Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Clouds

Two dates. August 6, 1945 and August 9, 1945. It’s been 70 years since bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These dates will be forever remembered in our history. The devastation is unmatched.

dome
Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima

War is a sensitive topic to discuss. Lots had been said about the horrors of war especially during World War II (WWII). And every time WWII is raised, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are always the points of discussion.


 remnanthiroshima
Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima


During my school days, our teachers often told us stories about the WWII including the fate of the comfort women and the mission and purpose of kamikaze (suicide pilots). How life was generally an everyday struggle under the Japanese Army back then.  I have to admit that I was afraid of Japan and Japanese when I was young. Many years later though, I found myself working in Japan,  was able to learn more about the country, its people and cultures and have been to various prefectures including the peace museums - Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum in Nagasaki.


memories

Summer Clouds
夏の雲

I fly my kite, 
race it against the summer 
clouds. The breeze 
is always the winner.
Crows as close second. 

凧を飛ばして、夏の雲と競争させる
いつも風が勝者となり、カラスが僅差で二位

I see the dragonflies beat 
the butterflies in their own 
duel. Colorful 
poppies say so. 

色とりどりの芥子の花は言う
トンボがチョウとの競争に勝ったと

I listen to the hymn 
of a stream, never-
ending. 

私は終わることのない、せせらぎの讃美歌を聴く

I fly my kite 
but the sun seems closer, 
and the summer 
clouds thicker. 

凧を飛ばす
しかし、太陽が近づいたと思うと夏の雲が厚くなった

My watercolor world 
turns to a charcoal 
painting

私の水彩画の世界は灰色の世界へと一変したのだ

the day,
I lose my kite, 
and my eyesight.

その日、私は凧と視界を失った

/totomai
(thanks to my friends for translating the poem to Japanese) 

bomb
Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima

Living in Japan for almost seven years and visiting the affected places opened my eyes to the other side of the story. Some  of my questions were answered. Though some of the latest information I found out confused me especially after reading the poems, letters and haiku of the suicide pilots days or hours before there mission . All I can say is that there are no winners in war. Everyone is affected and it may take another lifetime to heal the wounds of war. Or not.

dome
Hypocenter Park in Nagasaki

Discussions, justifications of what had happened during World War II may continue and will not reach a conclusion. No matter what, it is already a part of our history and cannot be easily erased.  The Hypocenter Park is known to be the exact place where the atomic bomb was dropped in Nagasaki. The first photo above is the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, one of the structures left standing after the Hirsoshima bombing. More or less 70,000 people were killed per attack. Some stories of the survivors can be read here

naga30
Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum in Nagasaki

The clock shows the time to be exactly 11:02 am. Many believed that this was the time when Nagasaki was bombed. The clock is one of the few remembrances of war being exhibited in the museum. These museums are free of charge, or at most will only charge you for a donation. Take this opportunity if ever you are in Japan.

nagasaki 91nagasaki 90

Scars of War Children

mementos...
carelessly carved
within their marrow
by senseless combats.

 mementos...
always evoking replays
only to stop haunting
the very moment
their tombs are erected!

 /totomai

dome
Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima

As mentioned earlier, I am currently interested in reading stories of the kamikaze, or the suicide pilots. I bought two books and watched films about them. Most of them were in a situation where the only acceptable answer was YES.  Reading their poems and last letters to their loved ones gave me a lump in my throat. They are still humans after all. I will never forget this haiku written by a suicide pilot.

to bloom is good 
to fall is better 
i am a young cherry blossom

~ kamikaze pilot

I am ending this post by recommending the two war films "Eternal Zero" and "Grave of the Fireflies". Watch them if you have time, the former was one of my favorite films last year and am also eagerly waiting for the translated version of the book. The latter was one of my favorite animated films of all time depicting the struggles of a brother and sister during WWII. 




Photos taken with Nikon D7000, 
lenses used : 
      Nikkor 18-300mm 3.5f 
      Tamron 11-16 mm 2.8f 
      Nikkor 10.5 mm 2.8f

totomai 
2015/07/14

66 comments:

  1. The horror of war is that so many innocent people are harmed by them. The last two verses of your poem brings that home. Sadly the majority of people are still the cannon fodder that was referred to many years ago.

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    1. Right Robin - I can't see the faces of innocent victims suffering just because of selfish motives from higher authorities.

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  2. My watercolor world
    turns to a charcoal
    painting.

    Such deep & powerful lines!

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    1. In a wink of an eye - innocent lives are changed

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  3. Such poignant imagery - like witnessing innocence lost..i think being open and questioning the past is one of the responsibilities and maybe even privileges of being older...a wonderful post as ever Totomai

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    1. indeed, being open is one of keys to know more about the past and to understand every aspect of it.

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  4. We live in a world where perspective is the God, what we choose to see we see through lenses that we create. This is a powerful testament to the ability to let defences down and love win. Well done.

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    1. Thanks - I am hoping there will be no more war and every one be filled with love.

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  5. some thoughtful observations and a beautiful poem..."My watercolor world / turns to a charcoal /
    painting."...these appear to be the sigh of the comfort women of the past....

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    1. Could also be true - emotional bombs are much worst. Bless the comfort women who are still fighting for justice

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  6. Heart wrenching lines that leave a lasting effect on the mind.

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  7. Your poem is absolutely riveting. It puts the reader on the ground that day. I personally cannot understand how humans could unleash such horror on other humans - for any reason. Those two events are a black mark in the human history books. The suffering of those on the ground - innocent non-warring humans - is incomprehensible. Thanks for making us think about them again - we must never forget.

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    1. When I went to the peace museums where some of the images of war were shown, especially that of innocent, I can't helped but get teary eyed. I just can't imagine myself being there that day and how it was unleashed -

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  8. A lovely post. I like how you don't pass judgment. This is something incomprehensible. Your poem says it all. Thank you.

