Hiroshima Day 2

Continued from Hiroshima Day 1.

Another morning of not sleeping in…sort of. We have a tour scheduled at the Mazda Museum this morning at 10am…but that meant that we need to leave at around 8:30am just because of the public transportation transfers and whatnot.

Back on the streetcar to Hiroshima Station.

RL pointed out this boob/butt looking sculpture to me.

Again, we couldn’t figure out which platform we had to be on for our train so we asked an attendant. Again, station attendant was super helpful and pointed us the right way.

Here comes our train.

A short two stops, and we are here.

Mazda has their headquarter here in Hiroshima. They even have their own hospital here!!

Short walk from the train station led us to the Mazda headquarter. For such a big corporation, their headquarter is very small and understated.

The new Mazda 3.

Mazda 6 race car.

Sort of…no brakes.

In order to visit the museum, I had to make a reservation for the tour. I believe they only have a capacity of 45 everyday for the English tour. Much smaller deal than the Porsche or Mercedes Museum.

At 10 on the dot, a bus picks us up from the headquarter building to take us to the museum. No photos are allowed from the bus as we drive through the Mazda manufacturing plant.

At the museum. More students on field trips.

Everything in yellow is part of Mazda. I think our guide said the plant was like 7km long or something like that. It took the bus 10 minutes just to drive from the headquarter to the museum, and we never once left the Mazda grounds.

Cosmo, with rotary engine.

Mazda’s first production vehicle, a three wheeler.

Of course, my favorite Mazda.

I kinda want a Cosmo.

Heh, awesome. Since they only allowed guided tours here, we couldn’t just linger around and take our time. The tour group moved us through the museum at a pretty good clip, unfortunately.

787B!!!!! This is the Le Mans winning car!! Since the tour was moving at a good pace, I knew that this car was around here somewhere so I sped ahead to get to it before others had a chance to crowd around it.

Real race car, with brakes still intact.

787B engine. Look at those long intake stacks. Rotary engines are so small.

They had a trophy case, and I think all of them are from winning at Le Mans…I think.

This one I recognize as the one from Le Mans.

Is this really the actual trophy? Look at that cheapo plastic statue!! I got one of those statue trophy as a kid for perfect attendance or something. Really, did Le Mans cheap out and buy some plastic part off the shelf?

Ahhh, because race car.

They had made corrections on this wall for the car numbers on the two slower 787Bs. How did they manage to make a mistake like this?

Rotary engines are so compact.

Crash test of current models.

Metal stamping to make the body. I wish I could see this in action.

Next, we are going to tour the assembly line for the car. Unfortunately, and understandably, no photos are allowed in the assembly line.

So, the assembly line that we saw was for the final assembly. They actually assemble different models of cars all on the same line. You’ll see a Miata next to a Mazda 3 next to an utility van. Pretty cool how the same line can handle all the various bodies. The chassis are carried above and from down below, an engine attached to the front sub frame and the rear sub frame would pop up from under ground on a track. Then the assembly line workers would raise the engine and suspension bits all up onto the chassis, and everything would line up perfectly. Then they’d bolt everything down, and move onto the next car. They do this whole the whole line keeps on moving at a slow speed. All the different sub frames and engines arrive coordinated based on the chassis that’s above the line.

We also saw a station where a robotic arm applies glue to windshield and then other robotic arms suction the glass and moves them down to the assembly line for installation. The robot also applies the glue to various glass types based on the vehicle that needs the glass below. At the end of each glue application, the robotic arm has a wiping mechanism that cleans the glue head so that it can apply a clean line for the next windshield. Cool.

Now, this is my favorite part. We saw the assembly for the dash installation. Something that would take 2 guys a lot of frustration installing in a home garage literally takes about 30 seconds of perfection here. The specific dash pops out from a slot, and is picked up by a robotic arm that’s cantilevered. The arm then swings the dash into the car from the door(not installed yet) and then is pushed up against the firewall. The workers then screw the dash into place and…DONE!!!

The assembly line turned out to be both of our favorite parts of the tour. It’s not everyday that you get to see the actual workings of a state of the art assembly line. Makes me want to buy another Mazda.

After the assembly line, just like many museum tours, the last section is about the future. This is usually the section that I care the least about because most of it turns out to be not true.

Hydrogen car, etc. blah blah blah.

After our hour and a half tour, we were given a parting gift of a small car model. Cool.

That was a cool tour, a little rushed, but hey, it was free!! I feel like it was perfectly worth my while to not sleep in this morning.

Zoom Zoom pharmacy eh. Walking back to the train station.

OK, back to Hiroshima station, and it’s time to look for some lunch.

Let’s see, everything looks so good here in Japan. We are looking for a place to serves oysters, since that’s a local food here.

OK, this place will do. Seems pretty blue collar with decent prices.

No joke, we sat down and these are all the menus available to us at the table. Seriously…what do they need 11 separate menus for? How many specials and what-not do they need?

