Monday, April 23, 2012

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.


Oh Hiroshima.
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
inspire hope.
We wonder..
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.   

Sadako did not complete her task.. 

but her death triggered off crane making by Japanese school children
and children around the world. 

The beautiful cherry blossoms 

and the new shoots on the willow trees 

and the prayers of children
give hope. 

Coming to Hiroshima was like a pilgramage. 

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. 
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  1. I am so inspired by the gentleness of the people of Japan, and by this very moving post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here and these wonderful images.

  2. These are such beautiful images, Joan. I never tire of cherry blossoms in spring. They evoke peacefulness to me, and hope. I remember reading Hershey's "Hiroshima" in high school and it has haunted me since then. It should haunt us all.

    Such a touching story, isn't it, about the 1,000 cranes? Children here still read it, then make paper cranes.

  3. What a special pilgrimage Joan, and how fortunate to go with someone who knows her way around. Japan is so beautiful, and the stories very touching.

  4. Joan, this must really have been a very special pilgrimage. This is very touching. I'm so old that I remember the days of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It still makes me freeze.

    Japan is so beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing
    Grethe ´)