Sunday, March 8, 2009



Last night as the ship worked its way through the Inland Sea. Carolyn wakes up several times and looks out. The land is very close and both sides and there is a quiet a bit of traffic. She is so excited about the route she wakes up again about sunrise and watches the passage into the Port of Hiroshima. There were lots of small fishing boats and oyster farms.

The last time we were in Hiroshima, we rode the Shinkansen down from Kyoto for the day. This time, the ship has docked in the commercial port and it is a 20-minute walk to the nearest tram stop. There is an information center set up right outside the ship and we get detailed instructions from three very nice Japanese and good maps. We make the hike and catch line number 3 to the A-Dome and the north end of the Peace Memorial Park. Since we have been here before, we do not spend a lot of time but take a few pictures and, once again, contemplate the enormity of what happened here on August 6, 1945.
We then walk around the Hiroshima Stadium, where a crowd is beginning to gather for a baseball game, and on to Hiroshima Castle. This was destroyed in the A-blast but the moat, temple and castle walls have been beautifully rebuilt to include even the castle tower. The grounds contain a blasted, twisted and gnarled willow tree that is bound with rope and propped up. Damaged as it is, it survived the bomb and shows the buds of spring. The grounds contain the foundation stones of many unreconstructed buildings destroyed by the bomb. This was Japanese Imperial Army Headquarters from the late 1800’s until the 1920’s.

We then walk to the Shukkeien Gardens. The bomb also destroyed these gardens but they are now, once more, a tranquil sanctuary in the midst of the busy city. The entry fee is ¥250 each.

Finally, before returning to the ship, we ride a tram down to the main shopping street and explore all the floors of a modern department store. The seventh floor, top floor, is sort of like a giant, Central Market, take-away food area. It is a mad-house this Saturday noon! There are row after row of very colorful foods and we have no idea of what most of them are, except there is a lot of seafood from the smell. Our speaker the day before told us that if it walks, crawls, flies or lives in the sea, the Japanese eat it!

Carolyn finds a section on one of the floors that has all the things necessary for a Ceremonial Tea. Therefore, we spend some time looking at the lovely pieces and choose a beautiful, lacquered wood tea scoop, tea storage container, simple tray and a man’s ceremonial fan. The sales lady speaks no English so all the transaction is carried out in pantomime until another saleslady, who has been summoned, shows up and tells us in English about the items and that we are buying some fine pieces made by a well known Japanese designer. Hmmm! That explained the price!

Given the length of the ride back to the port we walk through the back ally shopping areas and on to the tram stop, getting back to the ship about 4:00PM. We have walked entirely too much today and our feet are killing us, but it has been another great day on our own! Back at the ship, we head to the lido bar for a drink and a snack to tide us over until dinner.

Back in the cabin we go out on the veranda and watch a nice sunset over Miyajima Island as we sailaway out through the Inland Sea. According to the Captain, we will be back in open sea by about 1:00AM.

Dinner is welcome with a Caesar salad for both of us plus a ceviche cocktail and seafood skewers for Dick and a shrimp cocktail and chicken risotto for Carolyn. Our waiter talks us into the almond pudding for dessert. We laugh when it shows up as an individual warm almond cake with warm vanilla sauce. Ah, the British! Surely, they should be able to tell a cake from a pudding!

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