC Dhal mix, vegemite, FMF Breakfast crackers and Pure Fiji Lotion. :)

Oh and this trip report concludes with...Obama Onsen (hotspring bath thingo) souvenir sighting at the airport on the way out. In disbelief, I actually asked the there really an 'Obama Onsen' in Nagasaki? She, of course, went to the trouble of explaining where exactly it was located mistaking my amusement...for interest.

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