Monday, September 3, 2007

平和記念公園 (Peace Memorial Park)

AUGUST 16, 2007 (Part 2)
The theme for this entry will be The Spirit of Hiroshima, the resolute desire for a peaceful world free from nuclear weapons.
The Spirit of Hiroshima
After we have a look at the chronology of what had happened to Hiroshima before the atomic bombing up to Hiroshima’s revival after that morning at 8:15 a.m., August 6, 1945 at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, we continued our day at the Peace Memorial Park, which is just next to the museum.
Peace Memorial Park
Just in front of the museum, there’s this Fountain of Prayer.
At the opposite side of that fountain, a Cenotaph for the A-bomb victims can be spotted. It's called Memorial Monument for Hiroshima City of Peace.
Here is a double shot at the same spot, different time. Day and night shots from the Cenotaph.
Day & Night
From here, there was a tall flag pole bearing Japan flag.
Nippon Flag
Continue you walk, and you will come across the Flame of Peace, with the Pond of Peace next to it.
Flame of Peace
Later, there will be a monument, called Children's Peace Monument. As I mentioned in the previous entry, this monument was inspired by one little girl, named Sadako.
Before I continue any further, I must mention here that the weather on that day was really hot. Summer here is totally different compared to what you can get back home. Here, it is HOT and HUMID.
That made us to have a break, grab an ice-cream each, before continuing our walk in the Peace Memorial Park.
Here's a short 360 degree view of the park, while we were enjoying our ice cream. Watch it if you are interested to learn some new languages.
The main focus in this park will definitely be the A-Bomb Dome. But on our way there, I spotted this scene. I'm not sure what or how I should describe it.
Funny? Hilarious? Common? It's up to you to judge.
Those guards in uniform seemed to be like peeing at the toilet cubicle, instead of control the traffic. As for that little boy wearing hat, what do you think he might be thinking after looking at those guards?
"Why these gor gor zai dunno to go toilet shee shee one?"
Lame, I know. But I'm just trying to make you wake up from this rather boring post as some of you may find it.
Back to the main thing, before we reached the A-Bomb Dome, another (or should I say two) incident(s) happened. You see, we were standing on this bridge with the A-Bomb Dome in the background, waiting for someone to take our picture.
You might be wondering, why not use a tripod. Well, I don't have one, and Kok Hong's tripod is definitely too small for that. So we waited.
And waited, for someone who look to be able to get a decent shot for us.
We were still waiting there, for some time, until came a guy. I'm 100% sure that he wasn't a Japanese. He looked something like a Mexican, or rather Spanish to me.
Guy: 写真を撮ってあげますか?(Would you like me to take a picture for you guys?)
Me: Yea.
Before I could even pass him my cam to him, he smiled and walked away. What the frog?!!
I was surprised. Kok Hong was surprised as well. After we tried to figured out why that guy walked away, we came to this conclusion. I answered that guy "Yea". But I guessed he misinterpreted it into something else. In Japanese, いや (iya) means "no". Instead of "yea", he thought I answered him "no". No wonder he walked away.
So, we continued our wait. Until…
Came a girl, in a green shirt (heck, I still remember the colour), with a SLR camera with her. For instant, Kok Hong and me said this must be the person we have been waiting for. We approached her, and she took this perfect shot for us.
Since that incident happened on that bridge, we nicknamed her as the Bridge Girl.
Okay, I know I have been taking you time reading all those only for one picture on the picture. But it was worth it, wasn't it? Back to some pictures time.
Guess who's the black shirt guy under the tree in the middle.
Designed by Czech architect Jan Letzel, the Hiroshima Prefectural Products Exhibition Hall (renamed in 1921) reflected a consciousness of its proximity to water and in many ways was quiet innovative for its day.
Before & After
It opened in August 1915 to display and sell prefectural products and was also used for art shows and other expositions. The building was renamed Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall in 1933, and during the war it housed a number of government agencies.
A-Bomb Dome
On August 6, 1945, most of the building was crushed and completely burned by the A-bomb. Located close to the hypocenter, the building received the blast from almost directly above, which allowed some of the centre walls to escape collapse.
The steel skeleton of the dome became a symbolic landmark. Because of the prominent dome skeleton, the ruins came to be called the A-bomb Dome.
Past & Present
Three preservations projects were implemented after massive fundraising drives, and because it was reinforced, it stands today on one corner of Peace Memorial Park looking very much as it did in 1945.
World Heritage
In December 1996, the A-bomb Dome was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a symbol of nuclear abolition and the vow of the human race to pursue peace.
And so, we took the chance to have a shot in front of the A-bomb Dome.
A-Bomb Dome
Here is a recollection of the testaments from the survivors at the time the atomic bomb was dropped at 8:15 a.m., August 6, 1945. (taken from Children of the Atomic Bomb - Testament of Boys and Girls of Hiroshima, Iwanami Shoten, Publishers.)
It is thought that approximately 350,000 persons were in Hiroshima when the bomb exploded. This figure includes ordinary citizens, military personnel, and people from surrounding towns and villages who were mobilized for building demolition work.
Peace in Hiroshima
It also includes people form Korea and Taiwan, which were then Japanese colonies, and mainland China. Some of these had been conscripted and forcibly brought to Hiroshima to serve as laborers in the war effort. Other foreigners present in small numbers included students from China and Southeast Asia and US prisoners of war.
The precise number that perished in the bombing is unknown. Several estimates have been made public. Hiroshima City estimates that by the end of December 1945, when the acute disorders had subsided, 140,000 (± 10,000) had died.

Dawn in Hiroshima

We finally called it a day and went to have our dinner. We was looking around for a place to have our dinner, until we came across this restaurant with a traditional atmosphere in the interior.
I have been eating ramen for almost all the time. This time, it was no any different either.
Since we have been coming to the same restaurant for the second time already, we used the food coupon to get this plate of gyoza for 150yen (RM5), instead of the normal price which will cost us 250yen (RM8).
Gyoza is the Japanese version of dim sum (sui kao) we used to have in Malaysia.
To wrap up our day, we went to 広島城 (Hiroshima Castle) which was just within walking distance from where we had our dinner.
I took such a long time before I got a perfect shot of the reflection of the castle on the water. Almost all I took were blurred as I didn't have a tripod with me and I was taking a shot at night.
I only realized later that the shot I took (which took me so long) was just the entrance of the castle. Here's another shot at the entrance.
Finally, after walking a while in the darkness, we saw the castle. From afar.
And from a nearer angle.
It was getting late and we finally decided to walk back to our hostel. On our way back, we took the different route, unlike the normal route we took so far, as we wanted to walk through the Peace Boulevard which is just opposite the Peace Memorial Museum.
Peace Boulevard
Here, a particular word is written in many languages, but brings one common message.

Peace ・平和



Anonymous said...

i thought we called her green girl cos of her top...

and that wasnt taken at dawn... it was

calvin said...

@ kok hong:
did we? yea, perhaps i made an error on that :P

i was just trying to see if my readers (especially YOU!) are really paying attention while reading that entry. that's all ^.-

Anonymous said...

in the first place.. why do i need to pay attention .. i went to the same trip with you !!

calvin said...

@ kok hong:
in the consolation place, if you never mention about that, i guess no one will know that it was actually taken during dusk :P

mg said...

nice shots of the building and why everyday ramen? cheapest food? =)

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
why must be cheapest ler? i like ramen cannot meh?

mg said...

ooohhhh marah.. hehe

can larrr. just asking >_<