Asia 2008:
Day 5 - Nagasaki, Japan


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Asia 2008: [Day 1 - Tokyo] [Day 2 - Kyoto] [Day 3 - Kobe] [Day 4 - At Sea] [Day 5 - Nagasaki] [Day 6 - Busan] [Day 7 - At Sea] [Day 8 - Dalian] [Day 9 - Beijing] [Day 10 - Beijing] [Day 11 - At Sea] [Day 12 - At Sea] [Day 13 - Shanghai] [Day 14 - Shanghai] [Day 15 - At Sea] [Day 16 - At Sea] [Day 17 - Hong Kong]

Friday, March 28: As we made our approach into Nagasaki, we were led by a boat spraying water and the sun was starting to rise.
We almost always book a cabin on the starboard (right) side of the ship, because it usually has the best views and it nearly always faces the port we're visiting. Nagasaki was no exception.
Our morning's shore excursion started with a visit to the Nagasaki Peace Park.
The park consists of a large square with a large statue on one end, and gardens, fountains, and smaller sculptures at the other end, spilling down the hillside.
To the left of the main statue is this small structure designed to hold strings of origami cranes, created as memorials by visitors.
Up close, it's possible to see the detail of hundreds of colorful folded cranes.
Here's a little tour of the sculptures in the park.
Each of these sculptures were donated by different countries around the world.
Here's one ...
... and another (this was a donation from Nagasaki's sister city and Debbie's home town, St. Paul, Minnesota) ...
... and another (this very cool one was from New Zealand) ...
... and another.
This fountain led to a series of steps ...
... which contained a garden running down the center of them, and that made Debbie very happy indeed.
Back up on the main level, this sign contained no English but made its point quite clear nonetheless.
The park was build on the grounds of the Urakami Branch Prison, which was leveled by the atomic bomb attack of August 9, 1945, killing all 134 employees and residents of the prison. The foundation is still visible in several sections.
The Peace Park is located a mile or two away from Ground Zero, which was our next stop.
Here, too, was a large statue commemorating peace, ...
... while a black obelisk indicated the exact position of where the bomb exploded in the air over the city.
The remains of a church were moved to the Ground Zero Park grounds, ...
... and another nearby structure housed more origami crane memorials.
The cherry blossom trees were nearly in full bloom, ...
... and they added their beauty to a lovely park on a sunny day.
We headed up the hill to the Ground Zero museum and got one last shot of the park grounds.
Just outside the the Ground Zero museum, we saw one of many statues of Nagasaki's mascot. We ran across many mascots during our time in Asia, designed and named by committees to represent cities or conferences or expos or the upcoming Olympic Games.
In the sunny atrium of the museum, we found even more handmade crane memorials.
A sunny spiral ramp leads to the dark entrance of the museum. No photographs are allowed, so you'll have to use your imagination or visit the museum yourself. There were many photographs and artifacts inside and it was very moving.
After we toured the museum, we went to the museum's cafe to have some tea and a snack. First, we checked out the plastic versions of the foods on the menu to see if we wanted any.
Indeed, we did. We ordered the mixed sandwiches, regular tea and Royal Milk tea, and Kasutera cake, which Nagasaki is famous for.
On our way back to the tour bus, we got this gorgeous shot of a white magnolia just coming into bloom.
Nagasaki is filled with flowers. A variety of flower designs decorate the grates surrounding trees on the city sidewalks.
After our tour, we crossed the street from the ship and headed up the hill. This pedestrian street is lined with souvenir shops and cafes, almost all featuring Kasutera cake in one form or another.
The oddest things we saw for sale were these: license plates from Indiana and Iowa. They appeared to be genuine, but we were baffled as to how they got here.
At the top of this shopping street is the entrance to Glover Garden. This amazing destination is a large park containing gorgeous gardens and old colonial homes that have been relocated to the grounds and restored as a museum.
Moving ramps and escalators take you from the entrance to the very top of the hill, and you make your way back down from there. The very first stop is this home, ...
... with an extensive fish pond out front, ...
... and a large hawk soaring lazily overhead.
From this point, there are views of the entire city. In this shot, you can see the top of the last escalator we mentioned earlier.
Here's the view of the harbor too.
We started to make our way down the stairs, paths, and ramps to each different layer of garden along the hill.
Debbie was in her element, of course.
We're not big museum fans, but we did peek into the preserved homes to see the rooms with their antique furnishings. Wouldn't that chaise lounge look lovely in our home?
The fountains on each level were unique.
After remarking that we still hadn't seen any Japanese maples in Japan, we finally realized that we probably had, but that their distinctive leaves hadn't appeared yet. We found this tree with very tiny leaves just starting to appear.
This fountain contained several sculptures honoring the actress, composer, and subject of Madame Butterfly.
This little water garden featured several real turtles, so this photo is for our Claire, who loves to pick up turtles and turn them upside down.
Here's another beautifully preserved home. Stay with us, because this park just keeps on going.
So this is what hellebores look like in full bloom. Our own hellebore plants had just started blooming for the first time ever when we left for this trip. This display gave us hope for the future.
More old buildings, more cool gardens, more amazing views.
This map/rock/sculpture pointed out all of the different places of interest in Nagasaki. Not included on the map was our very own ms Statendam shown in the distance.
This display cracked us up. This dining room was restored right down to the plastic food that might have been served in the olden days.
Another level contained a classic Japanese garden.
Of course, there were inquisitive koi in the ponds, curious to see if we were going to feed them.
These starflowers were growing everywhere, including between rocks, so this gave us hope that one day they'll thrive in our garden.
Once we'd finished touring Glover Garden, we made our way back down the shopping street, picking up some souvenirs, boxes of Kasutera cake, tiny bottles of Japanese mystery alcohol, and a big bowl of noodles to share with our last few yen.
Buh-bye, shopping street!
By the way, if you're on the ship and you're wondering how to get there (as we were when we first arrived), just cross the street, then go one block back. You can barely see it here -- take the road just to the right of the building at the far left. The green hill in the foreground on the right is where Glover Garden is located.
Meanwhile, back on the ship, a troupe of tiny Japanese children had performed a song and dance show, which we watched on the ship's onboard programming channel later on. Here are the little ones gathering for their trip home down on the plaza below our ship.
As the ship prepared to leave, this amazing group of drummers performed for us. We love Japan.

At dinner that night, the views during sail out were beautiful. This is a country we'd be happy to come back to some day. (We did in February 2010.)

Day 6 >


Asia 2008: [Day 1 - Tokyo] [Day 2 - Kyoto] [Day 3 - Kobe] [Day 4 - At Sea] [Day 5 - Nagasaki] [Day 6 - Busan] [Day 7 - At Sea] [Day 8 - Dalian] [Day 9 - Beijing] [Day 10 - Beijing] [Day 11 - At Sea] [Day 12 - At Sea] [Day 13 - Shanghai] [Day 14 - Shanghai] [Day 15 - At Sea] [Day 16 - At Sea] [Day 17 - Hong Kong]

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