img { max-width: 900px; width: expression(this.width > 600 ? 600: true); } .subtitle{ font-family:Trebuchet MS',Verdana,Arial,Sans-serif; font-size:15px; color:$dateHeaderColor; line-height:20px; }

A day in the life of Nagasaki, Japan

Thursday, October 15, 2009

For me, one of the best things about traveling and photography is capturing people doing everyday things when they think no one is looking. It’s at this time that people are the most honest in their expressions and reactions.


Nagasaki girls pray over bridge

In my Flickr album, there are 212 photos that are simply shots of Nagasaki. Many of them are your basic “point and shoot”, because I like to show people what it looks like to stand on the corner of such and such. 

Nagasaki Japan, Geishas

However, there are many shots where I took the time to capture faces, things and moments that had an impact on me.

Nagasaki Japan

Nagasaki (which means “long cape”), as with all Japanese cities, was full of compassionate, gentle and polite people. Most questions get met with a shy giggle and possibly an answer in broken english. However, people are more than willing to help when they can.

Nagasaki Japan

The skyline of Nagasaki is beautiful, and is almost 360 degrees of buildings, homes and trees that sprawl across the hills. An early morning sunrise made the city glow orange and glisten. Some boats began to sail across the water in preparation for their day.

Nagasaki Japan

As we walked around, there were many temples for both Buddhist and Shinto religions. Although it is easy to spot temples all over Nagasaki, Temple Row is a popular area which sits up on a hill side. There is a small street that sits beside a number of small temples. Most of them are open and approachable, but remember to be very respectful and leave a few coins if you have them.

Temple Row in Nagasaki Japan

There was one particular temple, in the city, Fukusai-ji or Kannon Universal Temple, which was very unusual to me. It was a statue of Buddha on top of a Turtle. Unfortunately, I didn't get to stay long since the lady watching over it wanted money for even standing on the grounds. In a very un-Japanese like fashion, she wasn't too friendly about it.
 and waved us away.

Kannon Universal Temple in Nagasaki Japan

Nagasaki has a rich past and is the site of where one of the atomic bombs fell in 1945, devastating the landscape of the country. 

Nagasaki Japan

Our trip into Nagasaki came by way of ship. The entrance into the port was spectacular due to both sides of the bay being doted with rows of houses and buildings which climbed up tree filled mountains. It is clear that Japan has put great effort into rebuilding and beautifying Nagasaki over the years. You can see some European influence in various buildings, probably from when the Portuguese came into Nagasaki many years ago. One of the interesting things about Nagasaki is that it was the first place where Japan let foreign visitors in.

Nagasaki Japan

I believe the Portuguese landed there by accident in 1543, while on their way to China. Nagasaki became an important trade center. Unfortunately, one of the downsides to Japanese history was when Christianity began to spread (due to foreign influence) Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Emperor of Japan in 1588 decided to try to end the Christian influence by ordering the crucifixion of 26 Nagasaki believers. The 26 victims included six missionaries and three children. They were arrested in Osaka and Kyoto then forced to walk 500 miles in the winter snow to Nagasaki, where they were publicly executed.

Nagasaki Japan

Even though the majority of people in Japan practice Buddhism and Shinto now days, Christianity is an accepted religion. There is now a beautiful memorial that was built and dedicated to these 26 Martyrs in acknowledgement of the emperor’s wrong doing. 

It is hard to fathom some of Japan’s negative history, due to how much the country has changed over the years. Out of all the places in the world that I've been to, I have to say that Japan is the most pleasant and accepting country I have encountered.

Nagasaki Japan

It is clear that its citizens are entirely different people now with kindness at their core.

The Atom Bomb memorial museum is a place that you might want to see. It contains many photographs (albeit graphic) that show the devastating aftermath of the bomb. There is also a charred section of some effected building material as a result of the bomb. I did not take any pictures of the museum or the aftermath. The Nagasaki bomb was twice as strong as the one dropped on Hiroshima.

