Because Team 2 works more camps than we are supposed to according to our contracts, we are given a 10,000 Yen ($80) stipend to spend on a 3-day trip anywhere we wanted to go. Because I am already going to Tokyo at the end of the trip, I opted to go with a group to Nagasaki.
It was a great decision! We had a great time and I was able to budget my money really well (and the stipend helped a lot). We all opted to take the 2.5 hour bus ride from Hakata Station in Fukuoka as it was the cheapest option, and it wasn’t too long of a ride. We finished our camp at 2:30 that day, and then we left for Hakata Station at 3:30- with all of our luggage that we brought to Japan, as we were not coming back to Global Arena (sad day) L As I have accumulated many things since my arrival, I had an extra bag to haul with me. Regardless we arrived in Nagasaki about 8:30 PM; Ian, Danny, Rachel, Stacey, and I were staying in a hostel called Casa Noda, about a two-minute walk from the train station. It was a really small hostel; only 2 rooms but it had free breakfast and WIFI and was conveniently located in the city center, an added bonus. I was a little sketched at first but then I realized it was a really cool and chill place; by the end of the second day the owner knew all of our names and where we came from, so that was cool. We met a lot of awesome people from Korea, Holland, US, and most importantly France; the two Parisian girls who shared our room with us were traveling Asia for 2 months during the summer holidays and had visited seven countries; at first glance I thought they were English because of their very impressive English accents, but when I learned they were from Paris, I immediately asked if I could speak with them in French. It was a good first night. Later that evening we went to a bar downtown, run by an American man named Kendle. He actually came to Japan as an AC through Guy Healy, just like me– he just never left. He actually is from Wisconsin and used to be a professor at UW River Fall, and now he runs a popular bar in Nagasaki. We met a wonderful bunch of Americans and Japanese that night; some of which we made plans with for the next day; I had a wonderful time!
The next day we sort of just took it easy; we slept in, made breakfast, showered, and then tried to decide what to do. Danny, Rachel, Stacey, and I opted to go to Peace Park and the Atomic Bomb Museum, as that was my main motivation for coming to Nagasaki (to pay my respects). Nagasaki is a relatively small city, with a convenient public transportation system, but also really easy to walk. We opted to walk because we were all poor college students and it was nice out. We wanted to see more of the city by foot, anyways, so we set out with a map and were on our way.
Most of the houses are built on these wonderful hills
Within an hour we found the museum, and then proceeded to spend about 3 hours inside (most Japanese people, I was told, spend about 30 minutes inside the museum.) It was an awesome museum, though also very sad and moving (I cried) and I learned so much history and new information that was never provided in our own history books. It was also interesting to get Japan’s perspective on the bomb and the situation rather than just the US’s. Here are some photos and explanations below:
Outside the bomb museum
Outside the bomb museum
Actual replica of the atomic bomb dropped in Nagasaki
A clock found in a house the day the bomb went off- it stopped working at 11:02 AM- when the bomb exploded
Exact spot where the bomb hit
After the museum we were starving, but we stumbled upon Peace Park before a restaurant, so we continued onward.
In the shape of the crane
Mother protecting her child from radiation
My feet absolutely killed after this so we started to make the long trek back to our hostel to regroup and make some dinner and decide what to do next (by this time it was already 6 pm!) Stacey and I ventured further to find a 7/11 store, as that is the only store in Japan with an ATM that accepts our international credit cards (both of us were fresh out of cash). That night Ian, Danny, Rachel and myself decided to venture to Nagasaki Harbor for a night of relaxation. There were a few bars and restaurants, and just a long, quiet, beautiful port to walk on. It was cool to just people watch and check out the locals.
Nagasaki port by night
The final day was really awesome. My friend Mayumi, who goes to school with me at Oshkosh but lives in Fukuoka, hooked me up with a few of her friends who live in Nagasaki, so on that final day I found myself with Shuzo, Kumi (Shuzo’s girlfriend, and who actually works at Casa Noda, weird coincidence), Mengu (who is a student at UWO but studying abroad in Nagasaki), and Kenji on the beach of Iwojima (not connected to the monument in Washington DC). It was a relaxing afternoon of swimming and eating. Then we got to go to a hot spring!! After that, I went to a famous parfait restaurant with the boys & Kumi, where we ate the biggest 120 centimeter (4 feet) parfait in under 25 minutes!!
Rachel (19, UWRF), Kumi (25 from Nagasaki), Kenji (21 from Tokyo), Mengu (23 from UWO), Danny (20 from UCLA) and Dana (21 from UWO)
Oh yeah… 120 centimeters tall! (4.5 feet)
That night we returned to Kendle’s bar for one last hoorah, where we met up with other people from our group, staying at a different hostel. Then, 4 of us went to Mengu’s house for a Japanese House Party. It was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to hang out with Mengu again at Oshkosh this upcoming semester. I am so glad I got to go to Nagasaki. I learned so much history and I met some lifelong friends.
Christine- awesome American woman we met at Kendle’s Bar- she’s coaching basketball here in Nagasaki, 4 years and counting…originally from Philly.
At our hostel!