Our urban camping adventure worked out decently although it was a break from our streak of amazing campsites. We awoke this morning to a car parking a foot away from our tent. After the heels-wearing driver got out and walked into the building and other cars started to pull up, we realized we had set up camp in some kind of business hillside parking lot. As more of the staff arrived, they kindly told us to take our time while packing up. An earlier morning than we were hoping for, but we were happy it wasn’t the cops pulling up.
When packed, we rolled down the steep hillside and pedaled a few blocks to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. Andrew had visited the museum twice before and gave Dylan and me a heads-up to take our time and let it all soak in. I was glad for this as the museum narrates the events of August 9, 1945, with as much to experience emotionally as to absorb factually. As you enter the dark exhibit, lights brighten and dim to show glimpses of ruined buildings, rubble, and clocks stopped at 11:02 am, the moment the bomb had exploded. The exhibit continues to wind through hallways that reveal one devastating effect of the bomb after another.
After the museum, we visited the Hall for Atomic Bomb Victims (pictured above). Like the museum, this hall of remembrance was designed to allow for contemplation and all guests instantly become reverent. It’s quite stunning.
This puts it way too lightly, but the other thing that struck me as I pondered the destruction was the incredible Japanese spirit of perseverance. Nagasaki was once completely leveled and is now an impressive modern city. A tragic event that killed 75,000 and injured another 75,000 is remembered and mourned, and the dead are honored;however, life continues for the people of Nagasaki.
We stopped by the Peace Park on the way out of town, and I also took a lap around the track in Atomic Field. We set off out of town on a gorgeous winding coastal road, stopped for some oranges (mikan in Japanese) along the way, and are now setting up camp in some kind of sports park. As I write this I’m listening to some epic taiko, traditional Japanese drumming, coming from the building across the field. I feel as if I should be off to battle, but instead, I’m off to bed.