Tuesday, March 27, 2007


"Do you remember when I said bombing would begin in five minutes? Remember when I fell asleep during my audience with the pope? … Those were the good old days."--Ronald Reagan

"We must laugh at man, to avoid crying for him."--Napoleon Bonaparte

This preface is not really about Hiroshima at all. In fact, I could have used any of man's horrific tragedies to illustrate the point that I am about to make. There are plenty of unfortunate memories scattered throughout all of his time and travels through the world. Only, I happen to be living in Japan, and I happened to have a strong interest in what's wrong with the world, and there happens to be a city who chose to use the power of the horror experienced in order to now propagate peace. For this, I respect the city of Hiroshima.

I plan on sharing some pictures and some information that I picked up while visiting the museum, peace park, and the Atomic dome. But before all that, I want to address something almost unrelated, yet necessary. I want to talk about people.

As much as I'd like to be a hippie* and say that it is wrong to judge people, I would be a hypocrite to even suggest that I believe in the possibility of NOT judging people. Maybe it would be more realistic to try not judging people...too quickly. Behavior is the only thing that you can see coming out of another person. You cannot see their thoughts or experiences leading up to their behavior. Good behavior, bad behavior=good person, bad person? Hmm.

In leiu of this question, I'd like to mention the kind of people that I personally enjoy. I like people who make me laugh. Who doesn't right?
Sometimes humor in bad taste is my favorite taste. Why?
Don't know....just how I was programmed.
And I don't think there is anything wrong with it. But then again, bad people never really think that they are bad people. Much like how racists never think that they are racist. And what's that thing about feathers flocking together?

Immediately after meeting up with Steph in Hiroshima station, and jumping on a trolley to our Minshuku, my phone rings. "Someone's blowing you up, dude." she informs me. "Shhhh...you don't want to be saying that in this town." I reminded her. And we laughed a good laugh. And that's where it began, or perhaps the real beginning was the last travel experience we had in Kyoto where the trip was comprised of consistent joking.

Later in the trip, as we sat in a small restaurant with the window facing the beautiful peninsula of the Hiroshima harbor, we reminisciced about the picture that I wish we would have taken. The day before, as we made our way through the A-bomb museum, I obeyed the signs written in English not to use flash photography. I disabled my flash, but continued to take photos of the many charred keepsakes and large displays showing the destruction of the bomb. We turned the corner and came upon what looked to be two, freestanding, wax schoolgirls who stood in a lifesized diorama of a fiery war scene. Their exposed forearms and fingers appeared to have their skin melting from their arms. It was a pitiful sight. One that I felt needed to be captured on my camera. So, I took the photo and asked Stephanie in a whisper, "Do you think it was insensitive of me to take a picture of that?" and she whispers back, "No, but do you think it would be insensitive if I jumped in there like this?" While asking this, she tilts her head and smiles while bringing both her hands to her face in the oh-so-common peace sign pose. As we are standing in a room full of both Japanese and western tourists, I burst out laughing. Let me remind you that this room WAS silent. I duck my head, and she tells me to Shhhh. I try to stifle my laughter, only to have it erupt again at the burnt tricycle as I unintentionally remember her response.

So yes, we are sitting at our table sharing a large bottle of beer, staring at the sun on the water, and the deer napping. We discuss whether or not we should have taken that picture. What if she HAD jumped into the display quickly, with nonchalance, and snapped the photo? Would that have been going too far? We decided no. Who are we to mark the boundaries of what is and is not out-a-bounds in the realm of humor? Oh, and I think there was another conclusion....but it was lost in beer.

You can't be bad if you know the words to Mr. Belvedere.

It's the BOMB.

The infamous wax.

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