Nov 12, 2016

Summer '16 - Hiroshima and Hanabi

This was my first full summer in Japan, and while it would have been nice to visit home or go on some huge trip - I didn't. But, that doesn't mean I didn't travel at all or have a ton of fun.

At the end of July I took a short trip to Hiroshima. 

A-Bomb Dome
I traveled to Hiroshima on a Saturday morning on the Shinkansen, which took just over an hour. 
I was meeting my friend later that day, but before then I decided to hit up the a-bomb dome and the Museum. Its a pretty somber experience, one best done alone with lots of inner reflection. I'll be honest, I cried. The museum especially was really difficult to go through without being at least a bit emotional.

The peace park surrounding the museum contains the remains of the agricultural hall, now called the a-bomb dome, as well as the Sadako Sasaki memorial, known for her 1000 paper cranes. 

Sadako Statue

1000 cranes on the memorial
At the memorial you can also see big cases filled with paper cranes sent or brought to the memorial from all over the world, as well as ones made by visitors while there.

After spending my morning there, I met my friend in the afternoon. My friend is a Vancouver JET who came in the same group as me. We've gotten to know each other well, and shes one of my closest friends from the Vancouver group.

That evening we were going to a AJET Hiroshima party for those leaving, so we rented an airbnb with another friend. 

The party was fun, though I didn't really know anyone except my friend and her one friend, but I was able to meet a few people, including one JET I have been following on social media since before I applied, so that was cool. Me and my friend didn't stay out late as we were both pretty tired so we headed back around midnight.

The next day we slept in a bit then headed out ti Miyajima. Miyajima is famous for the 'floating' tori gate and the deer. It was really cool to see, and we spent a good chunk of time there.

Floating Tori
Deer ordering fries (not really...)
The shrine itself is right on the waterfront too
Fried momiji-manju (maple-leaf shaped Japanese confectionery)
We called it an early day on Sunday too, and had a chill night cooking and chatting at my friends place. My friend actually lives in Kure, way out in the mountain side, so it took a bit of time to get there, but it is a really beautiful area to live in.

The next day was a Monday, and a regular work day for my friend so she headed out early. I slept in and headed out on my own a bit later. I headed into the city, grabbed some last minute omiyage, then just took the train back to Kobe.

It was a short trip, and I definitely want to go back and see more and visit my friend again, so I will be back for more!

A few weeks later I went to the Kobe Fireworks. These are an amazing display, an hour long of huge and beautiful fireworks of all kinds.
It's also special because it was one of the first big events I went to after I first arrived in Kobe last year. I arrived on a Wednesday, and that weekend I attended the fireworks. So, in a way they were a way of celebrating my one year anniversary of living in Japan!

I'm so blessed to be living not only in Japan, but in an amazing city that has brought me so much joy. I have a great job at an amazing school with great coworkers. I have good friends, a boyfriend, and I can live fairly comfortably, travel and enjoy my time.

Thank you all for my first year, and I hope my second year continues to be just as amazing, if not more!