Forgiven, but not forgotten

Yesterday I was able to finally meet Nassrine Azimi, former director and Kenta Matsuoka, current staff, of UNITAR--a research and training institute of the United Nations.

Nassrine is co-founder with Tomoko Watanabe of ‘Green Legacy Hiroshima’ (GLH) a voluntary initiative that sends seeds and saplings of the historic ‘Hibaku-Jumoku’ or ‘Survivor Trees’ around the world, raising awareness about the history of the trees, the resilience and beauty of nature and the dangers of nuclear weapons.

I was shown key sites within the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the trees themselves.

Some of the trees still remain in the exact spot when the atomic bomb was exploded above the Genbaku Dome.

One Weeping Willow is the tree closest to the epicentre, and is characteristic of the Hibaku-Jumoku - leaning in toward the blast of the bomb.'

Nassrine presented me with a variety of cuttings which I will be test firing shortly,  although their symbolic nature makes them almost too precious to use.

I am very grateful to Nassrine and Kenta for their time and for Nassrine’s deep knowledge of Hiroshima’s history - past and present.

She left me with the powerful idea that Hiroshima (and Nagasaki) symbolise the wider intent of the Japanese people today - to forgive the past, but to also share the lessons from it. 

  Weeping Willow - leaning in toward the blast.

Weeping Willow - leaning in toward the blast.

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Nassrine and Kenta

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After leaving Hiroshima late morning, I took the long journey across Honshu Island to Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park where my project will continue.

   At Kusatsu Station - probably on the wrong platform!

 At Kusatsu Station - probably on the wrong platform!

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Back again at Tougei No Mori (Forest of Ceramics) at dusk.