Visiting HiroshimaThere was one more city we really wanted to visit in Japan: Hiroshima. To avoid some of the planning we participated in an organized though unguided tour, which basically meant that they would book us a room in a hotel, and send us our Shinkansen tickets together with some maps. Amazingly enough, defying some basic laws of economy, it barely cost us more than the price we would have paid for just the Shinkansen...
The day we left Tsukuba I was recovering from a flu that was at that moment starting to get the better of Annett. By sleeping long every night we were able to postpone the worst to the next week (fortunately she didn't miss out on any of here precious microscopy time).
We visited a beautiful, wooden castle, and Milica joined us in our quest to visit the famous Atomic Bomb Dome. Just next to the dome was the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and both were lying in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, which was built around the hypocenter of the bomb.
In the museum we spent hours reading about the background, and looking at painful pictures, movies and objects, showing us the destructive power of the atomic bomb. One of the horrifying things we saw, was a stone stairs that had turned white everywhere, except an area that clearly must have been occupied by a human. In the museum there was a wall filled with protest letters from the mayor against each nuclear test that has been performed after Hiroshima (that we know of). These are things that will be engraved in our memories forever.
However, now Hiroshima is a beautiful town famous for its sea food. Together with a colleague of Milica, Sasaki-san, we visited an oyster restaurant. This was the first time we ate oysters, and they were truly delicious. It is probably like Sasaki-san remarked: when your first oyster experience is with bad oysters you'll probably never eat oysters again, but when they are good you are hooked for life... Anyway, it is clear to me now that Annett and I fall into the first category... Just kidding! (I got you there!)
On the third and last day we visited the island Miyajima, which is famous for the floating gate, a torii that appears to be floating in the water. We visited beautiful shrines, parks, ate some udon with eel, and attended a monkey performance (we didn't know if we should feel sorry for him...). It was a wonderful experience...
Milica has written more about our Hiroshima experience at her weblog, and Annett has put out many more pictures on her new picture page.