It’s our 2nd day in Hiroshima and we’ve almost recovered from our long flight over. Yesterday, I took a walk around the city and the Peace Park. I always enjoy walking through the park because it’s so serene and beautiful, yet there’s always a tinge of sadness when I see the various memorials built for the A-bomb victims. The one that probably affects me the most is the one dedicated to all the children who died in the bombing – it’s a beautiful monument surrounded by display cases filled with tens of thousands of tiny tsuru, or little origami paper cranes. While I was there, a group of school kids had gathered to add their strings of paper cranes to the display in a very touching ceremony …
The boys had gotten up by the time I got back to the hotel, so we all headed over to Nanak to enjoy a great meal of curry, naan bread, and lassi, a sweet yogurt drink that cools you down after eating the hot & spicy curry. Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper meal without an ice cold mug of nama, or draft beer!
After eating we went back to the hotel to rest a bit before our first performance of the trip which was the official welcome reception in the hotel’s main ballroom. It was quite the formal affair with most of the attendees in black suits and formal dresses. The evening started off with a welcome speech by Governor Yuzaki, followed by the usual speeches and presentations by both the Hawaii and Hiroshima delegations … and then it was showtime! It was during our rendition of “Ka’aahi Kahului”, a song about the Maui railroad written by my good friend, Palani Vaughn, that members of the audience suddenly got up and started “choo-chooing” it around the ballroom! It was so unexpected and totally awesome … there must’ve been at least 50-60 people dancing in a line and totally having a ball! Amazing!
We were pretty tired afterward, so we went to grab a quick meal over at Ichiran, a ramen shop near our hotel. The set-up at this place is pretty interesting … everyone sits at a long counter which is separated by panels into individual eating booths. It’s like eating at a bank teller’s window except you get a bowl of ramen instead of cash! And you never see your server either – you’re served through a small pass-through window which is then closed giving you complete privacy! I was told that it was set up this way because in the old days, women did not want others to see how much ramen they were eating (some kind of vanity thing). So by having their own eating space, they could eat as much as they wanted without other people watching them. Ohhkayyy ….
Today, we’re probably going back to Nanak for another quick meal before heading over to the Mazda “Zoom Zoom” Stadium to perform at the Hiroshima Carp vs. Seibu Lions baseball game. This’ll be a first for me … I can’t wait!!
See you really SOON!