Japan Travel

More About Hiroshima. Part 1

We had a lot of fun yesterday at Hiroshima. We took the local train from Iwakuni. The train going there must have been old, because it swayed and rocked a lot — making at least three of us sick. Still we got there in one piece. We got off at a station on the outskirts of the city and walked down a block to catch the trolley to downtown.

A local train at Iwakuni Station

We started out at the Peace Park and right away we saw the Atomic Dome — one of the few buildings that was left standing after the Atomic bomb exploded over the city. It may have been cleaned up some, but it has been left a ruin like it was at the end of World War Two.

The Atomic Dome

We walked further into the park and looked at the various monuments that have been erected to promote peace. Eventually we decided it was time for lunch and we headed toward one of the covered streets where all the stores and restaurants were.
We ate at Italian restaurant called The Garlic House. CDF and I had spaghetti; mine had mushrooms hers had a side of garlic-flavored egg plant. We ordered sweet garlic bread too, it came topped with butter and roasted garlic cloves. MDF sampled off everyone’s plate. I think she liked the bread and some potatoes from Vasco the best.

Eating at the Garlic House.

After lunch, on our way out I stopped at a Konica shop that was down a side street to look for a memory card for my camera. I found some but didn’t like the price so we moved on. The next store we stopped at was an Andersen’s bakery. It was a great looking bakery. In addition to bread, they sold cheese, wine, flowers, and jam. CDF and I picked out some sweet breads, donuts, and muffins to sample. In all I think we spent around 1,000 Yen. We sampled one donut outside and saved the rest for when we got home.

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We went took the local train into Hiroshima today. JF will have get the pictures to me so I will be able to share them with you. We really enjoyed the trip. MDF did good & Abigail slept the whole time. It was a full day of walking & more walking. We walked through the Peace Park & through the museum about the A-bomb, and did some window shopping in a covered mall (not like our malls though; more of an plaza type with dome ceilings & streets all around. Very interesting. We ate lunch at a place called “The Garlic House”…I ate Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce (it also had tons of garlic in it & eggplant cut up), JF had spaghetti & bologna–same as mine pretty much. Some type of soup & salad came with it…and I also had buttered garlic bread that was sweet & delicious!!! I will admit I’m trying new foods & doing the best I can with it..but I’m ready for some good American food–cheeseburgers, steaks, fries, junk food…but some good ole fried chicken would be nice too. Something I know & that I’m used to. But I keep trying foods.
Tomorrow, Easter Sunday, we are planning on going to chapel here on Base. Later in the day, they are having a brunch meal & Peter Cottontail is stopping in for a visit. We may try to go & see Peter Cottontail…today we were in a store & there was a Winnie the Pooh–knowing that MDF likes Pooh I thought she would like to see him. I was wrong. She was fine until Pooh touched her head & then that was the end. She cried if he waved at her…I wonder how she’ll do with Pooh later on.
While window shopping we went to an electronic store that has multiple floors. On one floor they have massage chairs. They are around $2000–but man they feel good. I sat in one that did my legs, back & shoulders. I was about to go to sleep. There were others that massaged your feet, arms, and legs, back & shoulders. They have various massage chairs. It would have been nice to have been able to get one of those shipped home–especially for when I get pregnant again. That would relieve JF of a lot of rubbing. J
I suppose I will go for now. It is getting time for MDF’s bed time (as well as mine) and I’ll try to send pictures & e-mail more tomorrow.

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Fish Tank

We went to the Fish Tank restaurant for supper last night. It had traditional Japanese seating: a low table on a raised platform with cushions to sit on. As an American (and a tall one at that), I found it rather cramped, and almost got claustrophobic one time when I had trouble shifting positions.
The food was good though. We ordered meat and other food grilled on spits, such as chicken, mushrooms wrapped in bacon, asparagus wrapped in bacon, fried battered shrimp, fried battered octopus, fried rice, and noodles. They brought the food on individual plates, and then everyone got what they wanted.

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Kentai Bridge

We went driving yesterday afternoon, around Iwakuni and down to the famous Kentai bridge. It’s one of only eight bridges like it in Japan. It was almost too cold to be out, so we spent most of the time in the van. We did get out and walk in the park by the river. The cherry trees are just about to bloom — only have started, but they’re supposed to be in full bloom next week. We’re also hoping for warmer weather so we can walk the in the park.

