hey... better late than never, guys.

a trip to nagasaki.
(for fulle photo albume clicke here)
Nagasaki city is located in nagasaki prefecture on the westernmost point of kyushu island. and i think it's the closest point to south korea, too. but don't quote me on that.
I went there from august 7th-8th. so why am i posting this so late, you ask? i was editing this video... it's of hashima, the abandoned island. i'll get to that later...

so on the 7th i left hiroshima in the morning and went to kyushu by shinkansen! it's the new line that goes through a tunnel (chunnel?) under the seabed. and i got to my hostel in downtown nagasaki right around 1 pm. 
then i went to Dejima!! I had learned a lot about dejima in japanese history class... in early modern times, when japan had its "closed borders" policy dejima was, legally speaking, the only place where foreigners could trade. the dutch traded there, mostly sugar, apparently. but it was also the hub of western learning (science, engineering, language, etc.) in japan.
from history class, i was under the assumption that dejima was off the coast with not much trade going on, and the dutch people there were super isolated and poor. in reality, it wasn't that bad! in japanese dejima means "removed island" but it is no longer an island, with roads surrounding it on 3 sides. in early modern times it was more like an outpost (like Fort Langley) with a moat, except the moat was the sea. in fact, the dutch lived quite a nice life, with servants and good food... and it was very close to Nagasaki Station. I walked to dejima from my hostel in less than 30 minutes.

poorly edited attempted panorama of Dejima i took with my SLR. 

a model of the Dutch people of dejima eating dinner. notice that the room is all tatami mats and yet they are using western chairs and wearing shoes. to me that is unfathomable. after 9 months in japan, wearing shoes/sandals inside (let alone on a tatami mat) feels about as normal as walking barefoot in the middle of a highway!

all the kinds of sugar that were traded at dejima.

a model of dejima.

nagasaki has a lot of churches--this is a catholic church, the first church i've seen in japan

nagasaki is also famous for its city lights... i took this with my SLR with no tripod and no editing, by the way. aren't I fabulous?

many parts of town reminded me of europe, such as italy. it was as hot as italy too... even though i brought my 1-litre nalgene everywhere i still had to buy bottled tea :/

on the other hand, Nagasaki is not all european influence! I also came across a Confucian museum. and figured, why not check that out?
(Nagasaki is also famous for "champon"which is a chinese-influenced ramen dish. the other famous food there is Castella, a type of plain cake, which is from portuguese influence)

so finally, the piece of resistance! hashima... the abandoned "battleship" island
it was inhabited by coal miners, many of them foreigners, and their families until 1974. it's a tiny island but was home to over 5,000 people at its peak in the 1950s. it's quite isolated from nagasaki city--about a 1.5 hour boat ride. 
it had a elementary school, middle school, pool, market, and pachinko parlour. the sea surrounding hashima is very choppy with huge waves crashing against the sides of the island. notice the spray of water from a wave in the last picture and compare its height with one of the buildings. it must have been at least four storeys in height. the boat lurched heavily throughout the entire tour. luckily i have a stomach of steel or else i would have lost my lunch. 
here's the video i took with my gopro, although it's not very good.

after gunkanjima i went to the memorial peace park. it's quite moving! here is a picture of a plaque that made me quite sad :(
'"I was so very thirsty
upon the water floated something that looked like oil
I wanted water more than anything
so I drank it just like that"
- from the diary of a young girl on that day'

I think sometimes, the most valuable way to learn from war is to read about a single person's experience of it.

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