Traveling Japan: Miyajima

DSC00196

The island of Itsukushima and the Itsukushima Shrine on the island are popularly known as Miyajima. I had no idea this place existed until one of my traveling companions requested to go there on one of our day trips. Staying in Kyoto, we took a shinkansen high speed train down to Hiroshima area and then a Japan Railway ferry to the island, all of this travel conveniently included in our JR Pass with no extra charge.

The ferry ride to the island is quite fun and beautiful.

#miyajima #hiroshima #nihon

A video posted by @tinabot on

The first thing we saw when we arrived on the island was a deer. And then another deer. And then another, and another, and another. At first, we were charmed by how the deer showed no fear of the humans who were sidling up to them to take close ups or selfies. We quickly took some photos and videos, thinking they would soon be spooked and scurry away. Boy were we naive.

Continue reading “Traveling Japan: Miyajima”

Traveling Japan: August 6th, 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima Bombing

DSC00249

I thought it appropriate to post about my trip to Hiroshima, Japan on the actual 70th year anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima by the United States in World War II, August 6, 1945. Taking a day trip down to Hiroshima from Kyoto was made possible, affordable, and extremely convenient with the high speed shinkansen trains and our Japan Rail pass. The ride down was only about 2 hrs long.

Within the last three years, I actually visited Pearl Harbor at Hawaii and then Manzanar Internment Camps in eastern California. It wasn’t a planned progression, but in retrospect, it was actually a very fitting one, finishing off this complete circle with Hiroshima. At each location, it was hard to not break into tears.

I made it a point to visit Hiroshima this trip to Japan. What I really wanted was to be at the epicenter of the explosion, which is right around where the Atomic Bomb Dome, Peace Memorial Park, and Peace Memorial Museum are located. I wanted to look up at the sky and imagine Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. flying the Enola Gay overhead, imagine Little Boy falling out of the sky, imagine it detonating about 2,000ft above me, scorching and melting everything within a one mile radius, killing up to 70,000 people, some instantly, some slowly, flesh melting off their bodies, puking out their internal organs as the radiation ate through their flesh, many of them children and students who had been summoned to the area to work on rebuilding projects.

The first thing I saw was the Atomic Bomb Dome or Genbaku Dome, which had originally been an Industrial Promotion Hall 1915. Everyone died inside the building from the blast, but it was one of the few buildings left standing and preserved as a memorial. In December 1996, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The winter day we visited, it was appropriately gloomy, and the building was actually going under some structural reinforcing, so it was surrounded by scaffolding. At first, I was a tad bummed, because I wanted to see the building on its own, but then it still made a stark figure against the sky and was not at all a disappointment in conveying the depth of meaning and history burned into its walls.

#Hiroshima #AtomicBombDome

A photo posted by Carlomus Prime (@carlomusprime) on

And burned into walls of the building history was.

Continue reading “Traveling Japan: August 6th, 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima Bombing”

8Questions with Rock Taiko Drummer Yusuke

I grew up LOVING taiko drums. I remember trips with my family to festivals in LA’s Little Tokyo in the summers to watch taiko groups performing. My dad had taiko albums playing on our stereos at home all the time, and when he wasn’t playing them, I would borrow them so that I could listen to them on my own. So when my friends the band Random Ninjas started up as a rock band integrating taiko drums as a core part of their sound, I was ECSTATIC. Like our Bad 8Asian Mike, I love rock as much as I love taikos, and to have both in one sound is just a music lover’s dream come true. Add on top of that strong female vocals, and this is my favorite band in the universe, hands down.

They’ve got a free show at the Los Angeles Hard Rock Cafe at Hollywood and Highland right next to the Academy Award’s Dolby Theater this Friday June 7th @ 9pm. As expected for an American rock band with taiko drums, Random Ninjas has regularly performed at San Francisco’s Asian Heritage Street Celebration, LA’s Asian American Expo, Little Tokyo’s Nisei Week, LA’s Chinatown Summer Nights, and the Zenshuji Soto Mission’s Annual Obon Festival. The video above is of their performance at the LA’s Chinatown Summer Nights. Their awesome first full length album RANDOM HERO just got remixed and remastered. Here’s 8Questions with one of Random Ninja‘s taiko rock drummers (first ever?), The Yusuke:
Continue reading “8Questions with Rock Taiko Drummer Yusuke”