Travel To Japan – Nagasaki

28 Mar

Atomic Bomb Museum


The second time I went to Japan, I visited Nagasaki. Since I’d been to Hiroshima before, I thought I was prepared. I wasn’t. I guess nothing can prepare you for the results of war.

Inside the Atomic Bomb Museum, I remember seeing guards here and there around the perimeter. I thought I was fine. Then I saw the outline of a woman embedded forever in the stone steps she was sitting on while the bomb went off. Next I saw a diorama of children standing with their skin dripping off.  I do cry easily and I also think I hide it well, usually that is. I was shocked to hear loud sobs coming out of me. I didn’t mean to do that. A guard was instantly at my elbow. He asked me (in English) where I was from? I sobbed the United States. I remember escaping to the ladies room till I could compose myself.

There were buttons on the wall that you could push to hear survivors tell their experiences. I couldn’t listen to very many. This is one story paraphrased by me and subject to the limits of my memory.

A survivor related that she came to an elementary school that was devastated. In all the rubble, she heard a small voice and searched through the bodies till she found one that was alive.

The child said “Water.”

The person looked around and found a piece of rug. She ran and dipped it in a stream and let the water drip off it into the child’s mouth. The child said “Thank you,” and died.

I bought this book, FOOTPRINTS OF NAGASAKI which is a compilation of the experiences of girls from the Nagasaki Prefectural Girl’s High School. I thought I would read it, but I have only been able to skim it.

Outside in the courtyard there was a display of school children’s art – pictures of peace. It was very healing to see them, pictures in rainbow colors with all the earnestness of children’s wishes.

© 2010 J.B. Vadeboncoeur


Posted by on March 28, 2010 in Japan, Uncategorized


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6 responses to “Travel To Japan – Nagasaki

  1. Cherylann

    March 29, 2010 at 3:43 am

    Oh goodness! I have a hard time watching the footage on the news I do not think I could handle seeing the real results in person. Hugs!

    • purplume

      March 29, 2010 at 11:15 am

      OOh thanks for the hugs Cherylann. I still cry just thinking about it. I am glad I went though. XD

  2. Laura

    March 29, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Wow. I couldn’t imagine seeing that in person. I would cry too. Would you visit there again?

    My mom and dad still can’t bring themselves to see the Vietnam Memorial even though they want to.

    • purplume

      March 29, 2010 at 11:16 am

      I’m returning to Japan in Oct. and I am not planning to visit there again. It is too sad. I am glad I went though.
      Thanks for sharing about your parents. It’s good if they honor their truth – hey I sound like you XD.

  3. Marianne

    March 29, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I’m not sure I’d have the strength to go there. But if I ever make it to Japan, I think I’d force myself to.

    Perhaps the same reason you cried so hard at the museum is the same reason why I saw so many Japanese emotional at Pearl Harbor… a sense of guilt for what one’s country did.


    also, thanks for the congrats on my blog 🙂 And I hope to be a NICU nurse! What area were you in? Also, did you ever work at the hospital in Hawaii? If so, which one?

  4. purplume

    March 29, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Marianne, I think you are right, it was national karma in me releasing.
    I’ve never made it to Pearl Harbor yet. I think I’ve been reluctant to see it.
    I bet that is what is happening with the Japanese there. Now I am going to have to go there.

    My favorite was pediatrics. I ended up in ICU for a few years and after that I floated so I got to experience a lot of areas less intensely.

    I worked for North Hawaii Community Hospital here on the big island in their home health department with medically fragile children. I haven’t worked now in almost 3 years. I LOVE not working AND it was a big adjustment.


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