Thursday, May 19, 2011

Internet Access!

Oh boy, I finally have internet access at our house here in Iwakuni. It's been way too long. I missed my giant monitor and keyboard quirks from spilling coffee so many times.

Joe and I have been up to our usual shenanigans, but I haven't been taking many pictures. Over the last few weeks, we've taken an overnight trip to Hiroshima, Joe went to Hawaii for work, and we climbed a mountain to see the Iwakuni castle. We've also built a bookshelf, dealt with an unruly teenage Mini Cooper, discovered Mongolian BBQ night on base, and completed some joint scheming about another international trip - uh oh! Maybe I should try updating more often so I can detail some of the crazy stuff that happens around here. 

One huge thing that's been on my mind lately has been my job search! Iwakuni is a very small base and the job opportunities reflect that. Fortunately, it's PCS (Permanent Change of Station) season, so a lot of jobs will be freeing up in the next few weeks. I've given up hope for a job as a technical writer, but I know my skills can be transferred over to a number of other interesting fields.

We decided on a last-minute trip to Hiroshima because Joe was flying to Hawaii at 7am on Sunday morning out of the Hiroshima airport. We'd never been to Hiro before, so we wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to find the airport. 

We decided to stay at the Oriental Hotel on the main street of Hiroshima at the recommendation of one of Joe's co-workers. We made the mistake of staying during Golden Week, when every office in Japan is closed to give all Japanese a week of vacation. Great for them; expensive for us! The hotel room was spacious for Japanese standards and came with complimentary pajamas, slippers, hair ties, and tooth brushes (take note, America!) There were even controls at the bedside for every light in the room, along with background music (one option!) and buttons for temperature adjustment.

When we first arrived, the parking attendant explained through charades that our car was too low for the parking system. Here is Joe learning that he has to reverse out of the car chamber:
Our Mini, a low rider.
We dropped our overnight gear in the room and then went out to see the city. On our way down, we stepped out of the elevator and saw a Japanese bride and groom step in! Anyway, most people recognize Hiroshima as being the first city to ever be attacked with an atomic bomb. Everywhere you go in the city, there are reminders of the tragedy the city endured. Fortunately, Hiroshima has rebranded itself as the City of Peace, so you can see Hiroshima's Peace Park, Promenade of Peace, Children's Peace Museum, and more.

My toes: the Promenade of Peace
A tree that survived the bomb
The Eternal Flame
Personal favorite: the Children's Peace Park
Paper crane art
More artwork made of paper cranes

The Atomic Bomb Dome at the end of the Peace Promenade: one of the only structures left standing

Joe in front of Hiroshima Castle
I liked that Hiroshima not only has a Peace Park to commemorate the end of WWII and all the lives that were lost, but they also celebrate the samurai and emperors of the past. We had a chance to check out the Hiroshima Castle after we saw the Peace Park and we were reminded of the rich history of Japan. We also found a temple, but I'm still shy about going into one until I make sure I learn all the proper etiquette. I don't want to accidentally curse someone's ancestors or bring filth into the temple by wearing shoes.

We had a nice walk around all five levels of the castle and saw some samurai gear, katana swords, kimonos, traditional furniture, and had a view of Hiroshima from the top.

View from the top
At the top!
Thanks for checking out the blog!


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