You know when you go to a music festival and an unknown band comes on, plays the set of their life and blows everyone away. Then next comes the more famous band who come on, and they're fine but there's no buzz, no shock of the new.
That's the situation that Hiroshima was in, following Matsue's performance. When I think back on my time there, I can't think of anything wrong with Hiroshima, but I still felt a bit deflated.
First on the agenda was to go to the A-bomb Dome, the Peace Park and the museum. The Dome is, like a lot of tourist attractions such as Stonehenge) a lot smaller than you think it would be. Meanwhile, the Peace Park is a lot noisier than you’d imagine from the name with the bell from the Children’s Peace Memorial and the melancholy tone of the Peace Bell ringing out.
The museum is a very powerful place, and there is one corridor where some testimonies from witnesses spoke about how their loved ones died. There were only four examples, which is just as well because I was already starting to well up after the second. If there’d been more, I’d have been a blubbering wreck by the end of the corridor.
I also went to the Itsukushima Shrine on an island near Hiroshima. It’s famous “floating” torii. I also went up for a walk in the mountains, which absolutely exhausted me and didn’t have very clear weather, so no great views when I got to the top.
On the way back down I was passed by a woman in a dress and wearing not-very-hiking-type shoes and I did wonder if she might be a suicide risk. But then I noticed that if she did want to kill herself, she was going the wrong way (ie, down) and she was taking photos. Now, the whole point of photos is so you can look at the afterwards, suggesting a life span longer than this afternoon. Suicide alert over.