ramblings of an electronic engineer.

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Japan Trip 2016: Hiroshima

The first day of my trip to Japan was spent traveling from Narita (just outside Tokyo) to Hiroshima via a Shinkansen. This ended up been great mode of transport since there there was a lot of countryside we got to see as well as some cities we would visit later in the trip.

Arriving at Hiroshima we found our hotel, the Grand Intelligent Design which was decorated in a completely ‘over the top’ manner I’m sure only Japan could pull off with suits of armour in the foyer, chandlers in the reception and generally been decorated everywhere to the extent you had to question if it was really necessary.


After settling in it was time to use what was left of the day day to explore the city a bit. So we took a bus to centre of the city to the peace memorial park and walked back to our Hotel visiting some of the shopping arcades along the way. We didn’t spend too long looking around the park through since we planned on travelling there the next day and all in all it was a really fun day and a great start to our trip.

The next day we headed back into the city to the Peace Memorial Park and visited the Peace Museum which was does a very good job of conveying the horror and scale of the atomic blast over Hiroshima in 1945. Walking though the museum the piece that really struck me as to the scale of the attack was a large diorama of the city set up in the middle of a room. This diorama (below) showed the only buildings that were left standing after the blast and in the centre of the city a red sphere representing the initial fireball. Looking and studying the diorama I started to realise certain landmarks such as the train station we came in, the location of some ruins, the peace park and finally the path we followed through the city the prior day all of which all were completely destroyed.


The rest of the exhibits were equally effective at portraying the magnitude of the blast ranging from bent steel I-beams, to the glass bottles that had been fused together from the intense heat and more macabre examples of the effects on the victims of the attack. What happened on that day in 1945 can be described as nothing short of horrific and I feel that it is a place you need to visit in order to fully appreciate the magnitude and loss of the city.

After our visit to the museum we got ice-cream (which helped to cheer me up a little) and walked through the memorial park where many were paying their respects to the victims of the attack at the various monuments scattered throughout the park. I must say to spite the destruction that took place in Hiroshima it was encouraging to see a beautiful city had been managed to be rebuild many years afterwards. The park was full of trees and foliage and a lovely river which juxtapose the remaining ruin, the A-bomb dome and memorials.

Before departing for our next destination we had one more stop to make in the city, Hiroshima Castle. Like most castles in Japan this one was (obviously) destroyed and rebuilt to match it’s predecessor. The castle grounds are quite expansive and gardens unsurprisingly very well maintained. The castle itself consisted of around 5 or so levels with a viewing platform at the top. As a whole the castles is setup as a museum with different exhibits on each level, some were dedicated to the history of the castle grounds while other focused on samurai suits/weapons and castle defences. Of the two castles I visited in Japan (the other been Osaka castle) I’d have to say that Hiroshima Castle I found the most interesting. In particular my favourite of the exhibits were on the construction of samurai swords and armour each of which the attention to detail is phenomenal.



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Japan Trip 2016

Around 3 weeks ago I arrived back home after traveling around Japan for 17 days. Overall the experience was incredible and included many firsts for me, for example first time traveling to a country that speaks a different language.

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I traveled with my sister whom had made two trips over to Japan before (one to present a paper at a thermodynamics conference, the other for a holiday) so I was in good hands and managed to get away with only knowing a little Japanese. In fact I recall my japanese vocabulary consisted of the following words: good morning, good day, good evening, thank you, excuse me, yes, no, please, numbers (one, two, three etc…), seriously, idiot, how are you?, goodbye and me too. It’s interesting exactly how far you could get with just knowing some simple dialect and pointing to things though. At any rate most Japanese people know at least a little english and the most trouble I got into was accidentally ordering two different chicken burgers at Mc Donalds instead of one.

Over the course of the trip we traveled over a great deal of Japan, very broadly we arrived in Tokyo and traveled to Hiroshima, Onimichi, Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo, Kawaguchico/Mt Fuji, and Tokyo once more. Each city I found was unique in it’s own way and I’d happily visit every one of them again if given the opportunity. Anyway for this post I thought I’d share a few overall impressions and observations I had during the trip that I found to be particularly noteworthy.

After first arriving in Japan the infrastructure of the cities and suburbs really surprised me. My initial expectation was that everything would be quite modern and incorporate lots of electronic smarts but in actual fact save for a few exceptions their building and transit infrastructure looked like it was all build in the 80’s and 90’s and had not been upgraded much since. It’s not that Japan doesn’t have any modern technology, Osaka for example has some very new modern consumer buildings and the Shinkansen are obviously quite modern but it was definitely my observation that these were in the minority.

From my understanding there was one a time that Japan had a reputation for having the cutting edge technology and was the place to visit for the latest gadgets and electronic goods. However visiting and looking around at the goods sold at places like Yodobashi camera in Akihabara this just isn’t the case anymore. The goods available are pretty much the same that are available back home in Australia.   I think this isn’t indicative of that there is less innovation happening in Japan and Asia than before but rather that the global market has opened up a lot more through distribution and new products are offered everywhere at the same time. After all why not release a new product in 10 countries rather than just one if you can? I will say to Japan’s credit their department stores such as Yodobashi do have a lot more range all in one place compared to anything I’ve experienced back home (I suppose it’s possible when you have a 10 level store though).

Finally it was interesting to experience the difference between rural Japan and more populated city areas. This is partly why I was interested in visiting Onimichi. During the train ride to Onimichi it was immediately obvious that the station announcements were no longer repeated in english nor any of the graphics translated. It makes sense that english would be less prominent the more rural you travel and I’ve heard similar experiences by friends that have visited other countries but nether less it was interesting to experience firsthand.

Anyway I feel I’ve written enough for one post and as I start to review and edit photos (I’m about halfway through currently) I’m sure I’ll think of some other interesting things regarding Japan later. Look forward to sharing more in the future.



By the way hopeful content will start becoming a little more regular soon, for the past two/three months I’ve been having some issues with my main computer BSODing randomly which hopefully will be resolved soon. Besides this I’ve gone ahead and repaired by old macbook pro so I can start doing some writing on the train to and from during my lunch break at work. We see if it becomes habit or not.