With its abundant history and culture, Nagasaki is very unique and is my favorite place. With its dreadful past as a bombed city, it is also a place that makes me think a lot. I spent three years in Nagasaki when I was in high school. So it is a place where I have lots of memories. It was 18 years ago when I had last visited there, with Casey and my mother-in-law. Let’s see how much we saw in our three-day stay this time.
The boat ride from Goto was so harsh that by the time we arrived all three of us were worn out just like old rugs (^_^;). We didn’t want to get in any sort of moving machine anymore. Instead of taking a taxi, we leisurely walked to the hotel, dragging two heavy suitcases. Once we got to the hotel, we were too tired to go out for a while. Gradually, however, we regained our energy and took off for sightseeing.
In Nagasaki, street cars are still in good use, vigorously running around all over the city. Our first destination was Peace Park, where stood this familiar Peace Statue. Its right arm raised toward the sky points to the threat of nuclear weapons and its left arm horizontally stretched symbolizes peace. Dragon tried to be the statue. Well, it was a bit hard doing the same thing while standing (^_^;). In Peace Park, there is a stone monument that has a note carved in it, written by a young girl, a bomb survivor.
“I was desperately thirsty.
The surface of the water was covered with something like oil.
I was desperately wanted to drink water.
I finally drank the oily water as it was.”
This is about the time the nine-year old girl went to a nearby river for water with her younger brother. I was in 5th grade, about the dragon’s age, when I first saw this on a school field trip. I clearly remember how shocking it was to read the note.
We, then, walked to Urakami Cathedral, not far from the Peace Park. Urakami Cathedral is a major Catholic church in Nagasaki. When I was in high school, late Pope John Paul II visited the church. I remember the day quite clearly since we had a unusual snowstorm from the morning day. A scene from television showing the cathedral in snow and Pope inside in white soutane still vividly remains in my mind along with the street to school getting covered with the snow in front of my eyes by the minute.
Urakami Cathedral was no exception in becoming a victim of the atomic bombing. Most of the building was destroyed, a part of which was moved near the hypocenter. This was the very first evidence of what the bomb had left, that dragon had laid his eyes on. We looked up at the sky from the bottom of the black monument that stood at the hypocenter. It was hard to believe that the bomb had exploded in this quiet sky 65 years ago. A sample of soil was on display al the hypocenter. It had various broken fragments from items destroyed by the bomb embedded in it. That gave me the cold shivers when I thought how devastating the bomb was. This is how we spent our first day. It was very fortunate that it didn’t rain.