Ah, Hiroshima. I lived here for 3 plus years as a pre-teen. You could have blindfolded me, spun me about and dropped me in Hiroshima and I really wouldn`t know it from any other city in Japan. It saddens me to no end that I cannot recognize a place that has defined so much of my past. Really, there was some crying today. How can something change so completely in 15 years? All of these buildings are up and stores have been replaced and I cannot even find where I used to live.
We went to the Peace Park and Museum and thankfully there is part of the museum I recognize. I used to come to the museum and park all of the time. In fact, my school used to collect the 1000 paper cranes made by kids all around the world and bring them to the Sadako memorial in Peace Park. I am sad to say that even the statue is changed. Really, Emily and Patrick, do not come back. It is heartbreaking. The Sogo is still here with the crazy clock that has little dolls that come out and dance while `Its a Small World` plays. Sorry to anyone who now has that song stuck in their heads.
We ate okonomiyaki for lunch in nearby Fukuyama where Aron was on the hunt for a flea market. Okonomiyaki is a pancake thing of all sorts of food- ours had mochi, seaweed, pork, shrimp, asparagus and lots of egg. You cover with mayo and a sweet sauce, bake it up and then chop it into bite size pieces to eat. Hmmmm tasty! Thanks to Aunt Karen, Aron had a gift certificate to Borders for his graduation gift, and he used it to buy our ryokan and flea market books. Both have now paid off, although it turns out that all the antiquing I did reluctantly as a child has sort of spoiled me for it as an adult. But, Aron had a delightful time.
After our trip to the Peace Museum, which really is incredibly and powerfully depressing, we wandered into the hondori (Anderson`s bakery! YAY) and found a mall to use the bathroom in. We also found this random store called UniQlo (think H&M but better) and they had our sizes! Aron bought much of their underwear and t-shirt section. I am beginning to suspect Aron is just a very tall, freckly white Japanese man. He can buy shoes and clothes here. I can`t do it! Well, I mean, I try to do it, but somehow it is never as successful as just ordering online from JCrew. The retail therapy brightened our moods- the undies were in a discount bin for $2 each (I guess there aren:t any XL Japanese men after all)- and after dinner in a local Indian restaurant, we were both much cheered. I am still utterly shocked by how much Hiroshima has changed, but hope to find Miyajima recognizable. The deer were fierce as far as I recall.