Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Kyoto -Hiroshima (I)

At Kyoto train station, waiting for the Hikari Shinkansen (bullet train) bound to Hiroshima.
I've decided to leave Kyoto early and go south to see the city that symbolizes both the end of WWII and the change of our understanding of war.

Kyoto the celebrated city, the jewel of Japan is a city that one cannot see in a couple of days and after two days trying to cram as many temples, shrines, sites that I could, I felt that this effort was not only useless but deeply misguided.
There are pleasures that one can enjoy quickly or slowly. Sex and food are good examples of that type of pleasures. Definitely not the same pleasure at high speed but still pretty good.

And then there are pleasures that don't even exist at a quick pace. Like feeling your love for someone grow or watching a child mature.
Visiting Kyoto is on this scale. It is no use to see one temple after another. The quality of the city is hidden, hidden among the most hideous buildings I've ever seen. Going from one temple to the next not only does not reveal this beauty but destroys it by its haste.

Maybe I can someday spend a month or a year in Kyoto and learn how to love it. I don't know. What I know is that I could not just go from one temple to the next. It just didn't seem fair to the city and its treasures.

So I am heading out, on the platform in the early morning, waiting for the train to come.
I notice two kids standing next to a set of recycling bins.

The train is about to arrive when a man, wearing a black suit like 90% of the businessmen here, comes to drop a magazine in one of the bins. I can't see what it is (and even if I did, I doubt it would make a difference!) but the kids obviously can. The man turns around and leaves but they look with amused air into the bin, then to each other and start what sure seems to be joking around, acting as if they were going to retrieve the magazine from the bin.
Even in Japanese, I'm pretty sure I can guess what that guy was reading...


Blogger Solomon2 said...

There is another connection between Kyoto and Hiroshima you may not be aware of. Back in 1945 the U.S. was drawing up the list of cities to be destroyed by the atomic bomb, once the weapon became available.

Kyoto was near the top of the list, but Roosevelt's Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, drew a red line through it. He explained that he had once visited the city and considered it too beautiful to be destroyed.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert says hello, and wants to hear more when you return.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Just said...

Yes, I knew of that connection between Kyoto and Hiroshima (it's in the museum and also in a book I read a long time ago called "The making of the Atomic bomb".

It has a chilling effect to see the names of 5 others cities suggested as target. I can't imagine what people in these towns go through when they see the museum...

10:32 PM  
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8:47 PM  

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