Hiroshima Week 1: Learn and Unlearn

The first week of Hiroshima taught me many lessons; but the most important of them is learning to unlearn. I had many questions and expectations before coming here: how’s the radiation level there now; are there still lots of peace activism organizations; nonetheless, I was beyond excited to come to Hiroshima.

“This is so peaceful”

This is the first thing that came out of my mouth the moment I got to Hiroshima from the airport. Looking around, swallowed within the vastness of greeneries around me, it felt so surreal yet incredibly calm. Straight out of a Ghibli movie! It’s surreal to think that only 78 years ago, the first ever atomic bomb in human history was detonated in this city. Seeing the city thriving gives me the warmest sense of hope. It remind me of a hibakusha (A-bomb survivor) named statement I read a few weeks before coming: “But I still have hope that ‘humanity is not foolish,’ and I want to hold on to that hope.”

A photo I took on the bus from the airport back to a central bus station in Hiroshima

My first day here was filled with warm hospitality from everyone: the directors of the WFC, my host family and even the conbini (convenience store) workers! I’ve never felt more welcomed on the first day anywhere else despite being able to travel to many places before. This makes the transitioning period here 100% better.

Our task from the WFC for the first week is very simple. Getting familiarized with Hiroshima, the organization and organizing their library; which despite having a rather small collection, contains many insightful and incredibly graphic books regarding Peace Study, Atomic Bomb, Hiroshima or Japan in general. Although the library task is a little tedious, it was helpful for me to navigate through the collection and learn more about possible helpful books for my research. Oh, and my bad for forgetting to mention this before! Both of us, me and Zoe, will be conducting a research project during our time in Hiroshima. Mine will focus on the aspect of Peace Education and child development in conflict areas. I want this project to be the foundation for my

The process of unlearning occurred very natural to me. I gradually get rid of my uncertainty about the radiation from the past via reading many science-based research on the effects of A-bomb and current state of living in Hiroshima. It changed many of my skepticism and help me to gradually understand more about life here. Through the WFC, we were able to establish many great connection with people who lives in Hiroshima and experience Hiroshima a bit different than just being a visitor. We explored many great local food (still haven’t tried okonomiyaki yet!) and tried Japanese calligraphy!

A calligraphy of my name in Japanese (hana=flower)

There’s still much more to learn and explore, I’m so glad that you’re here to follow my journey. Will be back soon with more exciting news! Hope all is well <3

Peace out,

Hannah

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