Flying into Japan was exciting.
My younger sister Linda and I had been flying for 20 hours,
from New Zealand to Kuala Lumpur and from there to Osaka, Japan.
It seemed to me a land of mountains and clouds.
As we flew over Osaka the rising sun suddenly appeared.
It felt like a blessing and a welcome from the Land of the Rising Sun.
I felt very emotional.
Linda had already been to Japan and through her daughter Nicola,
who lived in Japan for some time, had friends there, and a real love of this country.
Linda had often said she would love to take me to Japan..
and here we were.
Linda expertly led us to The Shinkansen, the Bullet Train.
Our first stop was Hiroshima,
a vibrant, modern city,
but one of significance for all peoples of the world.
This tower is like a crown of thorns.
Look! Cherry blossoms.
The Peace Memorial Park
was a place of poignancy and memory.
The Gembaku Domu is a familiar and moving landmark.
The horror of what took place here in 1945 is chilling.
The flowering cherry trees and the soft green of new leaves of
the weeping willows
will we ever learn.
I am very moved by the story of Sadako, the little girl affected by the A Bomb,
who set out to fold 1000 paper cranes, positive she will survive leukaemia
if she succeeds.
A sobering place.
But the city is modern and alive.
The people of Japan are a gentle, calm people.
There is much to learn here.