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Day 15 (Tuesday, 2016-08-23)Temperature: 35dC
A cone rolling on trains through Japan
Cornelius Cone d'Oranj decided to go to Kagoshima today. A 900km trip from Osaka to the southern most tip of Kyushu island. Unfortunately in the morning it was busy with some work related activities so it couldn't start planning the trip until 10:26 in the morning.
At T0 minutes Cornelius establishes the trip routes (with a contingency alternative for the return trip) and transfers them as PDFs to the mobile device. Water is replenished, bags are packed and retainers are prepared for a dash to the Shinkansen train station.
It took Cornelius Usain Cone 19 minutes from J-Hoppers to get on the Shinkansen. That was a close call.
|On the Shinkansen South the cone doesn't have much to look at. Tunnels permeate the landscapes. From time to time a town shows up. There are many green houses in a country as "hi-tech" as Japan. In fact everything that's flat has been built or planted upon. If there's a patch of forest in sight it almost always is on the side of a steep hill.|
|The Shinkansen passes by a refinery in a large industrial neighbourhood on the shore of the ocean.|
Cornelius is starting to feel tired as the Shinkansen trip is rapidly
becoming a blur of tunnels with quick glances of fishing villages. The
visual bandwidth imposed by the Shinkansen is tyring if sustained for
over three hours. That is to say the Cone's brain can not keep up with
the fast changing landscape that it experiences when on the Shinkansen.
The Cone determined that when traveling on the Shinkansen at 300kph one must gaze at least a few hundred meters away to prevent getting nausea.
At Fukuoka Cornelius hears the announcer enumerating Nagasaki as one of
the cities that it could transfer to. On this news it immediately
decides to change the destination for Kagoshima to Nagasaki. The tiring
Sakura Superexpress Shinkansen is switched for the slower (90kph)
Limited Express 42 to Nagasaki. The trip is estimated at 150km and it
takes about two hours.
A note is due at this point. One of the JR clerks at Fukuoka helped Cornelius plan this change in itinerary on the fly - his name is forgotten (it was never known actually) but his act of generosity is not. The Cone vowed to praise his deed in future retelling of this journey. Here is the route the clerk chose.
|Cornerlius has ensnared another unsuspecting train engineer. These poor humans don't even know what's going on - they're reply is always "Who me? You want me to take a picture with this? What is it?"|
|For future reference when designing a cup holder - these tray tables had multi diameter holes as cup holders. This allowed for a variety of cup sizes to be securely stored in them.|
|In some neighbourhoods every other house has solar panels on the roof. How many houses with solar panels can you count in this picture?|
|A decent looking christian temple on the way south.|
|In its travels around the Japanese countryside Cornelius saw a lot of farmed land but it has not seen many farm animals. It once saw a dozen cows on the way to Nikko and that was it. Maybe the Japanese diet is mostly vegetarian.|
|A cemetery in a small village at the foot of a hill|
|Cornelius reaches Nagasaki. On the last few kms it passes through a sporting center. Here were the tennis courts.|
|End of the line Nagasaki. This is actually one of the west most points of Japan. The train lines end here.|
|Of course, right in front of the end of the line one finds one of Japan's most treasured coffee spots - Seattle's Best Coffee. The cone doesn't consume coffee so it can't confirm the quality of the drinks.|
Nagasaki is a city of many bridges.
This is a miniature of the Megane (eye glasses) bridge in Nagasaki. The Cone didn't have time to visit it unfortunately. The bridge was built in 1634 by monk Mokusu - it is believed to be the oldest stone arch bridge in Japan. The reflection of its two arches in the water make it look like spectacles.
|The Cone is fighting a giant sea serpent.|
The Cone leaped from the sea serpent on this ship. This is actually a
replica of Araki Sotaro's ship who was a samurai from Nagasaki. In the
early 1600s he traveled the south asian seas and reached Vietnam. He
returned to Japan with one of the King of Annam daughters, Wakaku with
whom he established a trading emporium in Nagaski.
His boats were said to have flown the Dutch East India Company flag upside down. Those were the days... what can the Cone do?
|A notorious overhead electrical lines rat nest in Nagaski (as in most of Japan). This one needs some repairs.|
|The Cone has reached the Nagasaki nuclear memorial park.|
|Memorial decoration - the creator used a lot of artistic license when setting the size of Japan on the globe.|
|Another monument showing what appears to be melting human beings.|
|The Cone hangs out with the crane origami at this site.|
Note at the monument above
The women at home prayed for victory as their men departed for the battlefields. But then the blood of countless peoples was shed on the vast continents and the far away islands.