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    1. Perhaps judging would create another conflict :)

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  9. the last lines are really what this was about for me, a perception changed of an image long ago burned into our memories.

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  10. Wow, yes - those closing lines are so powerful.

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  11. So well penned, Totomai. Wars are extremely bloody in large part because they are fought over race, religion, ethnicity, or language, which can bring out the worst in people and have led to some of the bloodiest conflicts the world has ever seen....Yes, the wounds will never heal!!

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    1. Those scars, especially that of the children affected in war, will never heal.

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  12. I have argued that neither bomb was needed, after all just because you have the power doesn't mean its needed or should be used.

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    1. i'm still thinking why the second bomb has to be dropped after the seeing the devastating effect of the first

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  13. The joys of living gets snuffed out of its colors to be reduced to the drab of black and white. It is sad when this happens! Great write totomai!

    Hank

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    1. to those affected, it will be forever black and white

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  14. Your photographs tell a lovely story of their own.
    What I have learned is there are so many beautiful people in our world; they are so different from the men who sit at the world's chess board.
    Thanks for this powerful post Totomai

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    1. Thanks Moonie - I am trying to show the past through my photos.

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  15. "but the sun seems closer" - this line just about sums up what happened that day. powerful stuff.
    and the photo of the atomic bomb dome is simply stunning. a picture that can tell better than a thousand words.

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    1. Thanks Ds - i am in awe while taking the photo of the Atomic Bomb Dome

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  16. chilling. War = there are no winners - and I appreciate your perspective. Thank you.

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    1. i always feel for the innocent... thanks Margaret

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  17. The Hiroshima memorial is a heart wrenching experience... the scale of suffering and devastation is impossible to grasp. The sight of young school children trying to understand and learn was the only flicker of hope for a future without senseless wars.

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    1. I agree Thot - seeing the actual pieces of lunch boxes, school uniforms, bicycle is heart wrenching

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  18. Totomai, i like the poem above the last one. about the day the world ended when the speaker lost his eyesight. made me think you know? i like poems and stories and videos and songs like that. you're a genius!

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    1. Thanks James - the song is one of my favorite Japanese songs now.

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  19. The title "Scars of War Children" drills the heart and pain oozes out...a heartfelt poem totomai...

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    1. Thanks Sumana, hope no more children will experience war

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  20. The watercolor world turning charcoal is such a solid image, and so tactile - especially in light of the topic. I like too how you use childish things, the flying of a kite - as it signals too th e loss of innocense with the drop of the bomb. Hopefully we never have to do something like that again, or see such loss.

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    1. I say never again X, never again.

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  21. That first poem painted a picture, a happy one till the last five lines turned it in a completely different direction! The loss was felt, and it hit hard. Powerful poetry.

    Leo @ I Rhyme Without Reason

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    1. Thanks Leo - some even lost their lives during war..

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  22. Totomai, your first poem is very, very moving....the change from a watercolor world to a charcoal painting. And, as for your second poem, perhaps these monuments are erected to give the haunting feelings a place to rest. Your post was very moving to me, as I just last week visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The memories were very evident there....still haunted me, as I remember the day so well; but generations of people will now be able to visit what will soon be the distant past -- just as Hiroshima and Nagasaki are for our generation, as we move further and further from those times. But the world will always have a place to remember....and pray that neither of these two events are replayed in the future. I wrote down the name of the movie & will see if our library system has it.

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    1. Thanks for a very thoughtful response Mary. I also hope that scenarios such as 9/11, WWII won't be happening again.

      The movie is a good one. It tackles the lives of suicide pilots. If the translated book is available, I'll inform you too.

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  23. I love the photographs and have a deeper appreciation of Japanese sufferings Totomai ~ The ending lines of your words moved me as was the loss of innocent lives & impact on health ~ There are no winners in war as sufferings & death affects both sides ~ Thanks for the history lessons ~

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    1. Thanks Grace, I think you are aware how we were told about the Japanese when we are in school.

      everyone is a victim...

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  24. i never liked war movies, and very few i have seen, but i would listen to local documentaries of old veterans and relatives talk about the WWII and the rations cards for food etc here in the Caribbean, i could well image front-line country memories to be extremely painful

    have a nice Sunday. thanks for a very very interesting post today

    much love...

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    1. Documentaries about war are good too Gillena. Have a nice weekend

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  25. Your words and photos help us to remember that we must never forget the true cost of war will always be in human lives destroyed, forever altered.

    Elizabeth

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    1. Or forever gone.. Thanks Elizabeth

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  26. The sadness and loss of life on all sides of war is too much...no matter the war....the innocent caught in the cross fire and the combatants lured to fight and give their lives.....there are no winners in war is the real truth of war. Fabulous images and words totomai!

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    1. Thank you very much Donna. WWII is a part of our history though, no matter how painful it is to remember

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  27. How true that there are no winners in war. The poems are delicately beautiful, which makes them al the more affecting, and your whole account here is very sad.

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    1. Thanks Rosemary, perhaps I'm just emotional while writing them

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  28. You've captured the feelings so well.

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  29. Another wonderful reading here on your site :-)
    ZQ

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  30. An interesting, edifying and moving post. Incredible notes and pictures. Wonderful poetry!

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  31. your posts are always so beautiful, filled with lovely pictures, poems and prose ... like reading a magazine article ... informative, too, great job. Totomai! :)

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  32. War is a terrible thing... destructive... mother of horrors and killer of dreams; someone's dreams always die... so many kites shot down and drowned in the confusion of blood, screams and smoke.

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    1. How many more kites will be shot down? Thanks Magaly for your thoughts.

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any thoughts to distill?

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