Friday, February 8, 2008
Day Two in Nagasaki
Nagasaki is such a cool city. So much of it is built on hillsides; it's fun exploring the narrow, winding streets and catching glimpses of the city and waters below. The tram system is so easy and quick to use. We have to pay since it's not part of the JR system, but it's only 100 yen (about a buck) per ride, so who cares! You can also buy day passes for 500 yen if you know that you're going to be hopping on and off a lot. This morning we woke up to clear skies and decided that we had to go see the Peace Park and Peace Museum. As you recall from your history lessons, Nagasaki was bombed on August 9th, 1945 at 11:02 am. The bomb that was dropped on the city was called "Fat Man" because of its size and shape. We saw a replica of it in the museum. This museum was very interesting and, like the one in Hiroshima, showed the utter devastation caused by the blast. So many of the victims were women, children, and the elderly. They estimated in 1945 that 73,884 were killed and 74,909 were injured. The bomb was originally intended for Kokura (also on Kyushu Island), but because of heavy cloud cover over that city, it was dropped on Nagasaki instead, thereby sealing its fate. From the exhibits, I was amazed at how quickly the citizens of the city started their recovery efforts in spite of such horrific conditions. Again, this museum should be required viewing for everyone. After the park visit, Z went back to our glorious hotel room to catch up on school work, and I went back into town to see some more sights. The most interesting was the Sofukji Temple, which was founded by Chinese residents in 1629 and is a National Treasure showing typical Chinese architecture of that time. There were tons of people out and about and the traffic on the streets was basically gridlock. I was walking faster than the cars were driving. That's why the trams are great, too; they can bypass all the traffic mess. The photo of the bridge is called "spectacles bridge" because of the reflection as eyeglasses in the river waters. It's the oldest stone arch bridge in Japan, built in 1634.