vrijdag 3 december 2010

Just some new pics

After a 3 hour uphill walk we cant be really bothered to write any more text! You've got to be fine with just some new pictures then!

donderdag 2 december 2010


We just wanted to quickly post about today while it is still fresh in our memories. We spent the afternoon at the site of the A-bomb here in Hiroshima, speaking to locals and visiting memorials and the museum. The impact of these was harrowing to say the least.
Hiroshima was completely destroyed within a 2km radius of where the bomb was dropped- burnt to the ground. A few structures survived, and one building in particular has been made a World Heritage Site- a survivor and a witness to what cruelty humans are capable of. We spoke to a woman whose mother could recount what she saw the day it happened, and was still haunted by the screams of people she could not help. We saw pictures of people whose skin had melted off, drawings made by survivors depicting the river full of corpses, and the effects of radiation of next generations. We saw the picture of the pilot who flipped the switch and felt no remorse whatsoever, who would have done it again in a second- just another day at the job. We saw the Children's Peace Monument, initiated by classmates of a little girl who died of leukemia (one of the effects of radiation) in the fifties. She had started folding paper cranes in the hospital, as she believed that if she were to fold one thousand, she would be relieved of her illness (cranes are for longevity and health)- she died before she reached her target, but since then her classmates and children al over the world have folded paper cranes in her honor and in the honor of peace on earth, and in remembrance of what evil has passed. There is so much more to see, and all of it is so beautiful... But so sad. We left feeling angry- what is the point of war? Why is it always the innocent citizens who have to pay for the decisions their leaders make? And what evil mind could possibly have thought of this evil?(Einstein actually signed a letter telling roosevelt to develop the bomb! Still think he's a smart man?) Who would want thousands of people to die this way? This was genocide. Impossible to fathom. Disturbing.

In light of today, it was kind of odd to read the following article:
Wikileaks: Nederland wilde af van kernwapens - WikiLeaks - VK
We both can't believe so many countries are sitting on so many lethal weapons, only to scare each other. We hope that in our lifetimes we will see the change happen.
Good riddance.

Japan en zijn contradicties'

Japan het land van de opkomende zon is zoals we merken een land waar de zon tegelijkertijd op kan komen maar ook onder gaat! Alles hier lijkt twee zijde te hebben. Als je net denkt dat je je als onbehouwen hollander een beetje hebt aangetast aan de japanse etiquette dan blijkt dat het tegenovergestelde weer waar is! Japan is de dichter bevolkt dan Nederland, toch lijkt niemand op elkaars huid te zitten, mensen hebben hier een omgangs vorm gevonden met elkaar die op een rustige en beleefde manier lijkt te werken. Het vreemde is dat je in een grote stad(kleine steden hebben ze hier volgens mij niet) geen vervuiling ziet op de straat! Maar aan de andere kant, als je een prullenbak zoekt is deze nergens te vinden. Overal kun je Sigaretten kopen maar nergens mag je ze oproken! Het is hier trouwens geoorloofd om om half negen s'ochtends een halve liter bier open te trekken zonder dat iemand je vreemd aankijkt. Dat is zelfs voor een doorgewinterde bierliefhebber(red. ik) best wel even opkijken. Het is hier vreemd om hand in hand met elkaar over straat te lopen maar gelukkig kun je in de Seks shop wel een real doll kopen die op een twaalf jarig schoolmeisje lijkt! Als je hier verkouden bent draag je keurig een masker voor je mond, en als je klaar bent met eten kun je gerust je eerste gang weer naar boven roggelen.
Het oude leven en het nieuwe gaan hier hand in hand! Ik ga maar weer eens een nieuw manga verhaal schrijven op mijn mobieltje denk ik........

