We returned to Hiroshima late in the afternoon from Miyajima. We were hungry. I was still with the two French men I met at the hostel earlier, JB and Vincent. They reckoned we could walk all the way from the train station to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
JB studied the map for a minute and then we were off. One of the things I love about traveling is meeting new people and finding out that while there are a lot of differences in each of your cultures, you realize that you are really quite more alike than you think. We asked a lot of questions about each of our countries, talked about politics and taxes–yes, these are actual topics that come up–and talk about differences in our cultures.
We reached the memorial, and immediately, the jolly mood we were in as we chatted earlier had changed.
The next day, we would return to visit the museum. I remember not being able escape the heart in throat reaction walking through that place.
I think it’s important to visit places like this, to mourn for those lost, to remember what has past, and to realize that there is hope, always.
On our first night in Hiroshima, after we had our dinner, we got lost. Refusing to just get a cab back to the hostel, we found ourselves, Lonely Planet book in hand, asking for directions.
JB had this idea to find a landmark, a bar, ask where it is, and figure out our bearings from there. The locals thought we were looking for a bar for drinks, and led us through some side streets and up a non-descript building, into a local bar.
We were there early. The owner of the place tended the bar. He was such a great host to us, telling us stories, allowing us to ask him tons of questions. He even gave us free shots because well, we were the only ones there at that time. Eventually, locals started coming in, artists mostly. I’m pretty sure I was drunk by the end of it. It was a blur.
The next day, I woke up with a message from JB and Vincent. They were going to do more exploring of Hiroshima before heading out to Kobe, and if I would like to join them. “Yes. Give me ten minutes.” Time for more exploring.