TRIP | HIROSHIMA : that time when you caught a motherfudgin’ flu [J-Spring16]

First and foremost, I would like to apologize. I would like to send my deepest apologies to the city of Hiroshima for having snubbed it the way I did. Hiroshima, I think from the bottom of my heart that you have a lot to offer, in terms of nature, history, culture and gastronomy (oysters apart).

I would like to apologize because I didn’t make the effort to get to know or understand you because as a matter of fact, it took me 1.0095 seconds to label you a city with no interest and boring as fuck. I would like to apologize because I didn’t get to enjoy your beauty beyond the abundance of real estate agencies that populate your center or the YOURS supermarket which bentos seem to be prepared by civil engineering trainees.

In this article, second of the self-imposed challenge 7 articles in 7 “days” and in a I-tell-my-life-captain-Nemo-diary-style fashion, I explain in detail my state of mind and state of health which in my opinion are at the origin of my terrible misrepresentation. Not that I try to justify myself – I take my share of responsibility – but I hope that after reading, you will give me a second chance.

Also, few tips at the end

HIROSHIMA : that time when you caught a motherfudgin’ flu

Landing at 8:30 am. I’m exhausted. In the airport main hall, a small tear rolls down my cheek when I see the weather forecast for the week : clouds, 1 to 10 °C. A moment before, when the flight attendant announced a temperature of 3 ° C on the ground, I thought it was a misunderstanding or at worst, the morning freshness. But no, the cold is here and doing fine.

In the bus that runs between the airport and the city, there are only salary men and me, Yolo woman. In view of the landscape that passes by, I start thinking Hiroshima looks pretty dull. The bus arrives at 11am and the check-in for my rented apartment is only at 3pm. So the big question is : how to kill 4h when you’re tired, you have all your luggage, you’re not hungry and when you don’t know the city?

Luckily, on the route between the shuttle terminal and my apartment, there is the Bombing Dome and the Peace Park : it’s an opportunity to wander around, to absorb the city’s history (and world’s history too), then relax on a bench, that trend being set the day before with my night at Tokyo Haneda Airport.

Hiroshima_banc_0894

About 2 hours later, I leave my bench to go toward the apartment so I can be in the vicinity when check-in time comes. I naively thought it would take me quite some time to walk there (and therefore, be substantially busy), but I was surprised to see that the case was solved in 15-20 minutes : pro -> the apartment is close to the center ; con -> I don’t know how to kill time now.

So I landed on another bench, in a park, and I took out my computer to watch some anime. With the cold and the threatening-to-fall rain, I dropped this idea at the end of the opening credits and started to walk again, towards a 100 ¥ shop which sign was indicated far away. I didn’t need anything, but I went over all the store sections – from nail polish to dental floss, along with gardening gloves – with a fine-tooth comb… Again, killing time was my primary goal. Then I bounced from shop to shop, pretending to look for something, until 2:45. After that, I went to a supermarket – YOURS – to get a bento. I hesitated a long time : not because there were too many choices but more because nothing seemed good (this is extremely rare in Japan).

After a rather short but effective check-in, I take a good long shower and then lie down in the bed. I’m tired but not sleepy so I decide to watch some anime while eating the bento I bought a little earlier. By the way, I confirm my feeling about the quality (or the lack of thereof) was justified. After a few hours of an evening punctuated with anime and TV shows (especially since there was the 5 years commemoration of the tsunami that struck the Tohoku), I finally fall asleep.

I woke up the next day in disaster : eyes are burning and feel like they’re gonna come out of their holes, a bar in the skull, big chills while being sweaty, throat on fire, body aches in each joint (so that I felt like a wooden puppet). Going to the bathroom was a mission : I had no other option than crawling and when I was looking a fixed point too long (over 10 sec), I felt myself fainting. I coughed like I was plague-ridden and a hot breath of dragon came out of my nostrils… For real. The natural light made my eyes hurt so I had to confine myself in the apartment, curtains drawn and light off. I only went out at nightfall, staggering, to buy a survival bento.

The next day was a little better. The shining sun was the main motivation to step outside. So I moved my derrière and spent the day connecting the city’s major points of interest on foot and then concluded with a long walk to the seafront. Personally speaking, even if there were many interesting things and the city is rather well organized, I didn’t feel any “wow” effect during my visit … probably because I was sick. However, I do remember the JUMP store in the shopping arcades : as I was passing by, my blood froze and my heart began to beat very fast… I refrained from entering, because I really wanted to travel light for a while.

On the last day, I thought about strolling around town before heading to Fukuoka but I chose to stay in bed as long as possible, then prepare the check-out. Still I did a little walk in Hiroshima Bus Center : it’s not the sexiest place but it’s better than nothing. I recommend the platforms 1 to 8 as well as the conbini in front of ticket offices where you can buy, among other things, Snickers size sandwiches.

In order not to finish on negative note, here are some informations that might be useful :

Tips | Hiroshima being a rather small city, everything can be visited in:
A good day, if you focus on the city itself
Two days, if you’reattracted by the historical heritage of the city
An extra day, if you add an excursion to Miyajima

I decided to stay there for 4 days, to really take my time and enjoy but with this vicious flu, I spent 3/4 of the time in bed, in pajamas, reassessing my life and blowing my nose. Besides, Hiroshima is located between mountains and sea (when you are in the street, you turn to one side and you see the mountain in the distance, you turn to the other side and you see… the sea horizon). So I guess by staying in the city for a while, there are definitely things to do if you go out of town to check out the surrounding area.

Access to the city | From Tokyo :
– By Shinkansen (bullet train) – 4 hours, 18.040 ¥ for a free seat ticket.
– By plane – 1 hour 30 min, 95 USD one way ticket with ANA (add about 45 min and 1400 ¥ for the shuttle to go downtown)
– By bus – 12 hours (by night) , 7.500~12.000 ¥ with WILLER EXPRESS.

Apart from the Shinkansen and the shuttle, these prices may vary according to the season.

Aside from that, here’s the link to the apartment I rented. This is perfect for a person, ok for two. A bit tight for 3 people but quite frankly, if you don’t care, if you’re just looking for a cheap shelter, it’s perfectly fine.

Airbnb_hiroshima_printemps_2016

As stated in title, this room is very cozy. The decoration is sober and relaxing, everything is clean. There are blackout curtains so you don’t get the light of day in your face (especially in summer when the sun rises at 4am). The kitchen is well equipped, the toilets are clean with hygiene stuff provided. Only complaint : I paid 15 €/night with 25€ cleaning fee (almost the same in USD) last spring. As of today, the price is 33 €/night with 27€ cleaning fees (almost the same in USD).

That’s all, folks!

Chrys Prolls

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