Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Visiting the Pearl Harbor Memorial and Historical Site and the USS Arizona...

Alrighty, you guys! I'm back from Guam! Bran, Noah and myself got back to Japan yesterday afternoon, August 11th. We had such a fantastic time in Guam, we spent 3 amazing nights, 4 fabulous days at my dad's condo. We saw 2 extra movies while there. So that means 5 movies so far this summer! The boys swam at my dad's condo, we ate so many delicious things while there, and best of all, got to spend time with my dad. He's just the greatest! So anyway...I know I am so outrageously behind with the Hawaii posts. I am so very sorry. I have this post and the last 2 days will be lumped together. So, it shouldn't take too much longer and I already even picked out the pics for the final 2 days post... already and that post will be super small, post size wise. : ) Anyway without further ado. Here is the Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona Memorial post, everything on this post happened, Thursday, July 23rd. Bran has been dying to go there. In Japan, they studied World War 2, in the 6th grade pretty in depth and they even went further into the subject.... in middle school here in Japan, Bran has studied it all in the 7th grade (last year) and even now, that B is in the 8th grade, they still study more about it. Plus you know...both the boys have seen the Ben Affleck Pearl Harbor movie and they love it! And while we seem to go to Oahu every year, we haven't been to the Pearl Harbor historic site... since Branden was 3 months old. @_@ Wow, is that a long time ago, or what! Hahaha. So they've been asking to go and heck...we were there in Hawaii, so...why not! : ) Here's what it looks like, the outside before going in. 

And here is some additional very helpful information for you guys to have. For starters, look at the sign. No bags of *any* kind are allowed inside. No backpacks, no purses, no fanny packs. No camera bags. No luggage (who'd bring a suitcase to Pearl Harbor though anyways really, lol, perhaps 1 strange-a- low, so perhaps it's necessary to say, who knows) No diaper bags (holy mother of Batman, hope you don't need a diaper changed, although am pretty sure...duh... you could just take 1 or 2 new diapers and a travel pack of wipes and carry them, sans bag? And no shopping bags. They do have a bag storage if you need one, but, I just put my purse in our rental cars trunk. And I carried my camera without it's case (case was also in the trunk). Yeah...that wasn't weird at all. : ) I'm kidding, I'm kidding. : ) But might want to know this information. It could help. Also, how much does it cost to go in? It's absolutely free! However...and maybe I should Astrix this specific part. *however*... if you want to ride the free boat to the actual site of the sunken ship, you need to get a ticket. You need to go in person in the morning to get the free boat tickets. Oh and there is a policy in affect...1 in your party for example... can not, just go there and say grab 10 of the free tickets. Apparently that was something that got abused. So, they took that option out. You may get a ticket for 4 people *if* all 4 of you are there. You can't get spare/extra tickets and say...well my other people in my party and still in bed. Nope, not happening. They will only give tickets... to the people standing there in front of them. Also most important #1 fact, the tickets go fast! By morning... they're gone for the entire day! Yep, true and true! We got up super early and were physically there and waiting to get 4 free boat tickets. The man told us, you are the last 4, to get the 2:15pm boat ticket for today! And the last ride out is at 2:30pm and that's the last boat ride of the day. And we were at the Pearl Harbor site at 8:30am-8:45am at the latest. So yes...they tickets are gone faster than hotcakes. Many folks won't know these... little rules. But now you all do! : ) So anyways, it was morning, we had boat tickets, at 2;15pm. What should we do? We made use of our time... and walked around the place because there is information, signs...and whatnot everywhere and even a free museum to walk around. It's very cool. 

Honoring the Arizona. You can see the ship actually under the water, the whole ship, in this picture. There were places like this, for the kids to read and learn, little informative facts and tidbits from. 

The USS Arizona Memorial in the background of Branden, in this pic. 

It is something... really quite amazing...and sad...but very educational to see it up close, at least once in your lifetime. 

Many quotes, many things all over as you walk around. To think. It's a quiet place being here. 

Blinded by the sun.

Branden and Noah walked from place to place, to read what each sign of information said and to look at the pictures, we did the same, Noboru and I. 

A deep discussion about the attack on Pearl Harbor. I don't know about how other schools in Japan do it. But at our school, in our town in Japan. I was wincing and/or dreading the day my son started to study World War 2. Would it be a very pro Japan...and all other countries are bad...type lesson. I wondered. But, I am happy to say, that at our school, in our town, the teachers are very honest. They teach how the Japanese did a "sneak"attack on Pearl Harbor and how wrong they were. Branden's history teacher is a very genki (healthy & peppy) super old lady. She's been to over 20 different countries, she's been all over from Europe, to different parts of the USA, Canada, Brazil, all over South America,  and specifically to Hawaii, she's been to this Pearl Harbor site. She's been all over. She was even arrested in Japan once for touching a beloved artifact in Japan and she's Japanese, naughty naughty! : ) But she's very very genki. A real spitfire, wonderful lady. : ) She is a sharp shooter, straight forward type a lady. And she creates an environment that makes kids want to learn and travel...and take part in discussions and even heated discussions. She likes to think outside the box. Meanwhile for our thoughts on Pearl Harbor and WW2...Noboru and I both were clearly not alive during WW2. But, we both agree both our countries did some pretty bad things. And we try to keep it like that. I personally am not too fond of war...of any kind. So...for was an interesting day. But a good day. Learning some interesting stuff and hanging out together as a family.

Both Bran and Noah can ask their dad anything and he'll do his best to answer. And as honestly as he can. I'm the same way. Ask me..and if I don't know..let's go together and find someone who does know! : ) 

Before the bombing.

Japanese fleet.

A trophy, a piece of a Japanese plane. I'm sure both sides kept their trophies.

