The next day I headed on the Shinkansen to Kobe. Over these few days I was listening to ‘The Target Committee’ – an audiobook about how the American government went about choosing the targets for the Atomic bomb. Apparently Kyoto was the top choice by the military due to its cultural significance and presence of many intellectuals who supposedly understand the implications of this new weapon. How they would appreciate this when dead wasn’t quite explained.
In any case Kyoto was spared on the persistent objections of Stimson – the Secretary of War. He had visited Kyoto with his wife on their honeymoon and appreciated better than the generals what a wanton act it would be.
Next to me on the Shinkansen was an elderly lady on her way to Kyoto to meet a friend who spoke excellent English and we got talking. She told me was from Hiroshima and as I was wondering whether to ask was she there on the day she simply said that she was there on the day of the Atomic bomb.
We spoke about her experiences of that day – she didn’t go to the recent 70 year commemoration or the yearly ones as she said it is still too painful to recollect. Her fluent English was down to some years spent living in the US – how she felt living there after being nuclear bombed and still on medication for it I didn’t venture to ask. Zipping along on the bullet train didn’t give us much time but I wished her well as I got off at Shin-Kobe.
The Nada district of Kobe is known historically for for producing quality sake and there are a cluster of producers next to each other which makes for an easy sampling route.
Most of the factories simply had a tasting section and a shop with a little about their history but others such as Hakutsuru have a full museum dedicated to explaining the process of sake making. Or should I say the historical process as it’s all quite automated now and they don’t have people and straw barrels involved any more.
After tasting more different types of sake in a morning that one really should I ended up heading to Osaka to meet my friend Chisa laden down with sake glasses and multiple bottles which I really had no space for!
Chisa was the best tour guide for Osaka and we hit the main sights of Dotonbori and Skygarden along with an almost Glasgow-like restaurant where everything is battered and deep fried in front of you. Everything afterwards looks the same but tastes great!
The next day I said goodbye to Japan and finally headed to China flying to Beijing to meet up with Tim, Eugene and Pedro