Nagasaki visit  

Monday, 28 July 2008

The trip to Nagasaki went well and I managed to get pretty much everything done that I wanted to. I don’t know quite what I was expecting, but given that it’s a town built on heavy industry, I did expect it to be a little more, well, industrial. In reality, the first impression is that of a beautifully rugged bay bordered by lush tropical greenery. DSC_0289small The city occupies every nook and cranny of whatever flat space there is. Towering above in all directions are steep mountains, deeply forested and riven with verdant green valleys. Bamboo groves and trees cling precariously to the the steep valley sides; the deep green fastness broken by terraced fruit groves and the occasional dwelling perched on the valley side. The people are friendly and the pace of life seems appreciably slower than Tokyo. In short, it seems a nice place to live.

The peace and provincial tranquility of the place makes it all the harder to reconcile the place as it exists today with Nagasaki’s indelible and tragic entry in the annals of human history. Looking out over this sleepy town, it is difficult to contemplate what fell out the sky on that clear blue August morning 60 years ago, what it meant for the poor people of this town and what it meant for all of us. Of all the places I’ve visited, there is something about this place that makes it absolutely unique. Apart from Hiroshima, I can’t think of another place or another event that had the same pivotal importance for the human race as did the bomb dropping on Nagasaki. DSC_0273 The world and the course of human history changed that morning. As you stand there looking at the city from across the bay, surrounded by the convenience of modern Japanese life, you still can’t get that thought out of your mind nor even begin to understand the enormous suffering that the people of this town endured so that the human race might move forward.

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