Days 21 – 23 – Bye Bye Miyakojima, Hello Hiroshima

My last full day in Miyakojima went exactly as I planned, I went to the beach which was really close to me and ate at the restaurant close to the hotel.  I was never going to trek after my antics yesterday!

I cannot remember if I told you before, but I went to the drinks vending machine and saw a bottle of grape juice.  A metal bottle, looked like a coke bottle, and had a bunch of grapes on it.  When I bought it, opened the lid and went to take a sip of my refreshing grape juice… it was a bottle of Grape Jelly.  Classic Japanese, just when you thought it couldn’t get weirder, bottled jelly.

I have been watching a load of ‘American Horror Story’ and blasted through the epic first two seasons, and I now have season 3 downloaded ready for Hiroshima and beyond.

Day 22 and I was sadly leaving Miyakojima.  To be fair though, I think 7 days was enough for me and I was suitably refreshed ready for the last leg of my trip.

I got a taxi to the airport (not what I intended but the buses are so infrequent).  The flight went really smoothly, domestic flights are so simple in Japan.  Osaka Kansai was voted the airport with best luggage process in the world (it’s a UK Created award apparently) so that was a dawdle too.

Japanese kids do not like flying.  I don’t know if their ears get more affected than Western kids but it was carnage.  Air Stewardesses actually get involved with the babies and kids, they pick them and try to cheer them up etc.  They were also dishing out ear drops of some sorts. It did not work for them all though, and I was tempted to offer my services.  Not sure me lobbing the kids in the luggage compartments would have gone down well mind but it would have drowned out the noise.

When I got back to Osaka, I was staying in that minging hotel for one night again.  First, I had to go and collect my temple which my previous hotel were kindly holding for me.

I also exchanged my 2nd JR Pass which was for 7 days so that would take me up to the 2nd august leaving me two days I needed to pay for any travel.

I mentioned in the minging hotel that I had stayed before and I am not sure if that is one of the reasons my room was actually bearable. I dumped my bags and headed off to Dotonbori for one last time.

The weather was amazing so I wandered up and down Dotonbori and saw the Glico Man for one last time.  I had dinner in the restaurant I had Yakisoba before and had the same again.  Once I had finished dinner, I headed back to the hotel for the UEFA Champions League Draw.

Some of the menu choices are worth noting, I stuck with my Yakisoba which is basically stir fry with Pork, some other options were

Grilled Beef Tongue with Salt

Chicken Skin with Citrus Sauce

Grilled Gizzard with salt

Grilled Cartilage with Salt

Grilled Beef Gristle an Konjak

When I got back I realised Dane had given me duff information and the draw wasn’t until 1am my time.  Given I had an early train to Hiroshima, I knew this would be grim.

I tried to get some sleep but couldn’t and up I was from 1am – 4am for the draw, the dates and the booking of flights for Munich and Athens.  I can rarely make the first match day and I was gutted Zagreb was MatchDay 1 leaving me with two trips I have done before in this years Group Stages.

I struggled to get to sleep after that because I get a proper buzz from UCL draw day.  I decided to go the station earlier and I was decimated, I could feel my body shutting down, I was not looking forward to today!

So day 23 started pretty badly, I was feeling grim, I had no shower and was absolutely dead.  Carrying the bags (and my temple), was not easy this morning and I actually managed to get some sleep on transport I think.

When I got to Hiroshima, the weather was great and I dropped my bags off in the traditional Ryokan I was staying in.  I could not check in until 3 which I was not happy about as I needed a sleep and a shower!

Anyway, I headed off to the A-Dome which is where the atomic bomb struck and the structure of the building which remained (somehow) after the attack.  I then went to the Peace memorial park and museum which was good to see.

I have to say I did not feel the same as I did when I went to 9/11 memorial.  It is probably because I watched 9/11 unfold on TV so felt a connection with the events.  The part which did hit hard I guess was the children’s peace memorial, commemorating the dead children in the bomb attack.  It is amazing because there are thousands of paper cranes which children’s groups from all over the world send on a regular basis.  I am sure that my best mate’s mother said her class did some and sent some over (Norfolk) but I may be making that up.  Given the conversation had likely taken place at one of their family events, I was almost certainly hammered when having the conversation.

After the peace memorials I headed to the Hiroshima Castle which was pretty cool.  I am never going to be ‘castled out’, I love them and love Japanese ones.  This was my fifth castle on the trip and I think there are two more to go (with Kumamoto supposed to be very special).

I also visited some gardens nearby and then headed back to check-in and get freshened up for some food.  I decided to have a granny nap as I was dead on my feet and felt al to better when I headed out for dinner.

I ate at a nice Japanese restaurant tonight.  I went for Salmon and Tuna Sashimi and was brave and had a local dish called Gyoza.  I had no idea what it was exactly but she said meat and it looked lie a potatoey thing so I gave it a go.

It was all really good and I have just looked and Gyoza are ‘dumplings filled with ground meat and vegetables and wrapped in a thin dough’.  After wandering around checking out Hiroshima, I was surprised by how built up it was.  Loads of bars, restaurants and shops, it was a pretty cool place.

I am having trouble with my Macbook Pro trackpad which is annoying, so will need to get that sorted when I get back.   As long as I can launch my TV series’ I am happy.  It better not play up when I am trying to get The Arsenal on tomorrow.

I am looking forward to tomorrow, a day trip to Miyajima on the Ferry.  All covered by the JR pass, as has bus travel today too, a hop on hop off bus which I was happy about because was not in the mood for trekking.

I forgot to mention there was a guy outside the peace memorial with a load of files full of his mothers memoirs who had survived the Atomic Bomb.  It was really interesting stuff and hopefully I haven’t lost the link to the YouTube documentary.

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