Just a one night stay in Hiroshima today, I’m a bit surprised by the lack of English comprehension of the locals here, even among the young people. With the close relations between the US and Japan, this wasn’t what I was expecting. Perhaps its the closed off, xenophobic culture that is talked about. Maybe the popular belief is that there is no need to learn a second language in Japan. Another observation I’ve made with all the student tour groups roaming around is that the students starting in middle school are separated between genders. Even in normal interactions, the boys and girls will self separate themselves. I think this leads to the way people here seem more lonely in adulthood based on the people I see eating alone. I think its normal for kids to separate themselves by gender, but in countries outside of Japan, their will still be some mixing, like what I see with my Thai students.
In terms of sightseeing, I also went to go see the war museum in Hiroshima today. Much of the reason why I wanted to visit this city is because I want to witness firsthand the history behind the first use of the nuclear bomb in war. It was an interesting exhibit and seeing it from the opposite perspective helps me in expanding my world view.
While America’s reasoning for the use of the atom bomb was to save lives in the fact that it would remove the need of a costly invasion. The Japanese put the emphasis that there were still many innocents lost in this decision. I believe there is no complete right or wrong in such a situation, but gaining an understanding of multiple viewpoints lead to more informed opinions.
I will also say that the Japanese perspective of WWII is more or less unbiased. They still fail to mention Japanese war crimes, but it doesn’t seem over the top like what I saw in Vietnam’s perspective of the Vietnam War.
Kingston S. Lim
October 2, 2019