Japan Day 7, July 9th

I had far too much to drink last night, and a a result I’m writing this with a huge hang over while on the Shinkansen. While the prior night’s rain put a damper on my plans, it lead to better weather today. Better weather made for better adventures.

I started my day off by heading the to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Unlike the history lesson forced upon me the night before, the Peace Museum holds a very unbiased display of the events leading up to dropping of the atom bomb, and follies made by Japan leading up to and before the war. The museum touches on the motivations of the Americans, British and Russians during that period, neither condoning nor damning anyone.

While very informative, the first two sections are a bi hum-drum, focusing on the situation with nuclear weapons in the past and the present, and the hope for wars of all forms to end, nuclear disarmament to occur and for there to be peace amongst all nations. Some of the literally writing on the wall was a bit niave, asking why wars still occur around the world after the atom bomb was dropped. Perhaps such niavite were shared by everyone, therewpi;d be the peace they long for.

The third and final section was the most powerful, focusing on Hiroshima at the time of the bombing and the resulting disaster. Relics from the blast, such as watches stopped at the moment of the bombing and a lunch box that survived with its contents burnt beyond recognition. The wax display of a smalll family walking amongst the rubble, their skin melting off,, was what I remember clearest. The track that accompanied it on my audio guide was heart breaking, an excerpt from a short story about the atom bomb I had read back in college. Finishing with the museum, I ate lunch in the surrounding park and tried to take it all in.

I set off for Saijo next. The area is famous for its sake, and this small town is paved like breweries like Kyoto is paved with temples. The ride was 45 minutes out of the city, and the beauty of it reminded me why I love the Japanese country side. A group three first year of middle school students were shocked to see a foriegner on the train, and the two girl pushed the boy to speak to me, which we did a little in Japanese. Once we reached Saijo they all shouted “Bye bye!” as I disembarked from the train. I only made it to four of the eleven breweries in the area, but I was well buzzed from samples at just those four breweries. I made of with five bottles for under five thousand yen though.

When I returned to the hostel I realized I would be able to bring all of the sake bottles back home with me due to size and wait. I wasn’t too keen on lugginng them around for the rest of my trip either. I chose three bottles that I would keep, and decided I would drink the other two before departing for Kobe the next day. As soon as the hostel workers began making a takoyaki and omonoyaki dinner for those of us in the common area, I offered up my sake for any takers. This was how I met the party crew for the evening: The Ozzies Stephan and Mike, the Canadian Terri, and the Israeli Daviid.

We drank and chatted and made plans for the evening, our numbers grew to about ten when we left at ten, and included Masa, one of the hostel workers. The following is the best recollection I can make of the evening, because it is all a bit hazy. Our first destination was Barcos, as it advertised in the local maps and supposedly has a good dance scene. While we took our time in finidng the place, it was ultimately empty when we arrived, so we chose to head off somewhere else. Thankfully, we were drinking along the way and able to maintain our buzz between bars. We asked many of the locals where they suggested, and were eventually guided to another bar. This place was a bit more happening, with a few locals and a handful of foreigers. We learned they were part of a Michigan teachers group touring Japan giving lessons and taking classes. They were all nice, but only three of them were under 30, and since I was the oldest one in my group we soon opted to head somewhere else. We made our way into a mall, and found a cafe Masa was fond of. Outside of one other guy and the three cute bartenders no one else was there, but it was a nice place to relax for an hour. I chatted with Ai, my bartender, and eventually bought her a beer. The cafe closed at 11:30pm, which was fast approaching. I invited her to come out with her, but in the end it was futile. Sometimes I just have no game. We searched for a final stop for the evening, and ended up at some basement club. In a brief moment of brillance I had left all but thirty dollars in my locker at the hostel, so I wouldn’t spend too much money that night. Unfortunately, the club had a fifteen dollar cover, and I only had thirteen on me. As a result, another party-goer and I made our way to an ATM, and I withdrew about three hundred dollars, which will be about three thirty with international wire and conversion fees. At least I didn’t spend anymore more than the fifteen to get in after that. Before going inside I chatted with a few of the lcoals hanging around outside, and followed two girls down the stairs to the dark, moody club and hit the dance floor with them. The place had a good vibe, and we all made a go at dancing and chatting with whoever we could. Around three we called it a night, stumbled back to the hostel and passed out.

Tally for the night:
Started drinking at: 5pm
Cups of sake drank: 10 (50mL)
Beers drank: 9
Cans of Shochu drank: 1
Beers drank after 10pm: 6
Bars visited: 4
Status of liver: Vendetta, plotting revenge

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