Sunday, September 26, 2010

An American in Nagasaki...

I almost didn't go to Nagasaki. It just felt awkward to go to a city that your country's government was responsible for decimating.  And yet, it didn't feel awkward. No one treated us differently for being American. The museum and Peace Park focused on the history and the campaign to end global proliferation. It didn't bad mouth the Americans. The signs just stated the facts. My favorite part were the personal narratives that were recorded (with subtitles). They were the most depressing to be sure but absolutely fascinating. I wish I had gotten to see some when I studied the bombing in school.
Adorning many of the monuments were strings of folded paper cranes. I remember reading a book in elementary school about a little girl suffering from leukemia in the years following the bombing and starting to make a thousand paper cranes so that her wish would be granted but not being able to finish before she died. I wish I could remember the name of the book now.

I had lunch sitting down by the river...which was full of giant koi. It was wild to see them outside of little ornamental ponds.

And then I was off to explore the temples on windy back roads.
The temples all had working shrines and such but none of them were fully operational, that is to say, had monks living there. It was a distinct contrast to temples in Korea which seem to all have monks there in one capacity or another.

Prayers? Probably.
Very strange palm trees.
Aside from the temples were what the guide book called temples but really seemed like a shrine and a graveyard. Nonetheless, the shrines were interesting though I didn't take pictures inside of them (disrespectful) and people didn't seem to mind us wandering around. These little figurines were set under a tree outside of the main shrine. I'm not sure what the red aprons are for but it was a theme with the smaller idols to be adorned with a cloth cap or smock like the ones above.
A group effort getting down the stairs.
A cool door handle.
Don't do it! The little men said so!

Up next, Beppu!


Rachel S said...

The book is One Thousand Paper Cranes. It was awesome seeing your picture of the cranes.

Alex said...

Thank you!!!!!!!!!! I want to reread the book now but it will have to wait until I have access to a library.

Kristin said...

What beautiful pictures!

I think I read the book you're referring to when I was in second grade. It was by Eleanor Coerr, and called Sadako and the Thousand Cranes. I remember it really vividly, and sometimes wish some of the literature I've read in recent years could stand out so strongly as many of those early childhood books. It was such a moving and emotional story.

Alex said...

Agreed, some of the books I read as a kid made such powerful impressions on me. I love it when something evokes those memories.

Alex said...

Agreed, some of the books I read as a kid made such powerful impressions on me. I love it when something evokes those memories.

Rallydog555 said...

When I do a wish in Japan, I break a crane with colored paper.
It is called "Ori_Turu".
It is said to come true a wish when I break 1,000 of them.

The paper tied up to a Shinto shrine says "Omikuji". I pay money and pull a number ticket.
Fortune is written to the paper writing the number.

The Buddhist image of a red apron is called "Jizou".
When a small child died, the Buddhist image is made.
The red apron is full dress of "Jizou".

It is written to the signboard in this way.
An open-air fire and smoking are prohibition.
The area is the whole in the site.
I am punished by firefighting method when I violate it.

I'm sorry only by a commentary.....