Today I heard the second talk from a Hibuksha. His name was Soh. He was five years old when the Atomic Bomb was dropped and only three kilometers from the hypocenter. He goes on to describe what happened and what he saw. There was a large flash and his sister shielded him with her body. He clearly remembers what the people around him looked like. He remembers their burns and the way one boys nostrils were so badly deformed. He remembers the black rain staining his father’s underwear. He remembers how many of the wounded were prayed over by a religious man, but that he was unable to save any of them. Listening to the story, I was interested in learning what he focused on. He describes a lot of personal information and illnesses that he developed from the radiation. He goes into detail on the need to end all nuclear tests and stop developing nuclear power. He says we need to invent products that will make people happy. he strongly encouraged us to tell our family members that were interested in going into the weapon industry that this industry will not lead to a peaceful world. As his talk continues, he provides examples of good inventions and developments in technology. Statistics are shown about the negative impact of nuclear power. He ends by thanking us for listening to his talk for such a long time and smiling says, “Arigato Gozimas” – “Thank you very much.”
We were also able to walk through the Peace Memorial Gardens again. We were led by the Chairperson for the World Friendship Center, who is actually the first women to hold this position. While she was not a Hibakusha, she still gave us a very informative and interesting tour. It was interesting to note what she focused on differently than the other woman who led us through the park yesterday. She was a very enthusiastic tour guide, smiling a lot and nodding her head up and down as she spoke. She showed us two memorials that I had not seen before or learned about in detail. One was a memorial that contained a poem the other was a memorial to the Korean victims. The poem was part of an anthology of poems that were written in order to prevent use of an atomic bomb in Korean War. She pointed out that people in Hiroshima were prevented from writing about the atomic bomb by the United States and so in this poem the world “atomic bomb” is not used. The Korean Memorial is very interesting because it represents the desire within Hiroshima to reconcile with the people of Korea. The tour guide told us that the people of Japan feel very sorry for the Koreans for what the Japanese have done to them in the past. This memorial seeks to provide public awareness for what they have gone through and will provide reasonable assistance for the survivors, as well.
Today Lindsey and I also got to help with the English language classes. Having been able to teach English in the United States, I love any opportunity to use my limited knowledge and experience to help others learn English. There were two students today. Both were beginners. We only practiced their English speaking skills, talking about our lives, what we were doing in Hiroshima, what our hobbies were and what music we listened to. It was interesting to learn that their limited vocabulary centered on a little bit about their families and jobs and then mostly on the event of the atomic bomb drop in Hiroshima. On the subject of the A-Bomb was where most of the people I met in Hiroshima had the easiest time talking in English. It is interesting how the event continued to shape their lives and how it presented a way in which they were able to talk with the world….