Day 7 in Japan: Hiroshima Peace Memorial and rural Kumamoto

Goodbye Onomichi! Definitely one of the coolest towns we’ve explored in Japan. A final breakfast at Onomichi U2 to get my fill of maccha, white chocolate buns and out the door. One last ride on the vintage yellow trains of the area.

DSC04695

An hour later we arrived at the city of Hiroshima to visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum.

DSC04732

DSC04738

DSC04744

DSC04752

DSC04754

August 6th, 1945 at approximately 8:15am the atomic bomb “Little Boy” was dropped over the city of Hiroshima. We took in the sobering exhibits that detailed the bombing of Hiroshima and the current state of global atomic warheads. The final exhibit had an uplifting message and showcased the rebirth of Hiroshima through its resilient citizens.

DSC04711

DSC04721

DSC04718.jpg

Lunch was the local Hiroshima specialty of Okonomiyaki: a savory style crepe with cabbage, sprouts, noodles, pork and various other fillings. We ordered ours with shrimp, squid and oysters. Keep it on the griddle so it stays warm and section it off with the metal spatula as you go. Delicious!

DSC04757

DSC04758

DSC04766

Back on the Shinkansen and off to the city of Kumamoto, on the southwestern most main island of Kyushu, and home of Kumamon the popular mascot bear of the region.

DSC04696

DSC04775

The next 3 days of our trip involved renting a tiny compact cube of a Toyota car/van: the Roomy. With what felt like a 1 cylinder motor of exhilarating power through twisty mountainous roads, in an absolute down pour, driving on the opposite side of the road … thank goodness I had Viola and Andrew the navigators helping me out!

DSC04776

Our AirBnB was located in rural Kumamoto about an hours drive from the city center. This was no typical AirBnB though, this was a full on cultural experience in a 116 year old farming house, hosted by the most genuine, caring grandparents: Chi Chi and Ka Ka.

DSC04781

From the minute we pulled up to the house in the pouring rain, they greeted us with open arms and umbrellas to usher us into their warm, cozy home.

DSC04777

Chi Chi already had the charcoal fired up with water boiling for green tea as we entered.

DSC04787

Not long after, the tea pot was replaced with a cauldron of chicken, tofu and vegetables, Chi Chi instructed us to scramble a raw egg in a bowl with our chopsticks, and our traditional dining experience began.

DSC04800

Chi Chi provided the comedy, bringing piece by piece of fresh tempura, as he hummed the tunes of oldies American music playing in the background on his record player.

DSC04808

Mid meal and Ka Ka made an appearance out of the kitchen to present us all with a gift: hand sewn (by her) warm coats known as Hanten.

DSC04815

Barely finished our ice cream dessert, Chi Chi whisked us to the table for what appeared to be an arts and crafts session. The initial instructions of draw and have fun soon led to him teaching us how to write various words and phrases in Japanese characters.

DSC04835

DSC04848

DSC04843

Noticing a few Mickey Mouse figurines in the house, I painted a quick Mickey face. It was a hit! Chi Chi immediately called over Ka Ka who proceeded to oh and ah as they pinned up the picture on their wooden doorway. They used metal tacks on their immaculate 116 year old wooden interior! We were in stitches trying to hide our laughter and shock! And yes the Japanese characters on the left translate to “Vegetable Garden,” but that’s a whole other story.

DSC04856

Waiting patiently for our writing and painting session to end, it was Ka Ka’s turn to play dress-up and fit Viola and Sarah into traditional kimonos. The amount of steps and layers involved was unbelievable.

DSC04877

DSC04889

DSC04908

DSC04980

Don’t worry ladies, these highly skilled samurai will stand guard as you rest peacefully tonight. What an unexpected, amazing evening had by all.

DSC04964

Advertisements

One thought on “Day 7 in Japan: Hiroshima Peace Memorial and rural Kumamoto”

  1. What an amazing experience! Chi chi and Ka ka are awesome! You guys are providing me with a welcome break from packing. 😉

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s