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  • Henry Miller

Running In Hiroshima

8PM, Hiroshima


The suns down, it’s cooler but still hot. At least the sun won't beat down on me.

Frisbee shorts for ease of motion. Bro tank for the humidity, ventilation of my pits and ease of drying once the whole thing inevitably becomes drenched in sweat. I lace up my bulky brown hiking boots because I left my running shoes back home like an idiot and so I deserve to look like a dork.


A quick stretch gets me halfway to my toes.


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2


Let’s do this.


Starting jogging slowly cuz it’s hot and I’m fat. One foot in front of the other. It’s not too hot since it’s been a late rainy season, more humid than anything. There’s just a sprinkle of rain. I’m headed north from the hostel. The streets are somewhat narrow, a clutter of phone and electrical lines is my roof.



All the pictures are taken in the day... what do you want from me?


The street opens up as I come to a row of Buddhist temples tucked away in the suburban landscape. Each temple houses a small cemetery, an uneven topography of densely packed obelisk headstones.





Run across the bridge, by an old Japanese lady walking her dog. Green bike paths lined with big shady deciduous trees parallel the veins of the delta that the city was built upon. Dodge the bikes, people drive on the left here but there doesn’t seem to be a consistent etiquette when it comes to the sidewalks as far as I can tell.


Run past the city park, it’s empty and boring. At the far end is a path that leads underground. There are wide underground sidewalks that circulate pedestrians so they don’t clog up traffic. Hear my breathing reverberate down the walls of the walkway. The tunnel shoots me out next to Hiroshima Castle. A standard castle all things considered, a recreation like almost all castles in Japan.





Follow the street past all varieties of restaurants and izakayas. Meet up with the trolley. An old system that predates WWII. The trolleys are interesting, some are brand spanking new while others seem like they were built in the 40s. I heard that 2 of the trolleys that survived the A-bomb were only decommissioned a couple of years ago.


Follow the line to meet up with another arm of the river, across another bridge and continue south along the bike path parallel. Another half mile to Hijiyama park. Stop to gasp for air and to ponder the life choices that led me to running. Hate myself. Groan audibly. Hate myself even more realizing that I have to go uphill now. Imagine that in hell there is only uphill.


A quick stretch gets me halfway to my toes.


1


2


Let’s do this.


Run uphill. Sweat profusely. Past the modern art museum and the manga library, a destination that I had visited earlier in the week and had only served to mock my illiteracy. Another quarter mile to the top. Feels like an eternity. Realize that I could write about this and use it to complain about running uphill. Meet up with a view of the city, it’s misty tonight but still pretty.





Finally, sweet downhill. Realize life isn’t so bad. Running is easy, why did I ever think it was hard. Wonder why I don’t just run literally everywhere. Jog back towards downtown. Cross a bridge. Cross a street. Get some weird looks from Japanese people. The streets are fairly quiet considering this is a fairly large city. It certainly doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of a Manhattan, maybe not even a Denver. It’s flat now. Resume self hatred.


Make a conscious effort to avoid the crowded part of downtown since I’m drenched and don’t want to sweat all over their nice ground. Continue down a side street, occasionally peering into a perpendicular street to see the distant bright lights and beautifully mundane aspects of city nightlife. Business men smoking outside izakayas, groups of teenagers crawling the mall.


The side street pops me out at the first river. Run by the Atomic Bomb Museum, the foundation is being reinforced proactively against earthquakes. Both of the major attractions in Hiroshima are currently being rebuilt, the other being the Great Torii Gate on Miyajima which is getting scrubbed of years of grime and barnacles.





I run underneath the legs of the museum and the Atomic Bomb Memorial points me in the vague direction of home. The final stretch is under the silhouette of the Atomic Dome, one of the few structures left standing after the bombing. But against the tall buildings and bright lights of the city it simply serves as a reminder of the progress made on the back of tragedy and the suffering endured in an attempt to get back to normalcy. And in that spirit I can gladly say that Hiroshima is, remarkably, unremarkable.





Push through back to the hostel. Wipe my face so I don’t drip on the floor, I love drippin’.


Water


Shower


Dinner


Beer


Fuck around on my phone for an hour


Bed

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© 2019 by THOUGHTS FOR THE ROAD.

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