Hiroshima
Distance: 0 miles
Total Distance: 257 miles
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Children at the Hiroshima Peace Park

Well, we’ve had a wonderful day here in Hiroshima, and despite not going to a lot of tourist spots I think we got a nice feel for the city.
We spent the first part of the day taking advantage of the free tea, coffee, and wireless in our hostel, and then headed out to run a few errands. One major item to take care of was finding a replacement screw for one of my SPD cleats–without it, I’m unable to clip out of my right pedal, which can be dangerous. Unfortunately, we were unable to find anything despite visiting two specialty bike shops. For anyone planning a bicycling trip to Japan: make sure you have replacement bolts & parts for most of your gear, because finding them over here can take a lot of effort. 99% of the shops here sell/fix exactly one type of bike: single-geared “mama-charis” that are great for commuting but have no relevance to the types of bikes you would ride on a tour.

As it turned out, searching for bike parts was a great way to see the city. We ended up taking a couple of streetcars, and eventually ended up right near the Peace Memorial Museum. After having a nice conbini lunch and people watching for a while, we spent the rest of the afternoon in the park and museum. We both saw so many striking images that day, but the ones that I particularly remember are: the cenotaph containing the names of every victim of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima; a class of students singing a song in front of thousands of paper cranes at the Children’s Peace Memorial; and the stark, haunting lines of the Atomic Bomb Dome just across the river from the park.

The Atomic Bomb Dome

View across the river to the Atomic Bomb Dome

Ceremony at the Children's Peace Memorial

Ceremony at the Children's Peace Memorial

Answering questions for an English project

I made the mistake of actually asking them to read their questions to me

The park itself was filled with thousands of schoolchildren on field trips. Most of them had been given workbooks with English questions to ask foreign visitors: Where are you from? Why did you come to Japan? What are your impressions of the Peace Park? Vicky and I had fun answering these and talking to the students, but we were feeling a litte harried by the thirtieth time we were approached, so we ended up running the last hundred yards to the museum entrance!

Back at our hostel that evening, we decided to treat ourselves to a Hiroshima specialty for dinner: okonomiyaki. Imagine a kind of pancake layered with all sorts of ingredients (cabbage, carrots, bacon, soba noodles, egg, and seaweed) and then grilled and smothered in a rich sauce. Accompany it with a beer. Or two.

Okonomiyaki cooks in Hiroshima

Our wonderful okonomiyaki chefs!

Cutting up my okonomiyaki

Chopping up my half

Now you know where to find this restaurant!

Vicky, chef, myself, and Ezra--now you know where to find the restaurant!

Towards the end of our meal, we struck up a conversation with another foreign person sitting next to us–it turns out he is from the same small town as us! It’s amazing how small the world can be sometimes! Ezra very nicely treated us to another beer, and by the time we staggered home, we were ready for bead. We did a little hasty packing and went to bed as soon as possible, as we had a long day ahead of us: inland and then back to the coast until Onomichi.

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A few more photos from the day:

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A view of the Peace Park from the Peace Museum

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Children looking at an exhibit showing were the bomb dropped over the city.

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It's prett much impossible to take a picture of anyone without them doing the peace sign. It's just what people do here (kids especially).