Friday, April 5, 2013

A day in Hiroshima and Miyajima

 The long day on the train was truly worth it as this gave us a whole day in Hiroshima and Miyajima.
The Peace Park is indeed that- peaceful and thought provoking.
To get there we caught a tram car- a tram car ride using a ticketing system that the Victorian Government could learn from and commuters in Melbourne could learn how to be more honest when using it :)

There are many examples as we travel around of how the Japanese continue to use implements that work well rather than trying to create more expensive implements that don't necessarily make any difference to the work or the result. Gardening implements are a good examples and this type of broom is used and sold in many places. 

The chrysanthemum holds a special place in the heart of many Japanese people. Known as kiku in Japanese, it is the symbol of autumn in Japan. It is at this time of year that the flower blooms most brightly. So I was a tad surprised to be able to capture a photo of a couple of these at the Peace Park. A little research showed me that white chrysanthemums symbolise grief while red chrysanthemums are often thought to symbolise feelings of love and affection when given as a gift to a special someone. So their symbolism at the Peace Park was significant.

 An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. Some stories believe you are granted eternal good luck, instead of just one wish, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury. The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures  and is said to live for a thousand years: That is why 1000 cranes are made, one for each year. In some stories it is believed that the 1000 cranes must be completed within one year and they must all be made by the person who is to make the wish at the end.
 The true story is of a girl, Sadako Sasaki, who lived in Hiroshima at the time of the atomic bombing by the United States. She developed leukemia from the radiation and spent her time in a nursing home creating origami (folded paper) cranes in hope of making a thousand of them. She was inspired to do so by the Japanese legend that one who created a thousand origami cranes would be cured by the Gods. Her wish was simply to live.

 However, she managed to fold only 644 cranes before she became too weak to fold any more, and died on 25 October 1955 in the morning. Her friends and family helped finish her dream by folding the rest of the cranes, which were buried with Sadako. They also built a statue of Sadako holding a giant golden origami crane in Hiroshima Peace Park

What does one do after visiting such a stirring and tragic spot? Seek tranquility of course!
But in order to find the tranquil space that is the Miyajima Tori one must do a little retail therapy along the shopping strip that leads to the temple. 

Along the way to the Peace Park the cherry blossoms didn't fail to delight. 

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