Finally, in 1945, as the war escalated, it brought the tragedies of the Okinawa islands followed by the inhuman atomic bomb attacks over Hiroshima on the 6th and Nagasaki on the 9th of August.
Ah! On that unforgettable day, in an instantaneous blast of indescribable heat the bodies of tens of thousands of men and women, mothers and children were hideously torn and burnt to death.
After more than forty years, the agony continues ever yet. Danger signs of a second nuclear war permeate our very existence. The earth stand at the brink of total oblivion.
We must not allow any more war! Nor the use of atomic weapons! Let us guard our precious green earth and preservea ll life of every kind.
We erect this relief, still hearing the bursting cries on that day of each of those women long silenced in death. Bringing together all the turmoil from the depths of their tortured hearts and minds, we pledge ourselves never to repeat that disaster.
August 1, 1987
|Nagasaki nuclear bomb park - 150,000 people were killed or injured in the detonation of a single bomb.|
|Hiroshima and Nagaski devastation. A single bomb (which was 100 of times weaker than current ICBMS) caused this kind of destruction. What have we created?|
Mother holding her child statue at Nagasaki A-bomb memorial. About 70%
of the victims that died in Nagaski due to the A-bomb were children,
women and seniors.
As for the slightly cringe Japanese description of the statue: "the sculptor's reminder [is] that the child is like Japan on the day of the atomic bombing, while the mother represents the support porvided by the countries of the world in Japan's efforts to build the peaceful nation that it has become today."
|Map showing destruction from hypocenter. Each concentric circle is about 300m apart. Nagasaki might have been slightly better than Hiroshima as it is located in a more hilly terain that might have shilded some neighbourhoods from the blast.|
|Granite monolith at the hypocenter. The bomb exploded about 500 meters above this spot.|
|The Cone is taking a break at the base of the Urakami Cathedral Wall Remnant. The Urakami Cathedral was the largest Catholic church in east Asia at the time of its destrcution. This column was moved here to make room for a new church building in 1958. At the top of the column the statues of JC with one of his apostles are depicted.|
|After all this desctruction the Cone enjoys little signs of beauty sprinkled through the city. Raindrops falling on flowers.|
|Cornelius stumbled into a Kendo store. The owner mentioned that his son went to Vancouver for one year as an exhchange student.|
|Nagasaki reminds the Cone of San Francisco with its hills and street cars. Look at this ancient train - it probably predates the A-bomb.|
|Did the Cone mention the hills that rise all around Nagasaki?|
|And this is the Art Museum in Nagasaki. The cone has 20 minutes left to return to the train station - but that's plenty of time to see what's inside.|
|If only the Cone could read Japanese he would be able to tell who the Samurai to whom he attached itself to is. Imposing pose - must be an important historical figure - might have even be one of the seven samurai for all the Cone knows.|
|Family sigils which most likely were placed at the end of the roof's eaves.|
|It appears that this diorama shows a pair of samurai visiting India during the 1800s.|
|Because Nagasaki was for a time the only Japanese port allowed to trade with the outside world it became very "international". Its strongest ties were established with dutch merchants - which brought with them their religion. Christian temples are more numerous in Nagasaki than in many other parts of Japan. Here are some statues of Mother Mary - which seems to be referred to as Maria Kannon.|
Oura Church built in 1864 also known as the Curch of the 26 Japanese
Martyrs - supposedly the oldest church in Japan and also until 2009 the
only wester-styel building in Japan to be given the title of National
The story of the 26 Japanese Martyrs consists of 9 priests and 17 laymen were executed by crucifixion in Nagasaki in 1597. Of course their persecution was connected to political battles where religion was used as another lever of power (suffice to say the shogunate was at first supportive of Catholic church as it reduced the power of Buddhist monks and helped trade with Europe but at the same time was wary of it as Christianism was defetly used as a colonialism tool - see the Spanish and the Philippines).
