The People Are Welcoming
Japanese people are not only extremely proud of their culture, but I found them to be happy to greet visitors. There were many times they went out of their way to help me experience Japan in the truest form possible.
I must admit, going to the The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was a very intense experience that left me feeling traumatized, and I lost any desire to explore the city that afternoon. Instead, I decided to take a stroll by the river and enjoy the sakura (cherry blossoms). It turned out the entire area was full of people celebrating hanami (flower viewing). It was such a beautiful sight that I couldn't help but take sneaky pictures of people. When a friendly group of retirees caught me in the act, I smiled, said "kanpai" (cheers), and was immediately invited to join them. They stuffed me with mochi and many other Japanese sweets. It all reminded me of a quote I'd read just an hour before at the museum: "That autumn in Hiroshima, where it was said: 'For 75 years nothing will grow,' new buds sprouted in the green that came back to life. Among the charred ruins, people recovered their living hopes and courage."