By JJ Walsh
I have a very special impression of Hiroshima. Since my childhood, I knew of the tragedy in Hiroshima and the very touching story of the girl named Sasaki Sadako. She suffered from the radiation disease but struggled and hoped for the recovery. Sadako made paper cranes and aimed to make one thousand of them, but couldn’t finish the project before her death. So, at my school in Russia, we made paper cranes in the memory of Sadako Sasaki, and at that time I had no idea that I’d visit Hiroshima and the memorial for Sadako with many thousands of colorful paper cranes.
Heading to Hiroshima, I thought it would be a sad visit, but it wasn’t. Hiroshima showed me a bright, beautiful and peaceful city. It was hanami season, so in typical fashion, many people sat down under sakura trees along the river and had picnics. Hiroshima was a good-looking, spacious and modern city. Walking along the river, I thought I’d like to live in Hiroshima.
I visited Hiroshima with my friend, where she also met her friend from the local University who gave us a tour around the area. He brought us to a place to eat Hiroshima’s special dish called “Okonomiyaki." It was the first time I ever ate this dish. I discovered that I liked okonomiyaki very much, but couldn’t finish it as the portion was too big. Fortunately, my friends helped me finish my plate. The next time I had this dish, I managed to eat the entire portion! I really liked how okonomiyaki was cooked in Hiroshima. You sit around the heated table and watch the process of cooking. Then you eat okonomiyaki in parts, so it stays hot on the heated table. Ever since that time, okonomiyaki has had a special place in my heart and is one of my most favorite Japanese dishes.
On the next day, we went to the Peace Memorial Museum. I liked that its name was not referred to being a “war memorial." The exhibition made us weep for that tragedy. It was hard to comprehend its scale as the whole city was completely destroyed. Some household items and children's toys that had been found molten and damaged were pitiful as thousands of lives stopped in one moment. The feeling was very strong and so we signed the peace petition right there.
Outside of the museum, the day was sunny and bright, people of modern Hiroshima lived their life, and that was the best thing that could happen after such a big destruction. In the park, we saw the old sakura tree that survived since the atomic bombing, and it was carefully kept by the citizens. There were many new sakura trees and blooming spring flowers around, so Hiroshima looked like a garden. I thought it was so great, indeed, that Hiroshima had risen from the ashes and had become a young and beautiful city again!
Our friend invited us to visit the meeting of young artists where they hold competition performances, an exhibition of paintings, and a small flea market. It was interesting and we were introduced to the other people. In the evening, we walked to the Hiroshima reconstructed castle and watched a beautiful sunset. I had very warm feelings and was happy for Hiroshima being alive and so peaceful. If I ever have a chance, I’d like to visit Hiroshima again.
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I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo! My photos from Japan I also place here: https://gurushots.com/f10384/photos Matane!