Hiroshima Local Customs

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Most Recent Local Customs in Hiroshima

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    Sadako Sasaki

    by IreneMcKay Written May 10, 2014
    Sadako Sasaki Statue

    Sadako Sasaki was a little Japanese girl who lived in Hiroshima. When she was two years old, the US Army Air Force dropped an atomic bomb on her home town. The explosion blew her threw a window, but she survived.

    In November 1954 when Sadako was eleven years old, she developed swellings on her neck and behind her ears. In January 1955 purple spots started forming on her legs. She had developed leukemia as a result of the A-bomb radiation.

    Doctors told her devatated family that she only had a year to live, but Sadako did not want to die and she remembered an old Japanese story, The Legend of a Thousand Paper Cranes. The legend stated that anyone who folded one thousand paper cranes would be granted a wish. Sadako wanted to wish for life.

    On the 25th of October 1955 Sadako died. She had folded 644 paper cranes before becoming too weak to fold anymore. Her classmates folded the remaining 356 cranes in honour of her memory.

    You will see strings of paper cranes hanging on the peace memorials of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There are also statues of Sadako near her school and in the Peace Park in Hiroshima.

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    Remembering the past: hoping for the future

    by toonsarah Written Dec 11, 2013

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    Near the Atomic Bomb Dome we saw several displays set up by local people – some artefacts from the devastation caused by the bomb such as these roof tiles (photo two), posters campaigning for peace and some old photos of Hiroshima at the time, both before and after the bomb. This area just on the fringes of the Peace Memorial Park seems to have become a venue for individual local people who are keeping the memory of what happened on that day alive to express their feelings and, in some cases, share personal experiences with visitors.

    One of the displays held a rack of paper flyers promoting a blog by the son of parents who survived the attack (his mother being pregnant with him at the time), in which his mother describes the events of that day and the subsequent death of her father, his grandfather. This is a simply told, powerful first person testimony: My Father's sixth of August, 1945 in Hiroshima. The blogger, Mito Kosei, now works as a volunteer guide at the Peace Memorial Park showing English-speaking visitors around. I have read since our visit that he used to work at the museum but now prefers to work independently as it gives him more freedom to campaign against all forms of nuclear activity.

    Mito is one of the hibakusha, which translates as "explosion-affected people", as he was affected by the radiation in utero. Wikipedia explains:
    ” The Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Law defines hibakusha as people who fall into one of the following categories: within a few kilometres of the hypocenters of the bombs; within 2 km of the hypocenters within two weeks of the bombings; exposed to radiation from fallout; or not yet born but carried by pregnant women in any of these categories. As of March 31, 2013, 201,779 hibakusha were recognized by the Japanese government, most living in Japan. … Hibakusha are entitled to government support. They receive a certain amount of allowance per month. About 1%, certified as suffering from bomb-related diseases, receive a special medical allowance.”

    Leaving the Atomic Bomb Dome you can cross the bridge and enter the Peace Memorial Park, but before doing so there is one monument that lies just outside the park and is worth seeing, the Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students

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    Paper cranes

    by toonsarah Written Dec 11, 2013

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    Wherever you go in the Peace Memorial Park you will come across these origami folded paper cranes. They are left in their thousands at the Children’s Peace Memorial, but also at many of the other monuments, and we were given some by several of the school children we met, as mementoes and in thanks for the time we spent talking to them (see my Favourites tip). The cranes are a symbol of peace, and the reason for this can be traced back to Sadako Sasaki, the young victim of the atomic bomb whose memory inspired the Children’s Peace Memorial. Sadako was two years old at the time of the bomb. She survived the blast, despite being flung out of a window, but in 1954 developed leukaemia. She was hospitalized in February 1955, and given, at the most, a year to live. While in hospital she started to fold the traditional origami paper cranes so beloved of the Japanese. Her aim was to make a thousand, as an ancient Japanese story promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by the gods. One version of her story says that she didn’t manage to achieve this, having made “just” 644 before her death in October of that year. However, her school friends completed the task on her behalf and all thousand cranes were buried with her. But an exhibit in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (see this account) asserts that by the end of August 1955, she had achieved her goal and continued to fold more cranes.

