July 10th – 17th
My second week as an intern at the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, Japan was very chill compared to the last week. Check out the highlights below!
July 10th – Casual Day
Sunday is the general day off for most workers in Japan, and WFC is no exception. We cleaned a bit around the guest house which, while needed, is uninteresting. The interesting part of cleaning was learning about the complicated yet efficient recycling process in Japan.
That night Matthew, Malachi, Laura, and I shared memes and bonded over comedy.
July 11th – Ramen
At 6pm, Laura and I had dinner with Matthew and Malachi. We had ramen at the ramen restaurant up the road from WFC. It was delicious. Malachi, who is not good with spice, ate some extremely spicy ramen and sweated profusely🥵. It was very funny, and when he finished like a champ we congratulated him.
July 12th – English Class
At 10:30am, I sat in on another English class. We discussed the Internment Camps that the United States forced Japanese Americans to live in during WWII, a conversation prompted by the book Itsuka by Joy Kogawa.
July 13th – Labeling Project and Okonomiyaki
In the afternoon, I continued working on my Label Project in the morning. I made some pretty great progress.
That night Laura and I ate Okonomiyaki at the restaurant Okonomiyaki Teppan-yaki Momiji-Tei. The restaurant owner was very kind. I assume that he usually has foreigners as guests because he has a big wall with a map and money from different countries. He gave us a free dessert welcoming us to Hiroshima.
July 14th – Aug. 6th Committee
At 3:45pm, WFC hosted a committee meeting for the hibakusha talk they will be broadcasting via Zoom on August 6th. It was interesting to see behind the curtain how events are planned in a non-profit organization. Malachi was leading the meeting and it was great to see his cooperative leadership in action. Please tune in to the hibakusha talk on August 6th when I upload the flier!
July 15th – Miyajima Island Trip
At 11:50pm, Laura and I took a ferry to Miyajima Island and we stayed till 6:10pm.
On the 45-minute ferry ride, we passed many small islands and organizations, the history of these places was broadcasted in both English and Japanese to us on a screen in the front of the boat.
When we arrived on the island the first thing we did was eat oysters at a restaurant recommended by Mirei named KAKIFUKUMARU. The oysters were delicious, and I told the owner just that in Japanese and she accepted the compliment with surprise.
We walked up the stairs of a shrine we happened upon in the neighborhood near the oyster shop. I have always wanted to walk up the stairs of a Japanese shrine, so I was very excited to have this experience. When we reached the top we sat on a bench and looked over the neighborhood in comfortable silence for quite some time. However, I was apparently too excited because much like a cat in a tree I was scared to go back down the stairs because they were so steep. I ended up scooting down on my butt 😂.
After grabbing some more money from an atm in the port, we ate Momiji Manju and it too was delicious. It was filled with red bean paste and the cake tasted like an ice cream cone.
At around 1pm, we walked towards the floating Torii gate and Itsukushima Shrine. On the way, a male deer walked up to me and I moved my map because while the deer on Miyajima are known for being friendly they are also known for eating anything near their faces. I gave him a respectful head rub and he walked away. The tide was low so we were able to walk across the sea to the other side of the island. There were tiny hermit crabs covering the ground completely and I felt bad walking on them 😅.
Itsukushima Shrine was quite beautiful. It was built in the 13th century and was founded by the most powerful leader of the time, Taira no Kiyomori. You can learn more about the shrine’s history here. I prayed to some of the deities there. I watched how the elder Japanese people prayed and followed suit – bow, clap twice, pray, and bow again.
We prayed at another shrine close by with some incense, and then we walked toward Momijidani Park and Mount Misen.
Momijidani Park was very peaceful and beautiful and there was a lot of deer there just lounging around.
I initially planned to hike up Mount Misen, but our ferry would come before we made it to the peak so we decided to walk down after a few steps 😂.
Lastly, we bought some souvenirs at the local gift shops, and at 6:10pm we were on our way home.
July 16th – National Peace Hall
At around 2:30pm, Laura and I visited the National Peace Hall. This government-funded Hall is dedicated to remembering the A-Bomb and keeping a record of all hibakusha. I believe it has two counterparts in Tokyo and Nagasaki as well. It is very similar to the Peace Memorial Museum, but it is smaller, has fewer personal accounts, graphic images, and is completely free.
Currently, the Hall is playing the short film Trembling Gazes: The Message Left Behind by A-bomb Photographers for free. The film is about those that photographed the A-Bomb and hibakusha on that day. It was very good and tugged at my heart. Please watch it if you’re able.
Second Week Conclusion
My second week was great fun and very productive. Bonding with the directors and Laura was so comfortable, I love it when we all spend time together. My favorite part of the week was Miyajima, it’s so beautiful there. Stay tuned for more!!
P.S My apologies for being late with this blog everyone, but you’ll understand why when I post about week three. Also, I’m going to make a new tab just for food so you all can see what I’ve been eating. Please look forward to it! 😁