A highlight of this week is our Peace Park tour. We had been to Peace Park a lot of time but getting an in-depth tour was definitely very helpful. It was beautiful outside when we received a tour of the Peace Park by a very energetic lady. Both me and Zoe were very impressed by how fast she walked and her deep passion for telling the story of Hiroshima. We got to know more about the people who were commemorated in the park, including the WFC founder Barbara Reynolds.
As part of our program, we also help with the training session that the WFC has for their volunteer tour guide. I was so impressed with how much effort given and passionate everyone was with peace and Hiroshima history!
That’s the highlight of this week! Glad to see you here!
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.”
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!
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
So glad seeing you here! My name is Hannah Nguyen and I will be interning with the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima through IWU Freeman Asia scholarship this July. I’m very excited to immerse myself in the culture and learn more about the effect of the historic atomic bombing in 1945. Due to the unique history of Hiroshima, I want to study the effects on the social fabrics of children’s lives including the loss of families, destruction of social networks, homelessness, and the challenge of ensuring that the next generation grows up to reject violence as a way of settling political disputes.
Besides all that, I’m also just really looking forward to having all the great food and meeting new peoples!