There are those stand-out travel moments when we meet someone who has an incredible impact on our appreciation of a place and an understanding of its people. Aaron Davis had one of those profound experiences, when with Intrepid he met Kei san in Japan…
“I have been affected by radiation.” Not a sentence I ever thought I’d hear someone say, but in Hiroshima I got to meet and talk to a hibakusha, a survivor of the A-bomb. Kei san is a most remarkable man with a wonderful outlook on life. He was 16 years old when the bomb was dropped and by a stroke of pure luck he was in school in Hiroshima at the time, which offered some defence from the heat and radiation blast.
He describes the next few days after the dropping of the bomb to our group in a very matter of fact and unbiased way. His frank and vivid explanations help to give a true feeling of what it must have been like to see and feel all that he did. It is a story which needs to be told, but there are becoming fewer and fewer hibakusha every year and their firsthand accounts are becoming lost forever.
The people of Hiroshima, including Kei san, don’t hate Americans or other nationalities, they are above that. All Kei wishes is that by telling his story to as many people as possible he will make a difference. He certainly has for me and I’m sure for all the other travellers who have had the privilege of meeting him.”
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* photo by Amber Rouse – Intrepid Photography Competition