3 things you love about Hiroshima
1. Hiroshima is a very comfortable city to live in. Because the mountains and sea are close, you can enjoy both graces. Also, a great tram system can take you to most attractions in the centre.
2. There are 2 World Heritage sites. This means lots of tourists visit Hiroshima, so I can meet many people, and can learn about other countries from the guests that visit my small guest house.
3. The city is very clean (no trash on the road!)
3 things that drive you crazy about Hiroshima
1. The downtown looks almost the same as it did 10-20 years ago. It can be a bit boring.
2. Hiroshima people are a bit conservative for me.
3. I have to go to Osaka to take an international flight when I travel abroad.
A stereotype about Hiroshima that’s true.
The city tries to be refined like Tokyo. (For example: They name areas of the city after places in Tokyo). Because the latest news and fashions come from Tokyo, many Japanese people believe other prefectures are the country side. (Sometimes I have that complex too). But ultimately, I think trying to be cool isn’t cool. Each place has its own charm and character, Kyoto and Osaka certainly prove that.
A stereotype that’s sooooo wrong
Some foreigners still think that strong radiation has stayed in Hiroshima since the atomic bomb was dropped, and that the people of Hiroshima are still sad.
The best thing about your neighbourhood
It is a very, very safe, quiet and residential area with kind neighbors. Actually I don’t lock my flat’s entrance door and windows. Also, when my friend left her wallet in the bike cage, it was there until she was back the next morning. The place is conveniently located by 4 super markets and malls and many restaurants are within walking distance.
Describe the view out your window
There is a kindergarden just outside my place. I can hear cheerful kids’ voices every morning!
Something you can’t live without daily, what/where?
A hot chocolate drink next to my sweet cat!
Book/movie/poem/song that captures the spirit of Hiroshima
Mmm, to be honest I don’t have one.
If you were the boss of the tourism board of Hiroshima what would the city slogan be?
The mayor of Hiroshima sends letters about a nuclear abolition to the presidents of many countries each year. But just a piece of paper doesn’t help anything. Even though we had a big earthquake and tsunami recently, the Japanese government continues to use nuclear power. If I was the mayor, I would want to do more about that, and with pride. I would host events and museum shows about the negative impact of radiation and nuclear power in order to share first hand knowledge with people of other countries. So the motto would be something like: “Hiroshima: striving for a lasting peace with nature”.
And if you didn’t live here, where would you live?
Yushi Kato is a designer and has lived in Hiroshima all her life.