Leaving comments

We've finally figured it out- we had something checked off in the settings which meant you couldn't leave comments. We have since changed the setting, so please- don't be shy, and let yourselves be heard!
We're still looking for the setting to enable some sort of email to go out whenever we post, but up till now no such luck. So you'll just have to check regularly :)

woensdag 1 december 2010


We have just installed ourselves in a cosy hostel in Hiroshima after a day of Shinkansen travelling, and after having had all staff on hand (and those finished shift) up in our room helping us decipher the wireless internet (conclusion: our computer just doesn't like it), we've found a little nook in the common room to update ourselves from. Fortunately the large group of Aussies who spoke of eating Spanish pa-ella (pronouncing that just as is, now) has retreated to their testosterone-soaked room to drink themselves into a total stupor, allowing us old folk some quiet time :)
From Takayama we moved on to Nagano, home of the 1998 Winter Olympics. Our Lonely Planet (read: Bible) told us there was close to nothing to keep us occupied for our planned 3 days. That was before we met Mama-san, our "parent" in the Zenko-ji temple. We finally found the place after consulting what turned out to be the neighbor, and after entering the dark gateway we were greeted by what I can only describe as a small, efficient, and eccentric lady. Mama-san. She proceeded to hurry us through the details of checking in (aha, aha aha, yaaaaaaah oh aha) because did we need to eat? Only 5 minute walk. But close at 7pm (it is now 6:45pm). You like soba? Soba nice. You eat soba. You walk (hand motions the Italians would be jealous of)... I take you. You ready?
We are shuttled off to what became our ultimate Japanese experience- A proper family-run Japanese noodle restaurant, where we sat on tatami mats at low tables and were served by people speaking NO English (fortunately, 'sake' is international). We had eaten a rather large lunch in the train (just wait till we explain those box lunches! See later on...), and up till now the serving sizes had been rather small (according to Daniel-san in particular) so we rather enthousiastically ordered the 800 yen type of dinner after some confusion, which turned out to be the biggest bowl of buckwheat noodles you have ever seen. Times two. Delicious, but thought I was going to explode half way though. We resorted to drinking the broth, as it looked like we had eaten more.
After rolling home to the hostel (a huge house connected to the Zenko-ji temple, a rather impressive temple complex in Nagano), we talked to Mama-san about all sorts of things, including the onsen, Japan's hot springs. We'd been looking to try them but had not yet had the opportunity... Mama-san carted us off to the local, where we were separated (as the Japanese mainly believe in gender-seperate bathing rituals), and then stripped down to enjoy the wonders of what is Japanese onsen! I can only speak for myself, as Daniel was on the other side of the wall, but it was a bloody fantastic... After extensive cleansing (which made me cringe, eczema-lly... But when in Japan.....), you head out to the baths which in this case were salt baths and baking soda baths, outside and in. Loverly indeedy. Daniel even went into some dark room with a shallow pool of water to relax, which he thought was wonderful. So we shall be frequenting the onsen, that is one thing that is certain!
The next day we took the train up to Yudanaka, where the famous Monkey Spa is. We'd seen it on tv, and almost couldn't believe it- it's a national park, where a family of Snow Monkies (or Macaques) are housed, and they tend to get cold and want to take an onsen themselves. The park was insane- once we entered, we were literally tripping over monkies. They totally ignore you, but aren't afraid of you at all- they almost walk over your feet. A little futher along they've built a bath (onsen) for them to soak in, which is really odd- they seem so human! Unfortunately you can't bathe with them (which we both really wanted to do of course), but watching is enough. Wow! We also spent a day in Matsumoto, where there is a famous castle which was pretty nifty. We also really enjoyed the town museum, where we learned a lot about the local culture.
Today we took the Shinkansen to Hiroshima. The Shinkansen is, in itself, an experience. While waiting on the platform, you stand in the correct line and wait for you car. Then you find your seat, and the fun begins... The conductors bow before they enter and leave a train carraiage, the ladies who sell food from a cart are super polite and bow when you buy something (or even look at them, as far as I am concerned)... But there's also the chance that someone behind you might clear their nose audibly- it's not a problem to hock a loogie here (as long as you have a penis), and the train is no exception. We did think however that the guy behind us in the train was perhaps nasty even for Japanese standards... I think we got to know his inner nose better then he might even know it himself. Yeesh.
And now, Hiroshima... So far, we like it!