H is for Hiroshima, Hong Kong, and Henley-upon-Thames
It's Day 4 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge, in which I'm focusing on overseas destinations I've visited.
Hiroshima, Japan (May 1987 and March 1988)
I first went to Hiroshima during my first spring in Japan. I had begun a relationship with Mike, but soon after that started, he had a friend visiting from England for a month (!), so I wasn't able to see him because she had a mad crush on him and he didn't want to hurt her feelings. So instead we wrote love letters (these were the days before e-mail), which was a great way for two English majors to kick-start their relationship. During that time, a trip away was just what I needed. My friend Abby and I went to Shikoku and then traveled down to Hiroshima and Miyajima.
The important thing to do in Hiroshima is visit the Hiroshima Peace Museum, a memorial to all of the people who were killed in the atomic bombing. The most famous part of the complex is the bombed-out shell of the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall, which was constructed in 1915. When the atomic bomb exploded, it ravaged the building instantly. Heat blazing from above consumed the entire building, killing everyone in it. Because the blast attacked the building from virtually straight overhead, some walls escaped total collapse. Along with the wire framework of the dome, these walls form the shape that has become a symbol. At some point it became known as the "A-bomb Dome."
|Child's tricycle and hat|
|Map of Hiroshima, showing where the bomb hit|
|One of the many poignant statues outside in the memorial grounds|
|View from the river|
|I didn't feel comfortable taking photos in front of the memorial, |
but in the boat seemed okay
Right now I'm in the midst of Ruth Ozeki's new novel, A Tale for the Time Being, which describes the recent earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear catastrophe in Japan...and reading about the disaster reminds me of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bomb. I am well aware of the horrific things Japan did during World War II, and I understand why Harry Truman decided to drop the a-bomb. It was a complicated situation, and he wanted to end the war and prevent further deaths. But this scale of destruction was heartless and horrifying, no matter which country dropped the bomb. I'm a pacifist at heart, and I wish that no countries would resort to war to resolve their problems.
I returned to Hiroshima when my parents visited Japan in 1988, with Mike and my friend Jean. It's a destination everyone should visit once in his or her life.
|Dinner in Hiroshima with my parents, Mike, and Jean|
Hong Kong (July 1987 and July and September 1989)
Just a few months after Mike and I got together, I asked him if he wanted to go to Hong Kong with me (I was so forward!). I also told him that I was going to return to Japan again the following year because I wanted to see where the relationship led. He reacted cautiously to both, as I enjoy reminding him. I definitely knew he was my one and only before he knew that about me! But thank goodness I didn't scare him off, and he did decide to join me in Hong Kong where we met up with my friend Debbie and her then-boyfriend. We stayed in the Sky Guest House, a hole in the wall, where we returned again in 1989 to begin our big adventure after Japan.
|Riding the Star Ferry|
|View from the Peak at night--so beautiful!!|
|In our fancy clothes|
Henley-upon-Thames, England (1991, 1999)
Henley-upon-Thames is a charming village near Reading, where Mike's parents used to live. It's famous for its annual regatta. When my mother-in-law still lived in Reading, we would go there occasionally when we visited the UK.
|Hope English call boxes will not be obsolete with the proliferation of cell phones--|
they are so much prettier than our boring pay phones!
|Visiting Henley with Chris and Mike's cousin's daughter Emily (1999)|
|The home of Cookie!|
You can check out A-G here. Tomorrow it's back to Japan for I!