A Travellerspoint blog

January 2010

DECEMBER: HIROSHIMA

My Junior High School Blog

Usually I have a big Christmas tree and many presents for Christmas - like this

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but this year I only had a very small tree and three presents

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Two of the presents were books (very similar as well - people know I like monsters!)

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I also had some 'traditional' Japanese style Christmas cakes :-)

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For me Christmas was more about travelling, and on the 26th we went to Hiroshima by Shinkansen.

Hiroshima is a places that everybody knows because of its sad historyI wanted to see it to understand that history better. The most famous feature and ‘symbol’ of Hiroshima is the A-bomb Dome that stands by the river.

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The peace park around the dome has many other memorials to that day, but dome is always the main focus with park planned to always show it framed in new and unexpected ways.

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Another interesting memorial though is the one dedicated to Sadako Sasaki.

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Her memorial is surrounded by display cases filled with paper cranes sent to Hiroshima from all around the world, many from school children who are learning about what happened there.

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Those last cranes are some of the ones folded by Sadako herself from her hospital bed, and they can be seen in the Peace Memorial Museum in the park.

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The collection is a mix of historical documentation leading up to the bombing, models of the city before and after the blast. Artifacts found in the aftermath and preserved, the most affecting of which for me were the watches and clocks; all stopped at 8.15 when the bomb dropped.

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Leaving the museum it’s good to be reminded that Hiroshima is now, once again, a city full of life. Even the trees blackened by the blast now put out new leaves in spring, and while it’s important not to forget some things, it’s also good not to think about them too hard.

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So, needing something a little lighter to finish the day, we were pleased to see that the town still had its Christmas illuminations in place; giving us a nice way to spend a wintery evening.

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Posted by DKJM74 00:11 Comments (0)

DECEMBER: SPECIAL REPORT

Christmas Cards and Manga Museum Trip - My Junior High School Blog

Firstly, I want to say thank you to all of the students who made Christmas cards for me!

They were beautiful and I was very happy to get them all and I think you worked very hard on them. Again, thank you very much!!

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Another great thing about getting all these cards was that I also had a really nice conversation about drawing and art work with some of my 3rd year students. They also told me about the Manga Museum in Kyoto, it sounded very interesting and we thought it would be fun to visit.
I asked Kyoto Sensei if it would be OK to visit the Manga Museum with some students and he said it was OK if the student’s parents agreed.

So on December 19th Muro Sensei and I took three 3rd year students to Kyoto by train.

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On the way we also met Peter Sensei from Shinasahi who was going to Osaka for Christmas shopping. The students enjoyed speaking English with Peter and they introduced themselves and spoke about music together.

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When we got to Kyoto it was easy to find the ‘Manga Museum’ as there were big signs at the station.

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The Museum was not what I expected – I thought there would be many exhibitions of art work and classic comics, but it was like a big library with many, many Manga on book shelves for people to read. Photographs were not allowed in the museum – except for ONE place!

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For me the most interesting thing was the chance to see a ‘Kamishibai’ (かみしばい) show. The woman giving the show was very friendly and funny, and let us take a photo there as well – thank you!

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After we finished looking at the Museum it was time to go for lunch, but on the way to find a place to eat we saw a very nice small shrine. So we stopped there and had a look at that too.

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We were all very hungry then, so it was time for lunch.

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We still had a little time to look around the shops around Terramachi Dori, but soon it was time to go back to Imazu. We took the subway to the train station, just in time for the train to Imazu.

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It was a really fun day, and I was very happy to spend more time with some of my students and learn more about them; their hobbies (Mai has a black belt at Karate!), their pets (Mika showed me photos of her rabbit – かわいい!) and their music taste (Mayuka likes visual rock bands).

Maybe next year, when it is warmer, I will plan another ‘English fun trip!’ – If any students are interested please talk to me about this!!

Posted by DKJM74 22:51 Comments (0)

NOVEMBER REPORT 2

Marine life, mountains, Momiji and Miho - My Junior High School Blog

November was a very busy month, with lots of travelling. My biggest trip in November was a trip to Osaka to visit the Kaiyukan and Sky Building.

I love all kinds of animals and nice zoos or aquariums are some of my favourite places to visit. Kaiyukan was my first Japanese aquarium and I was very impressed. There is a great collection of many things; not just fish!

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I saw otters, penguins, dolphins, crocodiles and seals as well. The tanks were really HUGE with a lot of space inside. The biggest tank was so big it was several floors deep. This is where they keep the Whale Sharks; the biggest fish in the ocean (anything bigger is NOT a fish). They have two Whale Sharks both about 12m long, I was very excited to see them as I had never seem them before.

In the evening I went back to the Sky Building to see the night view of Osaka with all the lights.

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Now it was late in November and the leaves on the trees were turning red so it was a good time to go looking or Momiji. My friends Connie and Bonnie also had the same idea and invited me to join them on a trip to Mt. Hiei the next weekend.

Around the bottom of the mountain there were some very nice red leaves on the trees, and some wild monkeys!! After visiting the monkey park in Kyoto because I couldn’t see any monkeys in other places, at MT. Hiei I saw a whole family of monkeys walking on the overhead cables.

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From the bottom of the mountain we took a cable car and a rope way to the top of the mountain. The weather was quite cloudy and a bit rainy, but the views were still really beautiful.

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At the top of the mountain is the Garden Museum which I visited in August. We didn’t go into the Museum, but we stopped at the viewing platform outside. It looked totally different today with the low clouds and sunbeams breaking through; very pretty.

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We took a long walk all the way down the mountain back into the town. On the way we saw a big deer watching us from the trees, and we found an old empty ski resort. By the time we got to the bottom of the mountain again it was really dark!!

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The next weekend I got another invitation from a friend to visit another mountain with Momiji and a museum at the top.

This time it was the Miho Museum, on the other side of the lake, and it was Leila’s plan. Miho is a private museum, built by a very rich couple, in a difficult to reach place high in the mountains. The building itself is maybe more interesting than the things in the museum; it is a very modern building, made with lots of glass and metal, nicely built into the landscape.

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The best part though is the huge entrance tunnel cut into the mountain that looks like something from a science fiction film; all metallic and shining in gold and silver.

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This was the end of November now, and the cold weather was coming in. The last few red leaves were on the trees, but this was the end of my first Momiji season.

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Posted by DKJM74 20:42 Comments (0)

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