Warning: Blatant political leanings ahead.
Yesterday was the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. With the end of the Cold War this is an occasion that has become something that only gets mentioned in passing. And with the war generation mostly dying off and the Baby Boomers busily fighting with Generations X through Z over how much of society’s resources they’re going to eat up before they die, this isn’t going to change any time soon.
I’ve only ever passed through Hiroshima on my way to Tokyo or Osaka. It seemed like a nice city from the window of the train. It was always a regret of mine that I’ve never visited there. But you know… the history of the place. I knew I was going to walk around all weepy-eyed since I was a teen during Ronald Reagan’s brinkmanship against the USSR and atomic death was an ever present fear that still sits deep in the animal part of my brain.
Yeah, acting psychotic worked very well for America. That’s why North Korea does the same thing today. But it only worked because the Soviets decided they would have to be the sane ones. A nation that decided democracy was for chumps and ran back into the arms of the next dictator they found. You should think about that for a while before chanting “U! S! A! - U! S! A!” or “Can! Ah! Dah! - Can! Ah! Dah!” or “God save the Queen” like the sad little nationalist nerd that you are. No, not even at sporting events.
I will accept, “God, save my Queen LP collection!” depending upon the circumstances.
I have been to Nagasaki. As mentioned yesterday, it’s a beautiful city. Sure, the first thing you see when exiting the train station is a hill full of graves. If you’re the superstitious type, you may not like that. But those graves are behind a street full of lovely Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. The city itself feels comfortable in it’s own skin and despite the relatively small population, the place is jumping at night. In some areas it feels like a city twice it’s size.
While I was there, I met an old fellow who was a kid during the war. Thanks to the long lives of the average Japanese person you get to meet a lot of old folks who have experienced shit that makes you feel like the pampered kidult you are. He lived outside of the city when it was bombed and was largely spared the horrors of it. His story is pretty typical: After the war he goes to a technical college in the west (In his case it was Canada because he loved Elvis but he couldn’t get into the USA.), and gets a degree in engineering. He comes back speaking fluent English, has a good life for himself and his family, retires. Striking up conversations with every tourist he meets on the trolley.
Or “tram” if you prefer your English to not be American.
Nagasaki is one of a large number of cities in Japan with a tram system. I feel this to be the best form of public transportation ever devised. If I had Rockefeller levels of money, power, and influence over city government, you better believe there’d be one in my town.
There was a blizzard when I visited Nagasaki. It made for pretty pictures, I think. I’ll be posting those up for the next few days. Like the photo above that was shot on the grounds of a Buddhist temple, they were shot with a Mamiya C220f medium format camera. If medium format film wasn’t such a pain in the ass to get and a pain in the ass to get developed, I’d be still using it all of the time.