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Back in Tokyo, briefly

Due to the rapidly changing circumstances and having to book, change, and rebook our accomodations for April, we are having to travel back to Tokyo for a brief stay before we head down to Osaka to settle in for the long haul.

Originally, we were going to stay in Tokyo through March 30, then fly home to Portland from Haneda. But since we've decided to ride out this crisis in Japan, the best option we could find for an affordable long-term stay was in Osaka, a city maximally convenient to an international airport that we can easily get to when flights home become available again.

Since our Osaka reservation doesn't start until March 28, we are schlepping up to Tokyo for a last few nights in the BnB we had originally booked there, then (using the very last day of our Japan Rail Pass) heading back to Osaka for the duration.

Since we're only staying in Tokyo for three nights, and we didn't want to haul all our luggage with us, we had to find a long-luggage storage facility in Osaka to keep our big bags. This was way harder than you might think, and entailed much agita, as well as considerable to-ing plus much fro-ing. At the very least we are learning a heck of a lot about getting around Japan.

Our time in Hiroshima (about 5 days) was really delightful. As with the rest of the trip, there was much we didn't get to see--the Peace Museum, Hiroshima Castle, the Manga Library and the Museum of Contemporary Art were all closed, as expected. And as a result of our own increased commitment to social distancing (to be good guests, if nothing else) our tourist activities now mostly center around walking, biking, and solitary sightseeing. The good news is, there were plenty of ways to amuse ourselves that didn't involve crowds (we particularly enjoyed our time biking around Hijiyama Park and saying hello to the feral cats who live up there.)

We spent one of our days visiting Kure, a small coastal town SE of Hiroshima with a rich naval history. Kure was the setting for one of Nora's favorite anime movies, "In This Corner of the World", and we visited various locations featured in the movie with the help of a very adorable map printed by the tourism department.

While in Tokyo, I'm not quite sure what's on the agenda, but I think Nora has a few more things on her bucket list. But the reality is, to see most of what we came to Japan to see will require another trip, sometime in the future.

I'm very aware of my own cynical Gen X-ish desire to complete this post with the sentence "if there even is a future ..." But I find I have no appetite for cynicism right now. Of course there will be a future. It will be a very different future (there's no doubt of that) but countless human beings, in countless eras before us, have dealt with unimaginable horrors. That doesn't mean the horrors are negligible, or that we should not mourn them--it just means that they're one of the known risks of being alive, and being human, and we can't expect to be immune to them.

Visiting Hiroshima, and pondering the human tragedy that it was witness to less than a hundred years ago, is not comforting--but, I guess, maybe it is a little bit useful.

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