Friday, March 13, 2009


14 Mar 2009 – HIROSHIMA, JAPAN -- We had a tour this morning that went to a famous garden around a lake in the heart of Hiroshima – amazing the level of detail they put into these gardens – very pretty and restful even in the drizzle. Then we went on to the peace museum that commemorates the A-bombing of Aug 5, 1945. There are few traces of that devastation in Hiroshima now (the entire city of 300,000 was leveled), but they have kept the remains of one building that was near ground zero as a monument and created the peace museum and several peace monuments nearby. The museum houses before and after pictures; pictures of the mushroom cloud and a number of artifacts (some grisly) from the attack. This is now the spiritual center of the world-wide anti-nuclear weapon movement. Very sobering and thought provoking. Outside the museum we got interviewed by some sixth graders who were studying English and using this to practice. Amazing how friendly and accommodating everyone we met was.

After the tour we set off in search of a Sushi restaurant. Brian had promised Mary (who loves sushi) that they would go to a genuine Japanese sushi restaurant while here. We asked for advice at the information center near the ship and two of the employees took us to one a couple of miles away in their own private car - they were Hiroko and Sachiko. They not only took us to the huge shopping center where it was located, but took us inside; found the restaurant on the second floor and had the hostess seat us. Then we were on our own in a total Japanese immersion experience (no English spoken). It was one of those places where there is a little conveyor belt that snakes around the place with little dishes with an assortment of sushi dishes. You take what you want as they move past and pay according to the number of dishes stacked up at the end. If you want a drink or a special dish of some kind you press a buzzer and a waitress comes. Right in the middle of the meal it occurred to Brian that they might not take credit cards – they are not nearly as widely accepted as in the US. Sure enough – they did not. Brian jumped up and used his Japanese skills to find an ATM in another part of the shopping center and was able then to relax during the rest of the meal. This was not a top quality sushi meal but it was a great experience. BTW the Japanese word for ATM is ATM (I tried all sorts of other Japanese/English combinations before that one worked).
We bought some fresh flowers for our cabin and also brought some small flowering plants back for the women who were so nice to take us to the sushi restaurant – they were tickled and we took their picture with Clyde who was sampling the free sake in the information center.

Next stop is Inchon, Korea.

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