Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Then there was Nagasaki

After we left the Fukuda family, we drove further south towards Nagasaki. On the way, we saw these beautiful stepped fields. Aren't they great? I love how there are all these tiny individual rice fields, set out amongst the hills.

Nagasaki is my new favorite Japanese city. Up until this point it had been Hiroshima. Ironic how my two favorites are the two that were flattened by the a-bomb in WWII. But I think that's part of the reason why. You walk around these vibrant cities and you can't help but marvel at how far they have come in only 60 years. And you think about all they have witnessed, especially when you see elderly people walking around. You wonder at all they have seen.

Nagasaki is a port city. The other three sides of the city are surrounded by rolling hills. It creates a great effect. Houses and offices are all crammed over, around, and under one another, and there are tons of winding streets and crazy meandering footpaths all over the city. We highly recommend getting lost on these footpaths. Just try to avoid doing it in the pouring rain...

This marker rests on the site of the a-bomb's hypocenter. When we were visiting the park, there was a group of kids running and playing around the marker. We were really struck by the juxtaposition of it all.

It was a similar feeling to what we had when we visited Hiroshima last September. After spending 2 hours in the somber and deeply impacting a-bomb museum, we were kind of shell-shocked when we stepped into the warm September sun and the life of the Peace park that surrounded us. In the same spot where the a-bomb had fallen, there were old men playing shogi, live musicians performing, tour groups posing for pictures, kids playing with their parents.

For me, it's a testimony of the human spirit, the strength of life, and the grace of God.

On a final note, here's an unfortunate bit of bad English we found in Nagasaki. Check out the smaller sign, on the bottom. With some trepidation, Jeff and I surmounted the courage to go down and satisfy our curiosity. Don't worry; we're ok. Apparently, when the park was being created, and the city was digging up the ground, they found an incredible amount of debris in the earth, including shards of glass, ceramic dishes, broken roof tiles, etc, etc. They decided to leave a part of this earth exposed, on display behind plate glass, as further testament to the powerful destruction of the a-bomb.

Now if someone would only change that sign...!

1 comment:

Joanne said...

I did the little hand clap when I saw the new post.

So many places to visit...perhaps I will have to stay for another 3 years!