Friday July 9th
Himeji Castle and Hiroshima
We left really early today to take the Shinkansen to Himeji Castle. Heather and I translated a bit of Winnie-the-Pooh on the way there and I think it was today that my odd mind spawned the infamous monkey thumb, inspired after seeing Heather’s gorilla key ring. Coupled with Simon’s ‘ook’ cry, we had a brand new in-joke for the GCSE Japanese phraseology! Hehe ^_^.
Afterwards we headed to Hiroshima War Memorial Museum where I used an audio guide when looking around. It was very profound and interesting. I think the newest piece of information I took away was that the shell actually exploded in mid air (known as the hypocentre). It was all very ‘interesting’, if I can use the word, but also moving and it conveyed the serious anti-nuclear message well. We were filmed while looking at the surviving tree in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and a few of us spoke about our thoughts and feelings to the camera.
We had okonomiyaki for dinner. An older Japanese man came into the restaurant packed with all 21 of us looking for a seat. He ended up taking the last seat in the small restaurant next to me and we quickly established that he wasn’t shy… “Where are you from?”, “What school are you in?” – etc. He told me to call him ‘Kay’ (K-san I think)… When I ask him how to spell his name he told me “K, like King” ^_^;. I think he was about 60 years old; originally a sales representative before working for an environmental company. It probably sounds rather tame, but having a complete stranger start talking to you in the (drunken?) manner he did and asking lots of questions is rather surprisingly, and immensely entertaining ^_^.
The whole thing was hilarious, and I got to practise my Japanese a little (for which I received a ‘joozu’! :P). In fact, I was so preoccupied with him the whole time; I only got to eat about 1/4 of my dinner! Even his goodbye was funny: “I’m feeling the separation already”. Fantastic ^_^. The only other thing that was interesting after that experience was the fact that the train warden turned and bowed after walking to the end of every carriage, I noticed on the way home. Once again, so professional and polite.