Hiroshima and Miyajima

The cost of our desire

I went to the Hiroshima A-Bomb museum on the weekend, which is a sombre and macabre place that I never want to return to. Melancholic audio files on repeat drone in the background whilst you read the information, fragmented and juxtaposed against charred remains and diagrams. Broken, melted artifacts in glass cases are accompanied with the story of someone’s death. Glass shards puncture furniture like they did skin, bottles fused together by the intense heat sit in cabinets. Burnt and melted skin is preserved, suspended in liquid, next to graphic photos of burns set against timelines. Eventually, I stumbled out the exit, immediately ambushed by a questionaire and comments book.

What was I to write?
“Very informative, well put together exhibit”?
“I liked the wax diorama of people melting to their deaths”?

Nobody else seemed to have written anything along the lines of “macabre and horrible” yet, so I wrote that. Throughout the day, snippets of song lyrics and poems kept running through my head, reborn through what I can only say is a sudden realisation of some very important fact which I can’t quite comprehend.

The rest of the day

(somewhat lighter)

After lunch we left the heavy atmosphere of Hiroshima behind us and travelled by ferry to Miyajima – one of the 3 most beautiful places in Japan, according to the Japanese. The monks of the Itsukushima Shrine built a beautiful orange torii (gate) in the shallows of the sea off the coast, which at high tide is reflected by the water below. The only thing more amazing than the gate was the amount of people beachcombing at low tide. After a walk around the shrine, we went into the Awajima mountains, which were pristine and serene. We caught a cable car halfway to the top of the highest point, then walked to the top, where there was a shrine and a beautiful view of the inland sea (and of course, a coca-cola vending machine). There are some photos right here.