Kentai Bridge

Too Cold to be Out

After walking by the bridge, we headed back. In the parking lot there were a number of Japanese cats hanging around the cars.

Japanese Cat

I didn’t get close enough to the cats to see if their eyes had the Asian slant too.
After walking around, we went driving through more of the river park. There were a lot of shrines, bridges and buildings. It will be very pretty when all the flowers start blooming. Hopefully we’ll catch the begining before we leave next Sunday.

Building in the Park

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MDF is quite taken with her baby cousin. She’s able to say Abigail’s name, and likes to watch Stephanie take care of her during the day. Yesterday CDF took some pictures of MDF and Abigail interacting.


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It has been in the 50’s for the past few days, but last night it started snowing! It didn’t stay long this morning, but it was pretty to look at on the mountains.


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Chinese in Japan

Yesterday we went to lunch at a Chinese restaurant downtown. It was on the ground floor of a multi-story building. We sat at a large round table that had a large, marble Lazy Susan in the middle. We all ordered lunch specials. CDF got a beef and vegetable stir fry and I got ramen noodle soup. The special came with salad, rice, vegetables, fried squash, fried pork, and a peach/tofu desert.

My rice was mixed with eggs and vegetables. MDF liked it a lot and ate half the bowl. The ramen dish was spicy, but good. MDF also liked the desert. I think she ate most of Vasco’s dish.

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Yesterday afternoon we went off base to the town. CDF had wanted to go to the 100 Yen store. We drove downtown and parked at a parking deck a few blocks up. The streets are narrow and the buildings are very close together. The Yen store building is not very wide, but it’s four stories tall. We rode the escalators all the way to the top floor and then began working our way down.

Heading downtown.

The clerks at the store are very polite. Every time one came out from the back, she would call a greeting to whoever was near by. Of course I couldn’t understand what she said, but I got the meaning.

Another building on the way back home.

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Jet Lag

We spent most of Tuesday (which was mostly still Monday back in the States) laying around, tired from the trip and feeling the effects of jet lag.

MDF and I walked around the building a while, exploring our surroundings. Stephanie and Vasco’s place is on the 4th floor. On the first floor is a community room. We walked around in it and were on our way back up, when we ran into a man who asked us if we were there for the playgroup. I said no, but we’d like to join. So we spent about an hour from 9:30 playing with the kids that normally come to the playgroup. We played with toys for a while, then had a snack, sang some songs, and had craft time where the children colored a bunny picture.

While we were down in the community room, CDF was sleeping. She got up after a while, and we had lunch. In the afternoon we rode around the base to see where everything was. By 6:00 PM though, we were ready for bed again.

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Train to Iwakuni

After we got through immigration and customs at the Kentai airport we had to find a train to take us to Iwakuni. We needed to take taking the Haruka train from the Kansai airport to the Shin-Osaka station, board a Nozomi Shinkansen (bullet train) from Osaka to Hiroshima, then transfer to a Kodoma Shin train to get to Iwakuni.

We found the platform for the Haruka okay. It was already there and waiting for the crew to finish their clean up before everyone boarded. Once on we found our seats and the train left soon after (all the trains are kept on schedule). MDF wandered up to the next row and made three friends. She spent most of the time on this train sitting with a Japanese lady and playing with the lady’s cell phone.

At Osaka we had ten minutes to find our next train. We found out that the Shin lines run above ground and we’d need to go several floors up to board… unfortunately the elevator only went up half way and we had to take the stairs the rest of the way. It wasn’t easy. Three Japanese ladies help CDF carry MDF and the stroller to the top while I lugged the luggage, one step at a time. We made it to the platform about 30 seconds before the train rolled in!

Hiroshima was easier, we had time to wait and rest before the Kodoma arrived. CDF talked to a conductor, trying to make sure we had the right platform again — it wasn’t clear on the tickets. After that CDF called her sister to let them know we were on our way.

For the first time navigating the Japan Rail system, we did pretty well. Still it was a relief to arrive at the Iwakuni station without having gotten lost or having missed our stop.