Today our group visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. A few of us took a walk to see where the bomb hit. It turns out, our hotel was only a few hundred yards away from hypercenter, the place where the bomb would have hit the ground if it wasn’t an air burst. Of course you couldn’t tell any effects of the bomb now. There was an apartment building just behind the plate that designates the hypercenter and only a block away was a baseball stadium. We also visited the nearby Peace Dome which you will probably recognize from the pictures of the aftermath of the attack.

After that we went to the Peace Museum which gave the history of Hiroshima before the bomb and showed before and after effects on the city. There were several displays showing the history and function of nuclear weapons and Hiroshima’s commitment to peace. The final exhibit followed several personal stories of some of the citizens in the aftermath of the attack. After leaving the museum proper, we rang the Peace Bell and dropped off a string of folded cranes at a special memorial outside of the museum.

After Hiroshima, we went to Osaka to visit Himeji Castle. The castle was built in the early 1600s to control western Japan by Tokugawa’s son-in-law. The castle covers only a fraction of its original space. There were two other moat and wall fortifications around the surviving keep and the entire castle could house up to 25,000 samurai for 2 years. The castle was designed to be impregnable and was never attacked. As several of us nearly tumbled to our death in the castle just walking up it, I can only imagine what it would be like to try to ascend it when people a shooting at you through the arrow and gun slits located all along our path. The stairs within the main complex were quite tall and it was march to make it to the top. However, the view from the top was worth it allowing you and impressive site of Osaka.

We remained in Osaka to have dinner at a fancy place called the Entec Group. The food was on the Italian side, lots of pastas and garlic, but unfortunately I forgot to snap any pictures of it. We all split a lot of different dishes and I got to taste, among other things, beef cubes, spicy chicken, Japanese fried chicken, carbonara, and caramel mousse. It was all delicious especially since Dr. Stapp picked up the bill. Thanks Dr. Stapp! You’re the best.

Returning to Kameoka we retreated to a late night place called The Food Spread to plan for our next day’s outing. We made our orders and planned a little bit for our free day until our waiter decided to show us a card trick. The card he was looking for was the six of clubs, after a couple of tries he decided our card was the nine of hearts. Oh well. As a consolation prize he gave us a deck of cards and in return Tim suggested we show him how to play Texas Hold ‘Em. Rebecca, wound up winning the most chips and we didn’t get any planning done.

One administrative note before I leave. I have postcards for several of the people who are reading this journal but no snail mail address. If you would like a post card from Japan (and I know you do) could you email me your snail mail address so I can get those out? Thanks everybody!

Tomorrow, make something up!