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Saturday, April 1, 2017

PaGA 2017: Day 6 Nagasaki

Nagasaki, Japanese for long cape, is a rather unusual city, for it became the center of Portuguese and Dutch influence from the 16th through the 21st century, and is considered to be the most cosmopolitan metropolis in the country.  It has a population approaching half a million.

You might have seen the recent film Silence (Rotten Tomatoes:  85/70), directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver and Liam Neeson about Jesuit priests from Portugal in the 17th century.  The true story occurred in and around Nagasaki.  However, the movie was entirely filmed in Taiwan.

During the Meiji period, Nagasaki became a major shipbuilder under Mitsubishi, and in time a a key port for the Imperial Japanese Navy at Sasebo.  On 9 August 1945 the population was slightly more than a quarter billion.  The B-29 Bockscar carrying a plutonium bomb, Fat Man, was supposed to target Kokura.  However, it was too cloudy, so Nagasaki was the final choice, killing 35,000 (Wikipedia) or 75,000 (as shown at the Peace Park).  Similar to Hiroshima, some rubble was left as memorials.

There are three parts to the Nagasaki Peace Park.  If I give a 4 rating to Hiroshima's, Nagasaki's would be at least an eight.  There is more artwork, the access is considerate of the handicapped, and the museum is much, much more sophisticated.

Unfortunately, the only Cherry Blossom tree in bloom at the highest (elevation) facility was this one:

Long range and closeup views of the Peace Statue, which is made of bronze, is 32 feet tall and weighs in at 30 tons.

His right hand points to the threat of nuclear weapons, while his left symbolizes peace.  I took this photo while having an early brunch:

The middle section is the epicenter location, and had a couple of cherry trees in bloom, plus my Blue Bar Pigeon appeared:

The yellow Fat Man is the shape of the plutonium atomic bomb that exploded over Nagasaki:

Here is, I think, a hydrogen bomb:

This globe depicts where nuclear tests occurred, with their relative magnitude:

World nuclear stockpile:

The films being shown in the theater were difficult to watch.  I wonder if President Harry Truman would have given the OK if he had a way to witness this tragedy before the decision.  No matter, for it is said that the quick surrender saved millions of lives, Japanese and American.  Maybe more important, Russia would have swooped in to claim half of Japan.  Just look at how North Korea is doing.  That would certainly be Hokkaido today.

Again, I had the intestinal fortitude to catch the streetcar ($4.50 for an all day pass) to the stop close to the You Me Plaza.  Good thing the staffer at the JR Kyushu hotel wrote down Wako Inaba, for there is nothing in English outside.    He also said go to the fourth floor.  I had to show the sheet to the person checking people in:

The place was crowded, but I think I was given a table because someone saw I had a walking cane.  I did not realize until I came out that people were sitting outside in a line.  This meal exceeded all my expectations.  The whole set was $10, with a $5 large bottle of Asahi Dry.  I can very highly recommend Wako Inaba as the best place in the world for pork tonkatsu.

Next, I thought I'd take the tram to Glover Garden, which has a long history related to Thomas Blake Glover, who first came to Japan from Scotland through China in 1859 at the age of 21.  He is credited with helping industrialize Japan, supplying arms and warships to factions toppling the Shogunate, restoring the Emperorship.  He had a common-law wife, Awajiya Tsuru, and they had a daughter.  The garden sits around their mansion on a mountain just outside of Nagasaki City.

This is a well-organized botanical park, with the latest in escalators and people movers.  Alas, the Sakura was still sparse:

This is how foreigners dressed in those days:

The final scene is of a dragon:

Apparently, dragons are popular here because of something called Nagasaki Kunchi, their autumn harvest festival, which was first held in the 16th century.  The dragon dance was the Chinese contribution to the October parade, and expanded to New Year's Eve.

Exhausted, I wended through the market next to the hotel and purchased my dinner of soba, sashimi, sake and stout:

All the above cost $15.  Kenji would love that Kirin Stout, which can't be found in Hawaii.

Incredibly enough, I ate while watching the Japanese-dubbed version of the original West Side Story (Rotten Tomatoes:  94/84).  I mean, John Astin speaking Japanese?  Who is he?  He was not Sean Astin's biological father, but he was married to Patty Duke when Sean was born.  All very complicated.  She was bipolar and during that period was also dating Desi Arnez, Jr., and got married to Michael Tell, who, it was later determined, was the real father of Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings).  And, by the way, she passed away last year.

In any case, it was in 1961 when Gale asked me out to dinner followed by the opening of West Side Story in San Francisco.  She arranged to borrow my roommate's car and paid for both dinner and movie. In the year we dated that might have been more than I spent on everything else.  But she wasn't on scholarship.  I wonder what she's doing today?

Natalie Wood (born in SFO as Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko) to the right died in a mysterious accident when she was only 43, being married at that time to Robert Wagner, for the second time.  Richard Beymer (top photo), George Chakiris and Rita Moreno, all my age or older, are still alive.

Nagasaki sunrise:

Tomorrow:  on to Osaka.  I know the Sakura is blooming in neighboring Kyoto.


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