I have been moving around a lot recently.
In the past month, I have visited Nagano, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Wakayama, and Okayama. It sounds like a lot of fun, but most of the time I was sleeping on trains. These past two days had been spent visiting Hiroshima with my mother and my younger sister. I am really big on traveling by myself, so I was a little stressed in the beginning of the trip. A lot of factors could have caused the ill feelings; I wanted to do a lot of sketching, but I didn’t think I would do much work while I traveled with my family. In the afternoon, I started to feel better after the cranky emotions subsided.
Last week when I was in Wakayama, I experienced a work-o-holic type of selfishness where I did not want to give up my precious time to talk to anyone. I was so adamant to get a sketch done that when a stranger greeted me, I would just nod politely without saying anything and quickly be on my way to find a quiet place to sketch. The drawing turned out fine, but when I look back at it now, I feel melancholy.
One of the reasons I had started drawing in the first place was because of the beautiful friendships that had formed through art and talking to people I didn’t know. It made my drawings interesting and I would smile when I looked back at the memories I had made. Slowly, I started to forget why I started sketching in the first place. I would focus on myself more than the people around me. That day I drew in Wakayama, I caught the picture but I lost the experience.
My challenge for the Hiroshima trip was to do my best to be open-minded and not let myself be controlled by negative emotions. Cranky feelings did take their toll, but when I could help it I did what I could to be pleasant.
Going to Hiroshima: Morning
I woke up to a phone call from my mother asking if I was awake and ready to leave. The previous night I had chaperoned my younger sisters on a three hour hike up a mountain in the middle of the night. I went to bed dead and I woke up in the morning dead. I had not packed yet so I quickly stuffed a couple of T-Shirts into a backpack and went on my way at 6 o’clock in the morning. I cannot remember much due to the zombie state I was in, but it was a long 6-hour trip to Hiroshima.
Our first stop was the Holocost Memorial Museum. I was still uptight when we got there, and I had been wanting to use the bathroom since I had left my house. Four hours later, I was so excited when I found one at Fukuyama Station. I entered a stall, and right before I shut the door, a young schoolgirl stopped me and just stood and stared at me, looking confused at my decision to use the toilet though I had been waiting in line for ten minutes. “Do you … want to go first…?” I asked. She said yes and moved me out of the way.
Arriving in Hiroshima Prefecture, Afternoon:
We visited the museum, and it was arranged in a way that you walk through Anne Frank’s life. It made me remember the intense feelings I had when I watched movies like Shindler’s List and Life is Beautiful. There was some really graphic imagery in the building.
I found a beautiful poem on glass at the end of the tour that stuck with me.
The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone…
Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly way up high.
It went away Im sure because it wished to kiss the world good-bye.
For seven weeks Ive lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.
That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t life in here,
In the ghetto.
Looking around we also found a book that seemed like something I could use.
Who needs a break? Evening:
We planned to go to Mijyajima in the afternoon. Miyajima is an island that is famous for the huge Torii Gate and the deer sleeping all around. We were only there for a short while, but I managed to draw a sketch of a shop that sold oysters — a popular food there.
When we got back on the ferry to the mainland, we met a couple of Japanese girls from Yokohama that were also on vacation. We discovered that we were staying at the same hotel and had a fun time talking about traveling and the like.
When we reached our hotel, I was happy to take off my shoes. My mother, who has an incredible amount of energy, suggested going out again for the evening to an Irish pub she had been to on her previous visit. On the way, we bumped into the same girls from Yokohama and asked if they would like to join us. My mom stuffed them well and we all returned to the hotel exhausted.
We arrived at the hotel at 12 PM. As soon as I got back, I died on the hotel bed.