Peace Park Statue in Nagasaki

Peace Park, is filled with many statues that were created and dedicated by various countries to show their acknowledgement of devastation. Sitting at the end of a large courtyard is a huge statue of a powerful man who holds out one hand in appeal to cease the madness of war as he points heavenward with the other to remind humanity of our place in a larger universe and hopefully contain our destructive urges. Not many people find the statute visually appealing, but it's meaning is it's important factor.

Peace Park Grounds

The grounds are very pleasant and there are many places to sit and relax. It's important to know that you can't just walk to Peace Park from the city center. Your best bet is to take the Tram there and back. The Tram system is pretty easy to understand, and doesn't cost too much. I had purchased a special all-day ticket, but I am not sure if they sell this all the time. You can just tell the driver where you want to go and he'll guide you in the right direction.

Spectacle Bridge in Nagasaki Japan

On a lighter note, there are a series of wonderful bridges which were built over a small river that flows through Nagasaki. One of which is called the “Spectacle Bridge”. I don’t quite remember all of the history behind it, but I do know that it was rebuilt a few times due to severe flooding.

Spectacle Bridge in Nagasaki Japan

The rebuilds have been identical to the original. You can walk down some stairs and stroll along the bottom of the river bed at certain points. There are many Koi fish and wonderful little stone paths that cross from one side to the other. I was able to capture some great photos of some children and people playing on the paths.

Watching the Koi fish in the river

It was funny watching this father help his child, who was trying to step across each stone. The families knew I was photographing and were fine with it.

Spectacle Bridge in Nagasaki Japan

The Koi fish came in many bright colors, along with some black and white ones. They were eager to eat out of your hands and it was common for people to feed them.

Koh fish in the river beneath the Spectacle bridge

Nagasaki has an inside mall which stretches for many blocks. It was quite something to walk through and had many visitors. Luckily, I was able to find some things I needed in a store there. The only problem was trying to decipher exactly what it was that I was buying. It was simple, I needed shampoo. However, the Japanese LOVE their cute packaging and colors, and frankly, I didn't know what cartoon character meant what, when it comes to shampoo.

Mall in Nagasaki Japan

The city is very crowded and yet manageable. My sidekick and I spent hours walking from Peace Park to the main part of Nagasaki. It spreads out over miles and up and down hills. Since they drive on the opposite side of the road, I had to continuously remember to look right rather than left as I crossed the street….otherwise you get hit by a car.

Nagasaki Japan

I always find it amusing to see that many soda dispensing machines around the cities, they are simply sitting on corners and quiet streets. I can’t imagine anything like that would last more than a minute in America, due to the fact that people would break into them. I guess the Japanese are a very trusting people.

Vending Machines in Nagasaki

The weather was wonderful in Nagasaki and the ocean air flowed throughout the city. There were many great temples which lined quiet little streets. I am not Buddhist, so for me its about the architecture and peaceful nature of the buildings. I respect others and their beliefs, so it was interesting watching the people meditate at the sites.

On a side note, I was surprised at how many Hawks there were flying around the city. They would circle overhead and fly through the city. You could hear their cries everywhere. Although it sounds strange, it was actually a great thing to see and hear.

Funny Soda Design in Nagasaki

Japan seems to embrace the whimsical in advertisement and design. It is quite normal to find cute cartoon characters lining building signs and various things that would seem odd to the average american. I have to say though, that I really enjoy these things, such as the odd soda can that makes you smile. Someone left this one sitting on a bench.

Nagasaki Japan

Nagasaki is a beautiful city with many streets and alley ways for shopping and just strolling. A car is not needed if you don't mind walking, and as I said, it's very safe here. There are more pictures of Nagasaki Japan in my photo albums on Flickr. You can access them by clicking HERE.

Flower in Nagasaki Japan


Anonymous said...

Fabulous. Love the narrative and the photos.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I are going to Asia in March. Thanks so much for your photos and info. we enjoyed your site very much. kent and Sandy

Luther Bailey said...

Thank you for reading! I'm glad it helped.

Post a Comment

If you'd like to leave a comment, it is not necessary to sign in. You may post as "Anonymous" (With the drop down menu below the posting box) and write your name in the posting if you'd like. Blogger has these settings as default to help prevent Spam. Thanks for leaving a comment!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

  © Blogger templates 'Neuronic' by 2008

Back to TOP