By Robb Flynn

Atomic Bomb Dome, the last structure standing

Day off today, we took the bullet train from Osaka this afternoon to Hiroshima. It's our first time playing here. We've played as far up as Sendai with Slipknot, but mainly just stick to the 3 major cities of Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo.

I haven't been able to talk much as we opened our Japan tour with 2 in-a-row, which is grueling on my throat.  We usually start a tour: show, day off, show, day off, so I can "break in my throat callous", and then after that I'm good with whatever. So while 2 in-a-row doesn't sound like a big deal, we're playing damn near 3 hours every night, after a month off... well... let's just say it's never happening again.

I'm an avid Trip Advisor user, they really are the most cohesive, easy to use app out there, with location services to tell you everything in your immediate area.  It highly recommended the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.  After to getting into the hotel around 3PM, we all embarked on the short 5 minute walk over there.

200 yen to enter, and the first site you see is large, floor-to-ceiling panoramic, photographic mural of Hiroshima before the blast, a bustling port city with most modern conveniences of the day such as cars, etc. (not sure why I was surprised by that, but it was 1945 for christ sakes!).  It then takes you to another large room called "August 6th, 1945 8:15 AM"... taking up two massive wall lengths is another floor-to-ceiling panoramic photograph of the entire city laid to waste.

It's shocking.

The devastation was hard to comprehend.

Near that is a circular table scale model of the city itself, projected on to it is a movie showing the city, animations of the bomb dropping, and the blast radius.  I've never seen something so simple yet quite powerful, it was heavy to watch.  It teared me up.

Maybe the most powerful part is the video testimonies from survivors. Recorded decades later, the accounts were harrowing.  A woman who lost her son, found him charred, with the buttons of his night shirt she had laid him to bed in, burned to the chest of his skin.  Finding her husband after the chaos of the blast, a few weeks later his hair stared falling out, he went to sleep and never woke up.

The after-effects of cancers, bleeding beneath the skin, tumors, scar tissue that never heals, and what we now know, that the next few years made the horrors of the Atomic bomb that much more devastating.

It also goes into modern times, the testing of nuclear weapons in the following decades and their palpable effects on the islands tested near, the nuclear arms race between the soviets and the U.S., and ultimately, ends with a plea to abolish all nuclear arms, with an eternal flame that burns at the end the park "only when nuclear weapons are eliminated will the flame go out".

It was a heavy day.  A supremely humbling experience, a day that made one reflect on life, and ponder many a question.

My photos below.

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