    Whatever the details of Sadako’s mission, she has inspired several generations of Japanese children. Her legacy is a custom that brings colour to the memorials here and provides a visible reminder of the thousands that pay tribute to the victims. It is also a custom that has travelled the globe. When we were in New York some years ago we visited St Paul’s Chapel, a small church that stood almost in the shadow of the Twin Towers, but miraculously escaped any damage. In the months following 9/11, it served as a refuge for rescue workers, a triage centre for victims, and as a beacon of hope for the city. It is now a place of remembrance and among its exhibits are paper cranes sent by the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a sign of their empathy with their counterparts in New York – a wonderful manifestation of Hiroshima’s commitment to world peace.

    Next to another of the park’s major memorials, the Cenotaph

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    Paper Cranes

    by pure1942 Written Sep 14, 2010

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    The Crane has become an unofficial symbol of Hiroshima since the story of Sadako Sasaki became world famous.

    Sadako Sasaki was born in Hiroshima in 1943 and was only 2 years old when the Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Sadako survived the blast but several years later in 1954, she started to develop a rash on her neck. 3 months later the rash worsened and purple lesions started to form on her legs. She was diagnosed with a form of leukaemia and was hospitalised in February 1955, with under a year left to live.

    Following a vist from a friend, who told Sadako of an ancient Japanese tradition, which said that anyone who folded 1000 origami cranes would be granted one wish, Sadako set out to fold 1000 paper cranes.

    Some say that Sadako managed to fold over 600 paper cranes before her death, while her friends and family finished the thousand after her death and buried them with her. However, the accepted truth is that Sadako did indeed reach 1000 cranes but continued folding the cranes until her death in October 1955.

    Today origami cranes from all over Japan and the world continue to be sent to the Children’s Monument in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park and the thousands upon thousands of cranes on display around the monument are a moving symbol of children’s solidarity with Sadako and all the other child victims of the atomic bombings in Japan.

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    Stamps

    by Rabbityama Written Oct 14, 2005

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    Hiroshima Museum Stamp

    When you are finished touring the Hiroshima Peace Museum, you may notice that there are some stamps like the one in the picture sitting out. These stamps are very popular in Japan. The Japanese will often stamp brochures or pamphlets, and you can do this too if you have any from Hiroshima. Also, if you have/bought any books, you may want to stamp the inside cover. I never saw anyone stamp there hands, so that may not be something they do. These stamps are not only in Hiroshima. I found that many museums or tourist attractions have them, as well. I always enjoyed stamping books and other materials from the place where the stamp advertised. It's a fun and unique type of stamp collecting!

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    Traditional wedding

    by Ines28 Written Jul 10, 2005

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    Wedding

    When visiting Miyajima, we were very lucky to witness a traditional wedding at the Itsukushima-jinja. That was particularly interesting as the ceremony was held in the open shrine and everybody could watch. The guests were all well-dressed, the women wearing beautiful kimonos. The bride was dressed in a white kimono with a large hood, the face being nearly invisible. What was familiar to us was the exchanging of rings at the end of the wedding, but the music played was really strange!
    After the wedding we were so lucky to be able to take some "family pictures" of the whole wedding party.

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    "Ekiben" Rail Station Box Lunch

    by RoseAmano Written Apr 5, 2005

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    Hiroshima

    This "ekiben" is oyster broth flavoured rice topped with boiled oysters, fine green dry seaweed sprinkle, shredded scrambled egg, pink pickled ginger and carrot flower, with a side dish of fried oysters with lemon slice, boiled oyster in a somewhat spicy wasabi-miso sauce, sweet/salty dried little fishes, and pickled green leaf veggies.

    Definitely my vote for funkiest package concept, which also happens to be sturdy and re-useable. It is meant to represent a typical rice scooping paddle. Don't ask me why. However, I reckon this shape happens to have its function, as the bite-size foods could be stuffed toward the narrow end without fear of getting jumbled with the main dish during transport.

