Catharsis and a mountain top

Japan day 6

Went to the peace memorial museum first thing in the morning. The staggering death toll makes little sense emotionally. But when you hear the individual stories and see their pictures and artifacts it is all but impossible to stay emotionally detached. By the end my eyes were starting to water up and the guy behind me was sniffling. Later there were copies of documents, one stating that Japan was allusively told that the US had developed the atomic bomb and Japan declined to surrender. Another was a letter from scientists urging the US to not use the atomic bomb on civilians before demonstrating its true force. To me the museum served as a grim reminder of what the humanity that we often take for granted means. 

After a brief stop at Peace Memorial Hall, I caught a boat for the Island Miyajima, which is probably best known for the Floating Torii Gate, though it wasn’t really floating when I got there as it wasn’t high tide. 

Next I went for Daishoin, another buddhist temple, which had an interesting collection of small buildings, prayer wheels, and statues. Peculiarly, there were often placed store-bout canned food (pineapple or mixed fruits to be overly specific) next to the statues as a kind of gift. I don’t mean any disrespect to the religion, though. We probably have our own share of idiosyncrasies back home. UPDATE: According to Google it might be for “Hungry Ghosts“. 

Having a surprising amount of time at hand I headed to Mount Misen, the 535 m high top of the island. It was hot and incredibly humid, so I soon regretted not bringing more “Pocari Sweat”.  The path was mostly paved steps of stairs, so the climb wasn’t particularly demanding, though I definitely didn’t have the “trail legs” I had when I was doing the Pacific Crest Trail. The vegetation vas green and thick. Here and there was a small water fall or shine. 

Ninety minutes or so later I reached the top, where a large wooden observation building had been built offering fine views of the island and surrounding sea in all directions. There were a bunch of other visitors there, most of which had taken the cable car based on their non-sweat. Had a small meal there as a I took it all in. 

On the way down I passed another temple once again in recognition of Kobo Daishi harboring a fire that he started some 1200 years ago and supposedly had been burning ever since. Kobo Daishi had spent 100 days meditating on the mountain. 

Much later, back in Hiroshima, I had some okonomiyaki, which is a Japanese type of savory pancakes. Hiroshima is famed for these, but it tasted mostly like the other ones I had had, which is to say that it was in fact quite good.  I strolled through the somewhat hectic small streets with innumerable shops and restaurant before finally going to bed. 

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