It was fitting that Hiroshima was the first city we visited in Japan. While everyone makes the intellectual and historical association with Hiroshima, current and past Hiroshima hits you in the gut.
I learned that the atomic bomb itself exploded 600m above the city. This was done to cause maximum damage with three forces: concussive, heat and radiation.
Hiroshima doesn't hide its past and the sadness is bottomless. Words really do fail to describe the enormity and severity of devastation of that day.
We walked around the Atomic Dome, the Children's Peace Monument and the various markers for elementary, middle and high schools and the hypocenter (see left), places that were simply obliterated in seconds.
But the ordinary human reminders are what connects your soul to the sheer destruction and very personal grief. At the Hiroshima Peace Museum, we saw pocket watches, burnt school uniforms, charred lunchboxes, glass bottles that melded together from the heat, and dribbles of black rain on concrete. You feel lost and loss.
The retail-therapy-oriented female segment of our little tour discovered Shu Uemura availability, Uniqlo and that sizes in Japan are *perfect* if you are a small form-factor Japanese American girl. And we all realized the ubiquity of Hello Kitty and Anpan Man.