    Also, my vote for most novel food concept - oysters are a known Hiroshima specialty, but this presentation is quite unique, not to mention tasty!

    Generally, it is available for purchase only in this area, primarily at Hiroshima Station, and then only available during the winter months.

    Manufactured by local company Hiroshima Ekiben KK which was founded in the year 1901. Also provides general catering service and operate local cuisine restaurants. Their stated maximum production capability is 50,000 (!) lunches daily, with employing over 650 staff overall.

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  • Taking the tram

    by radiantb Updated May 10, 2004

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    Entrance & Exit on a tram

    Paying the fare on the local tram differs from state to state.
    We got scolded once in Tokyo cuz we thought we pay when we get off when its the opposite.

    In Tokyo and Kyoto, you pay when you get on the tram.
    In Osaka, hiroshima, you pay when you get off the tram.

    And in my country, the entrance is near the driver and the exit is towards the middle of the vehicle. Its the opposite in Hiroshima.

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    Did you know that in...

    by GenkiMac Written Sep 12, 2002

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    Did you know that in Japan........the number 42 is bad luck........that woman ghosts haunt taxi cabs......that dead spirits are sometimes embodied in female cats.........and that.....badgers are mischievious evil little wrongdoers!!! I didn't either but I did find a really good website, the address is in my introduction, which is really interesting and well written!

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    In case you don't read my...

    by GenkiMac Written Sep 12, 2002

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    In case you don't read my cultural tips in the travelogue above:The majority of Japanese don't have a lot of exposure to foreigners and maybe because of this or maybe because of the type of Western information that infiltrates Japan most Japanese think foriegners are cooler than themselves. This and the fact that the Japanese know they are very unique makes travelling easy for foreigners. They expect you to make mistakes and they don't expect you to be able to use chopsticks and they really don't expect you to be able to speak Japanese. If you can get something in your mouth using at least one chopstick you will be praised! If you get out a greeting no matter what time of the day it is and which one you used you will recieve 'wow' comments on your Japanese ability! In the big cities at the tourist attractions this may vary as they are more used to foreigners but step out (just to the next block) and you will find this to be true. Don't worry about what you are doing wrong- People will be staring at you anyway so don't get a complex- they like us because we are different (and they know you wont be in Japan for long!)

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    Everyone knows about taking...

    by GenkiMac Written Sep 12, 2002

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    Everyone knows about taking your shoes off when you enter houses or temples and if you forget there are normally shoes piled up outside anyway so its difficult to make a buu. However... did you know that you have to take your shoes off before entering a changing room?? A general rule is anywhere with carpet or a step up onto either wood or carpet. Its always a good idea to ask if you are unsure!! so as to prevent the gasp....that escapes as you commit a shoe error! for other cultural tips check out culture

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    Momijimanju: a Japanese-style...

    by Sharrie Written Sep 12, 2002

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    Momijimanju: a Japanese-style cake named after its shape. Popular for its simple but refined taste.
    Here, at the Hiroshima JR station, you can marvel of the high degree of automation in all aspects of the Japanese life.

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    Hiroshima is in exteriour a...

    by Pavlik_NL Written Oct 15, 2002

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    Hiroshima is in exteriour a rather different town then others in Japan. Obviously because it has been totally destroyed and therefor the city now has a new look. Wide avenues, large officeblocks in a chessboard-shape. Almost an American town which makes it even strange to know that the bomb came from them.

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    ORIGAMI CRANES

    by kiwigal_1 Written Aug 25, 2002

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    In Hiroshima you may see wreaths of coloured origami cranes. Each of these wreaths contain 100 paper cranes. They are a symbol of peace for the Japanese. It could be a fitting gesture to make one and place one in the memorial park yourself.

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    Momijimanju.

    by Sharrie Written Sep 1, 2002

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    Momijimanju: a Japanese-style cake named after its shape. Popular for its simple but refined taste.
    Here, at the Hiroshima JR station, you can marvel of the high degree of automation in all aspects of the Japanese life.

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Hiroshima Local Customs

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