My set meal and we also ordered some steamed oysters. Oysters are super fresh. My set meal also came with a beef steak. Not quite as good as the beef at the ryokan, but Japan has some seriously delicious beef.

After lunch, time for dessert. Look at that giant $32 ice cream cup!!!

We didn’t get the $32 ice cream…we didn’t want to be sick for the rest of the day.

Hah, they also sell Zima here.

RL again points at the boob/butt sculpture in front of the train station.

Back on the streetcar, this time to Atomic Bomb Dome.

Right besides the streetcar stop. This is right in the middle of Hiroshima.

When the bomb got dropped, it dropped almost directly above this building.


Our hotel in the distance(the building to the left of the tall building on the right).

You can see how the bomb blast had deformed the dome.

Peace Memorial Park with the Peace Memorial Museum at the middle.

All made from origami cranes.

Peace flame.

Memorial Cenotaph. It lines up with the flame and the Dome.

Inside the museum. The first section gave history on the state of Japan pre WWII.

Gotta give them credit for this. They are pretty straight forward about being terrible at Nanjing. They did not try to paint themselves in a good light over here, and that goes for other parts of the history they presented here as well.

Model of Hiroshima prebomb.

Watch stopped at 8:16am August 6, 1945.

What Hiroshima looked like after the watch stopped. You can see the Atomic Bomb dome towards the top.

Concrete wall damaged from the blast.

Nice one India…like anyone believed you that you only wanted nuke tests for peaceful purposes.

You can read about the interesting game theory behind the reduction of nuclear weapons in Arms and Influence by Thomas Schelling. It’s fascinating!

Kids on field trip, here they are flashing a peace sign for a photographer…just doesn’t seem quite appropriate…

Photo taken not too long after the bomb went off.

A red ball showing the location where the bomb went off.

Burned clothes from the bomb victims.

Exact size of the “Little Boy” bomb dropped on Hiroshima. It’s pretty small.


This person was sitting on the stone steps when the bomb went off. When he vaporized from the heat, he left a dark spot on the steps where his body shielded the stone from the intense heat.

This part really intrigued me. Since dark colors absorb more heat, the dark ink in paper burned from the intense radiant heat.

Same thing happened here on this fabric. The darker portions burned a lot easier than the lighter lines.

Clothing pattern burned onto skin.

The blast made shards of glass fly everywhere and imbed into walls.

This looks like a piece of art you’d find in a modern art museum.

The museum is built from concrete, but has an organic feel to it. They used wood slats to make the form for the concrete pour, and they purposely made it so that you can see the grains of the wood in the concrete.

So, that was a very good museum. It wasn’t as depressing as we had thought. It was more educational than anything else and they didn’t try to use the shock factor like in Nanjing. Their message was pretty clearly, “No more nuclear weapons, period.” Nanjing was more like “China had been wronged by Japan, we must be powerful and hate on other countries that have wronged us in the past.”

After the museum, we went back to our hotel to nap. Well, I napped and RL just got bored.

Dinner time. We wanted to see if we can grab dinner and a few drinks at an izakaya. We figured if we walked towards Hondori, one of the main shopping areas in Hiroshima.

Let me guess, a love hotel. Almost no windows, and very discreet lobby tucked out of the way.

Passed by a few izakaya on the way to Hondori.

Another one of those crazy big and long scooters.

Getting really close to the happening spots.

Oh yeah, a lot of Japanese ride bikes, but no one wears helmets. Seriously, for such a modern and safe country, it’s odd to see zero people wear helmets. I guess since almost everyone obeys traffic rules, the chances of getting hit on your bike is also much smaller.

Hondori, this is like a smaller Shinsaibashi of Osaka.

It’s Friday night, we are hoping for this area to be happening. Let’s see if we can find a place to eat and drink.

It’s almost 8 and some of the retail shops have already started shutting down.

Found a store that sells brushes. My punish for dropping my brush into the toilet this morning, a pink brush. It was the only color available in the size that we need. Sigh…Maybe I can drop this one in the toilet whenever I find a more manly colored brush.

I puke and shit rainbows. I wanted to buy it, but it was $30.

Saw several izakaya along Donbori, but many of them were tucked away inside a building…We really just want to be able to look into a place to see if we want to go in to eat and drink.

At the end, we decided to try one of the izakaya that we passed by on our walk to Hondori.

We walked in, took off our shoes and stored them in a shoe closet. We can’t see any tables or people, but we could hear a lot of people talking and laughing.

The first floor was completely filled, so we were led up to the second floor. Oh, it’s happening here, we made a good choice.

I had more okonomiyaki, yum!!

The big group next to us were here for some sort of work celebration. They were loud and fun. At the end of dinner, they all got up and started cheering one another. Fun!


Kampai!!! Seen through the little window between the divider between our tables.

OK, that was fun, time to head home.

As we left, that group earlier was still standing outside chatting. Love countries with a good drinking culture.

To be continued at Osaka Day 1.

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