September 13

“Attack made in 1/10 cloud conditions[…]” : The A bomb of Hiroshima

This excerpt is part of the message the pilot of the Enola Gay transmitted ot its air base after dropping the A-bomb on Hiroshima, the last city we would be able to visit during our week in Japan.

The city itself does not have much going on, but history has made it famous for its role during WWII and we had been told that the war museum was worth visiting. I was hoping that doing so would help me understand better what the consequences of the action had been, although obvoulsy fully aware that I will never know what it was to be there. Fortunately.

On August 6th of 1945 the US Air Force dropped on Hiroshima for the first time in history the atomic bomb. At 8:15 AM the bomb exploded 600 meters above the city, and a few seconds later almost 200,000 people were dead: about half of that number would also die during the next few days/ years. The worst side of it would be endured by those who did not die on the spot but would during the following days or even months: the balst had created such a heat wave that thousands of victims found themselves a few seconds later trying to walk with melted flesh and skin hanging from their limbs and torso, seeking help that would never come and dieing under excruciating pain. The consequences of the nuclear radiation would be exposed during the next few years and decades, most of them unknown because of the singularity of the attack.

Hiroshima has completely recovered since then, and is now a world leader as a peace seeker and non nuclear proliferation voice. The garden of ppeace offers tribute to those who perished as a result of the bomb and war victims in general, and is now a place where japanese and international toursits remember that not-so-distant day that most hope would have never happened.

We spent a few hours visiting the museum and walking along the garden,and then made our way back to Kyoto where we would have to spend a second night at the dump.

The following next two days would be spent travelling, the first from Kyoto to Fukuoka by train, then a 3 hour hydrofoil to Busan in South Korea, followed by a 4 hour train ride to Seoul. On the second day we would fly from Seoul to Guangzhou and connect with a flight to Hanoi, Vietnam, arriving there the night of August 14. I was looking forward to reach Vietnam, a country that I imagined lush and exotic yet influenced by the communist government and recent military past. I had also received a lot of negative feedback from travellers who had been there recently, complaining about the always present greed for money of the vietnamese and non violent theft. Still, I wanted to have my own opinion because I had had similar experiences before only to findd out that I would really enjoy my visit. Sayonara Japan and good morning Vietnam!


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