Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Atomic Bomb Dome

A dragonfly flitted in front of me and stopped on a fence. I stood up, took my cap in my hands, and was about to catch the dragonfly when...

Schoolboy's memoir from Children of the Atomic Bomb.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was playing softly as I came up from the underground shopping mall. It was shortly before nine in the morning, around half an hour and sixty-four years since the first atomic bomb exploded in a soundless, camera-flash burst six-hundred metres above my head. The whole of Surakagu, an amusement and commercial district at the hypocenter of the bomb, was instaneously obliterated.

A decorative metal fence, camphor trees and a riverside footpath circle what remains of the old Industrial Promotion Hall. Bits of twisted metal crown its top, balustrades hang like broken teeth, ending in mid-air. Weeds grow through the jumbled assortment of rubble on the ground, the shell of the building was stripped off like paper, leaving naked, bubbled, brick. A low wall marks the centre of the building. The sides are all caved in.

The hypocenter itself is 160-metres away, among an amime cafe, parking for Sogo Department Store and two dozen vending machines stacked with hot and cold drinks. A roadside sign marks the exact spot. A waist-high traffic cone stood to the right, next to a notice advertising thirty minutes parking for two-hundred yen.

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