Reflection on the trip to Japan
Nguyen Ngoc Lan
Quoc Hoc High School, Vietnam
Whenever someone mentions the word “Japan", to my mind it is the country of the sunrise, the country of cherry blossoms, of the Fujii mountain and of the samurais. However, from the moment I arrived at Fukuoka International Airport, I discovered for myself much more than that.
Firstly, the city of Fukuoka impressed me as very modern with huge shopping malls, tall buildings, yet very traditional with numerous shrines and temples at the same time. The old and the new seemed to blend with each other so nicely that none of which looked the least bit out of place.
Secondly, the trip to Nagasaki really made me think a lot. I had an opportunity to listen to the Hibakusha (the A-bomb survivors) and I was so moved to hear the actual story of a ninety-three-year-old lady. Seeing the tears in her eyes when she recalled that terrible day helped me understand more about the tragic of war. Somehow, strangely enough, she reminded me of my grandmother who herself went through the Vietnam War as well. This made me realize one very crucial thing that the pain of war takes its heavy toll inspite of the race or the nationality. Everybody would suffer the same!
This thought kept running round my head during my trip to the A-bomb museum. It's not that we, Vietnamese students, don't know about the atomic bombs dropped in Japan, it's just that the consequences of them were far beyond my imagination. Everything on display was so real and shocking that up until now, I can still remember clearly the pictures of the devastated city, the terrifying looks on the faces of those survived and the bodies of those injured or dead. Although some of the exhibits did send shivers down my spine such as the helmet with pieces of skull stuck inside or photos of the burnt corpses scattered everywhere, I was truly grateful to have seen them. They taught me much more about the destructive and fatal impact of the war than any textbooks or lessons at school could ever do.
Nevertheless, the museum left me feeling extremely uneasy so I really appreciated that we also went to Peace Park. Bathed in the sunshine with the green grass, the cool fountains and the pigeons flying about, the park actually made me feel comfortable and relaxed. I felt as though within just a few minutes I was in two completely different worlds. One was dark filled with casualties, sorrows and pain while the other was bright and peaceful. This made me wonder whether or not that was also the distinct contrast that one could sense between war and peace. It dawned on me, then, how terrible it must be to actually be faced with the war and that we should treasure every minute of peace that we are now enjoying.
Looking back on the trip to Japan, I am very grateful for all the knowledge that I acquired. Therefore, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Shin-Eiken for organising this seminar.
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