I have to say that I really didn’t want to come here.. I remember so vividly the images from the a-bomb at school.. Clearly can still see the black and white photos of children running down the street naked and injured with a flattened city behind them.. On top of that, I remember our lesson wasn’t about destruction of people and families, it was about the marvel of science discovery!! SICK!!!
This piece is directly across from the building, children holding a dove.. over 200,000 people wiped out that day…
So I did stop at Hiroshima.. it was after a very long day riding, and worked out perfectly to find the backpackers and know I had a cheap place to stay.. so happens to be right by the Peace Park and remaining remnant building..
I also was worried there might be residual radiation still hanging around? I don’t know, would be question #800 I should probably google.
Ha, just googled it and this is what I found:
Residual radiation (Note 1) appeared as the initial radiation subsided. About 80% of the total amount of residual radiation was released within 24 hours of the bombing. One study found that a person standing at the hypocenter 24 hours after the bombing would have received only one thousandth the dose of residual radiation that would have been received by a person who was there right after the bomb exploded. One week later, the dose would be only one millionth the original dose. (Note 2) In other words, residual radiation levels fell very rapidly.
Today, the background radiation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is the same as the average amount of natural radiation present anywhere on Earth. It is not enough to affect human health.
Note 1) Residual radiation is radiation induced by radioactive substances produced after the bomb exploded (including radioactive by-products of fission), the uranium that did not undergo fission, and atomic nuclei (in soil, rubble, and other materials) that became radioactive after being struck by initial radiation.
Note 2) Based on calculations of gamma radiation released due to induced radioactivity.
Anyway I did stay the night.. got in quite late – in the POURING RAIN!! and checked in.
I have noticed throughout my journey in Japan that it is an odd day out to see a westerner around here. But I finally found them.. The backpackers was chocker block full of Americans!!!
Gave me good reason to hide out in my little space and work on a blog..
Did my early morning walk as usual, and when I was looking at the building/ruin, a Japanese man stopped and asked if he could help me.. I said no, I am just looking.. He said, “USA”?? I said “No, Australia”.. He looked like he might have a bit of an attitude, and I didn’t know what I would have said if I admitted to being born in America..
But I did ask him if the Hiroshima people have moved on and forgiven the USA? or is it still hard??
He said, “It is very very hard.. still very hard..” I wanted to cry, but we moved on…
I told you I didn’t want to come here! So I packed up early and took off..