Nagano | Travel Photos

We celebrated the Winter Olympics by traveling to the city that hosted them in 1998: Nagano, Japan. This was, of course, unintentional. We were taking advantage of the long Presidents' Day weekend.

The day we embarked on our train journey the snow had already begun to fall. We didn't think much of it. In fact, we were excited to have fresh snow in case we decided to go skiing while we were there. The only problem was, it came down fast and it didn't stop. Trains were delayed, but still moving at least, and traffic was either at a stand-still or being turned back. 

We had two items we wanted to accomplish this weekend. 1.) See the snow monkeys and take some National Geographic worthy shots despite having no wildlife photography experience. 2.) Go skiing. Unfortunately, we didn't get to do either of these things. The monkey park was closed on Sunday; the only day that it didn't snow and things started to melt, and my husband caught a cold and I didn't feel like skiing all by my lonesome. 

Making the most of it, we did have some pretty great food, stumbled across a few festival-type stands, and I did some local wine-tasting. I tried horse sashimi for the first time and was only slightly weirded out, I found two new manhole covers to add to my growing collection, and we watched curling. Lots and lots of curling.

All in all it was disappointing but they can't all be winners! At least we made it there and back in one piece.

The photos that looks like a weird firework is my husband kicking snow piles into a stream. I thought it looked kind of neat!

Hiroshima | Travel Photos

Back in December we took the shinkansen down to Kure for a little weekend trip. As we're moving back to the United States in the summer, we are trying to check off all of the locations on our Japan Bucket List. 

Of course, I got intensely sick on our last day and missed seeing the Miyajima Shrine, a sight so beautiful it was a Mac desktop image. The deer run free there and I missed my husband getting attacked by one! Why does the universe hate me so!?

In any event, all of my photos from this trip are from our visit to the Hiroshima Peace Museum. The experience was incredibly moving although I didn't cry nearly as much as I thought I would.

One thing that I wasn't aware of were how many children lost their lives. There was a road construction project to expand the roads in the area for military vehicles that utilized adolescent labor. A lot of children might have survived if they had been closer to home. There were so many stories of parents looking for their children in the aftermath and it was heartbreaking. There are quite a few photos of the Children's Peace Monument below. The origami cranes symbolize hope and peace and there were millions inside little areas, similar to bus shelters, protected by heavy plastic sheeting. They only open one area each day and my favorite cranes from the one that was open when we were there were cranes made from children's drawings rather than actual origami paper. The same cranes are featured on the city's manhole covers.

I am only sharing two photos from inside the actual museum. The first is one of MANY walls covered in miniature copies of letters from Hiroshima's mayors beseeching world leaders to get rid of their nuclear weapons. There were several addressed to Kim Jong Il, and many to various U. S. Presidents. The second photo is of cameras that survived the blast. 

I highly recommend visiting this museum if you ever get a chance. It is so beautiful to see such a strong request for world peace.