It is drizzling gently when we arrive in Nagasaki and the mountains are covered in mist. The immigration process is meticulous and precise, as one would imagine it to be in Japan. Once I am though customs I get onto a tram at Dejima and take it all the way down to Matsuyama-Machi. It is dead silent on the tram even though it is full of people. I know immediately I am in for a complete cultural awakening. I do the short walk to the hypocenter where I pay tribute to the lives lost on August 9th 1945.
When I stand at the Atomic bomb hypocenter I get chills down my spine. How could anyone want to cause so much harm and destruction to other human beings? Later, when I find myself in the Atomic bomb museum, I stare at one particular photograph. I can’t help myself to cry. So incredibly powerful, I will never forget that image.
The somber feelings soon disappear when I enter the Peace Park. I am glad the clock has moved on from 11:02 am. (That is the time the bomb hit the ground- see the clock above)
It is easy to navigate the streets of Nagasaki and soon I find myself standing on the Spectacles Bridge close to Kokaido-Mae looking at the Koi fish swimming in the river. It is extremely peaceful here and I get a glimpse into why people live to be so old here. I make my way to Kofukuji Temple and everywhere I go I see things that I wish I had at my own house. The gardens are immaculate, the moss growing on the statues is synonymous with longevity and even the drain covers have beautiful flowers on them.
I like this place. But I fall in love with it when I sit down in a humble little restaurant to have Sushi. I see a western couple eating hastily, not truly appreciating the experience. When the woman insists on having a Coke instead of having the traditional tea, I think to myself; Even though I try as many different things while I’m traveling, how much have I missed out on by not indulging more in these foreign cultures as I visit them? When the restaurant is empty, I have a cigarette with the Samurai like chef and ask him where I can buy a Sushi knife. He draws me a map and his wife asks if she can have our picture taken together. Usually it’s the other way around!
It will take a lifetime to truly understand Japanese culture, that’s for sure. But it took me one day in Nagasaki to realize that the more you leave some of yourself behind in these amazing places, the more you will gain along the way. Arigato!