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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

5F Day 11: Hiroshima to Tokyo

My Hiroshima Sheraton breakfast this morning had everything to do with peace.  While I started modestly, I added the largest croissant I've ever seen, with a cappuccino and a glass of orange/cranberry juice:


At the top of that mountain in the background is the Hiroshima Peace Pagoda, a Buddhist dedication to those who perished in the Atomic Bomb blast:


About my croissant:


I've become a peace advocate.  While I've always thought wars were idiotic, it seems that the nature of nature (even plants emit poisons to kill competitors growing around them) is such that survival carries the highest priority, leading to wars since our origins.  Will there come a time when there can be universal world peace?  I suspect so, but that could well be a century or millennium in the future.

It was on 29 May 2008 when Barack Obama was still contending with Hillary Clinton for the democratic nomination for president that I published my very first article for The Huffington Post:


Then, two years later:


In my travels I've regularly visited peace parks.  How many of you realized that there are 144 of them around the world.  The two most memorable happen to be located where the only two Atomic Bombs were detonated:  Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  They are glaringly paradoxical, for from the horror and devastation of these paroxysms came the two most attractive tourist sites in the world, especially when the cherry blossoms bloom in the Spring, and leaves change colors in the Fall.  Above this location was the epicenter of Fat Man over Nagasaki.

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Today, I'm a bit early for the fall colors, but I found my way to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.  On 6 August 1945 the 16 kiloton Uranium Little Boy (the black bomb) exploded over Hiroshima, and, while the numbers depend on who you ask, the eventual deaths probably amounted to 150,000.  After weeks of discussion with colleagues, I published a HuffPo in 2011 entitled:


Yes, both Hiroshima and Nagasaki appear to be free of any excessive radiation today, a status that has confused me, for the half-lives of uranium and plutonium isotopes are in the range of tens of thousands of years and longer.  The conclusion is that these elements take so long to lose energy that the actual real-time radiation is quite low.  This is as opposed to the radiative contamination from nuclear power plants, where the half lives range from 8 days for iodine and 30 years for cesium.  Thus the danger is higher from these particles because the radiation is released at a higher energy level.

So off I boarded the Hiroshima Sightseeing Loop Bus, with that pink building being the Sheraton.  Interesting that the bus driver took a photo of my Japan Rail Pass everytime I used it.


You can read read the details of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, so I'll mostly just show my photos:


The primary remembrance is the Atomic Dome.  Here is what it looked like before the A-Bomb, then after, and today:


I then had to catch the Shinkansen back to Tokyo.  I had my best bento yet:


The whole meal cost me $25.  However, the sake was provided by the Hiroshima Sheraton.

What is the fastest you've ever driven a car?  The bullet train travels at a speed between 150 - 200 MPH.  As I'm whizzing by, here are a few shots I took of rice fields, tea farms and even PV facilities, which seem more and more to now appear:


On the subway, 75% are in some way using their smart phone.  On the Shinkansen, people mostly sleep:


After arriving at Tokyo Station, I next transferred to the Marunouchi Line to take me to the Prince Gallery, which first opened this summer.  I had a Kir Royale at their Club Lounge:


You can't see them too well, but Tokyo Tree and the Ritz Carlton are close by:


I'll be staying at the RC Tokyo tomorrow night, and have signed up for their special Four Hands supper.  As the variety of dishes at the Club Lounge was not quite suitable for dinner, I went down to the second floor, where there is a mini-mall with a boutiquish market of high end foodstuffs.  Surprisingly enough, though, the prices are cheaper than Honolulu.  I fashioned an international assortment for my room meal:  Mexican beer, French blue cheese and black truffles potato chips, Italian mozzarella/lettuce/tomato salad, and American beef subway.  The desserts came from the Prince Gallery.


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