Every cruise we book we always ensure our stateroom is on port side. This means the left side of the ship when it’s going forward.

The day was 22C, very warm and sunny and just perfect for walking and photo opportunities.

Nagasaki proved this to be most advantageous for port side cabin occupants. As we docked this morning, we were greeted by cheering residents and a beautiful view of the hillside houses, Shinto Temples and Bonsai gardens. With a population close to 500,000, Nagasaki on the island of Kyushu, played a vital role as a base for the Japanese Imperial Navy. Unfortunately, it is best know for having been the fateful target of the 2nd atomic bomb to be dropped by the U.S. Air Force, on August 9, 1945. This 10,000-plutonium “Fatboy” bomb took 43 seconds to fall to earth and it exploded 1,500 feet above the city, unleashing blast surges and temperatures in excess of 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It was 3 days before on August 6th that the first bomb was dropped on Hiroshima (Rick’s parents wedding anniversary). These cities endured the unendurable and its landscape and people were wiped out.

On our tour, we visited the atomic bomb museum, as it was built to remind visitors around the world of Japan’s commitment to peace and nuclear non-proliferation. We stood at Ground Zero and met one of the last survivors of the the nuclear bombing, whose facial scars remain.

Further on, we visited the island of Dejima. It was built to prohibit the spread of Christianity by isolating white foreigners (Portguegese, Dutch and English) from influencing the Japanese people. It features both Edo Period restorations and buildings built under the “Meiji” period. Dutch and Portuguese captains and their crew slept on Tatami mats, sat crossed-legged on the floor to eat, just as in conventional Japanese traditions. From this port, the largest import and export of shipbuilding, trade goods such as coffee and beer were exchanged.

Last on our excursion, hosted by an excellent English-speaking guide, we learned of Glover Gardens, developed by a wealthy Scotsman, Thomas Glover (1838-1911). He was a generous and fair owner of the Glover Trading Company during the tumultuous years of the Edo Shogun and made great contributions towards modern technologies to Japan. Investing his own funds, he created a social garden of entertainment, to be shared with Japanese and foreigners alike.

New dinner companions came from Sacramento, CA and Kelowna, BC, which allowed us to share Hillary Clinton’s new foray into the presidential’s race, as well as the workings of our Cabinet and Senate. After dinner, we enjoyed entertainment from Piano Divalicious, Amy Adler and the star from X-Factor UK, Ben Mills, playing the likes of Bon Jovi and Mick Jagger.

Sayonara to Japan and see you in Busan, South Korea next.


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