|In the 19th century the Christian persecution had died down such that a sort of renessaince came about. And here's a drawing of the Mother Mary from that era.|
|Top of the line squat toilet from the 1800s. Not bad - not bad at all. The Cone can see how this progressed to the highly advanced toilets of the 21st century.|
|The Cone has taken a seat at its desk where it receives foreign emissaries. The picture behind and the oppulance of the room is set for impressing the guests.|
|A guest pays respect to Its Highness Cone d'Oranj.|
|The Cone inspects exotic trade products that were landing in Japan through the port of Nagasaki.|
|The Cone continues its inspection of the goods - here it is looking at silk fabrics.|
|A few different ships in the dutch flotila of trade ships.|
|A diorama of a Chinese consulate in Nagasaki in the 1700s.|
|And this is a diorama of the Chinese Residential Quarter - which was rebuilt after the Nagasaki Fire of 1784. The Chinese Residential Quarter was constructed by the Edo Shogunate in order to control Chinese movement and trading activites - which were scattered across the city. After its establishment, the Chinese were no longer allowed to live outside of the Quarter. Once the country opened up to international trade in 1859, the residential restrictions for Chinese nationals were lifted and as a result the number of residents in the Residential Quarter declined. The Quarters burned down in 1870.|
|Chinese pottery that the Cone approves of. Look at that dragon! Whose a pretty serpent? Whose a pretty serpent!?|
|The Cone hangs out with three old bros.|
|A map of the route Spanish and Venetians traders took to reaching Japan. It looks like they had lay-overs in India, Phillipines and Hong Kong before getting to Japan.|
|A room the Cone poped its head into. Looks like late 1800 Japan furniture.|
|A Dutch / Japanese dictionary from 1833.|
|And a dutch clock.|
|Some sort of map with many dutch boats in it. The dutch really were buddy-buddy with Japan in the 1800s.|
|Equipment from the Nagasaki International Telegraph Office - here cables from Asia would reach Japan. The round cylinders under the desk are probably batteries.|
The Cone leaves the Art Museum at 18:07 and makes a run for it to the
train station. It gets on the train at 18:18 with two minutes to spare.
All these tight cut-offs are making the Cone's heart go doki-doki.
In this train the driver cockpit is isolated from the passengers quarters by a large glass wall that allowed the Cone to enrich its knowledge of how trains are operated.
|The glass looking into the train conductor's cockpit changes from transparent to opaque when the train stops in the train station. Presumably the conductor is doing something secret when the train stops. Maybe he uses a non approved JR watch to check his time.|
|As the night sets Cornelius realizes that almost none of the houses in the villages the train passes through have their lights on - which is somewhat depressing and does not fit with the expectations set by the central regions of Japan. After a careful observation the Cone notices some houses have very dimly lit windows indicating someone is there. What is jarring is the lack of street lights. Everything is very dark - perfect for star gazing.|
This is the train and train conductor that took the Cone from Nagasaki
Train rides in Kyushu feel a little harsher than on Honshu. Maybe the Kyushu lines are not as refined as the main island's. At the same time the train line in Kyushu are traversing very treacherous terrain over the ocean, on the shores of inlets and through tunnels dug into rock. Speaking of inlets each one of them has a little village built in its cradle and is surrounded by high mountains. No wonder these locations are very dangerous to tsunamis.
|And this is a Kyushu Shinkansen - looks slicker than the duck billed Honshu Shinkansens.|
|Even the emblems have more artistic flair in Kyushu.|
|The Cone is waiting to get on one of these Shinkansens that will take it to Osaka. The Cone observes that the faster the train the less squeaky and grinding noises it makes.|
|A pay phone - the Cone took a picture of it as an artifact of an age that passed. Handsets like those will become unkown to people who were brought up only using smartphones.|
Another night snapshot of Japanese landscape. If only the lights in the
cabin would dim down - the Cone wouldn't mind taking an all night train
The repetitive sounds of the train are very sleep inducing Cornelius can imagine a sleeping app in VR where one just travels on a train through Japan.
The voice on the intercom is announcing "Ladies and Gentlemen we will be soon making a brief stop at W. Please change here for trains to X, Y, Z." And these stops are indeed brief at about 2 minutes.
Keeping in tone with the time tight schedule of the last couple of days
Cornelius manages to exit the Fukushima train station at 23:54 on
August 23 with only 6 minutes left on its JR pass. That's pretty
ghiri-ghiri as a Japanese would say.
This is the Fukushima train station in Osaka at midnight.
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