That famous sentence..."A Day Which Will Live In Infamy."

Hearing the president say it in the Pearl Harbor movie sure...but actually the boys getting to see the documents. The actual speech!

The actual real corrections made. Branden just loved looking at this. The kids were! While books are wonderful...sometimes you just... need to see for yourself. To really "get it" To see a part and a piece of history.
This part of the museum was very interesting for me. See the title..."Looking like the enemy" The backlash and mistreatment Japanese Americans felt. This is absolutely horrible. 

Please read this picture. Hawaii at war. The war years were frightening times. People of Oahu were scared. 

This is a bit blurry, but it struck me...From paradise to paranoia. Civilians had to carry ID cards. This definitely goes beyond the 2 hour Ben Affleck movie here. Do, you know what, I mean. I hope so, and that was a good movie, I really liked that movie (am still a bit upset about the whole Ben Affleck nanny-gate thing right now... but still a good movie)... by the way...but wow.... learning the real day to day struggles, of the folks in Hawaii. They were real people. Real families there. 

Little kids in Pearl City with gas masks. Can you imagine having to play outside with a gas mask. Everyone on that island had their life turned upside down. 

Dorinda Nicholson and her brother Ishmael with gas masks on. We walked around a nice long time and really took our time enjoying every thing there was to see and read. And we left around 11am. We stood there for about 2 long hours enjoying walking around and the museum and signs throughout. We then left to have lunch before heading back to the museum for the boat ride at 2:15pm. 

We went to Panda Express for lunch. I had the sweet and spicy chicken breast and noodles, the boys had the same thing, as me. 

Noah had the kid sized one though and Bran had the same one, as me exactly. Noboru picked beef and broccoli and some other yummy things. We knew we had time to kill, so we ate slowly and talked about the museum and stuff. 

We arrived around, 1:40pm back at the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Many folks were there trying to score tickets for that day and were stunned to hear you have to go in the morning and the tickets go quick. Many were disappointed. : ( Which is why I mention it here..I don't want that to happen to any of you. : ) Anyway we had about 20 minutes to kill. So we bought Branden a model airplane. And we walked the museum a bit again. This sign made me so sad. How unbelievably sad! This just makes me feel so sorry! Granted, I wasn't even alive. But still....I feel so sorry. 

Finally it was time. It started with a movie, a short 10 minute movie. It was very informative. And then we boarded the boat. Also, there were no Japanese tourists the day we went, to Pearl Harbor. Just something we noticed, actually it was Noboru who noticed. Most Japanese people...tourists...were not even alive during that time they had nothing to do with this bombing either. So...they should come and see it. They would be most welcome. : )

There were something like 5 or so ships that sunk. However 2, they pulled up. But 3 sunk and are still under water, to this day. One being the USS Nevada. 

After you see the 10 minute movie. It's hard not to feel emotional. And right away... you are whisked onto the boat. And then seeing it in real life. It's like a very emotional feeling. Most people were very quiet on the boat ride over.

In America, when a flag is half mast, it's usually when we are mourning the loss of a president or mourning the loss of something, as a a whole. And I think it is fitting, for this place to always and forever... be at half mast. 

The marker for the USS Arizona.

I love this picture! : (

The first thing you think, it's right here..I'm looking right at it. And then you think of all those bodies locked into the ship, and couldn't get out! No escape!

The boys just taking it all in. It's a powerful thing, seeing it with your own eyes. 

It wasn't just a movie and.... it's not just a prop in a movie. It's a real ship... with a real crew trapped forever and ever inside. 

I let the boys have a few moments by themselves and to talk among themselves. 

That's part of the ship, in this pic too. 

You see a short informative movie beforehand and hear how they..... the trapped in the ship clanked on the ship, S.O.S. And clanked for days all the while.... people tried to get them out...until the clanking just stopped. And you knew...that they all died in there. So you just see that...and then you go and see it, in the flesh so to speak. Again...all I can think of is..."those poor people"...and "I am so sorry!" "I am so truly truly sorry! It's a very quiet boat tour. I think every one's pretty much feeling the same exact way. Very sorry, very emotional. But see it and learn from it. Perhaps Branden will have something to add, the next time, he is in class ...and they want to talk about Pearl Harbor or WW2. Nothing quite beats seeing it, first hand. 

Again, they wanted to go and talk with their dad and he was feeling the same as the kids... being there too. We all were. 

The wall of names. The names of all who died on this ship that day. The first thing that comes to mind is...what a massive wall...what an even more massive amount of names then you even realize or contemplate. The sheer amount of who died there...the numbers are huge! Astronomical. The room was dead silent. I think everyone was in, deep reflection mode. Or in the emotional zone and the room of names...just left everyone frankly speechless. But, yes, people would go and take 1 or 2 pics quickly and politely and leave. Or stand at the back and be wow-ed at the sheer number of names. Random 2 ladies also taking a quick pic or 2, in this pic. 

The wall of names. 

Someone left them a lei of flowers. : ( That was very nice.

And this smaller area of names is the names of survivors of the USS Arizona, but who wanted to be laid to rest here, upon their death. And so their names are listed here too. And the latest people added was from the year 2012. 

A very quick pic of the boys, before exiting the room and wall of names.  No smiles, they just felt the seriousness of the wall of names and the whole place. : (  Important to note...there is also a wall of names near the museum...on the grounds of this Pearl Harbor Historic site, but..that wall of names lists the civilians in Honolulu, who were killed by the Japanese, during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The list also had their ages at time of death from the bombing.... kids as little and young as age 2 and kids 12 years old and 14 years old. Kids age 8. Mother's, fathers and little innocent kids.'s just a very educational place. And I am sure there is something like this in Japan near where the bombs fell too. War is never good .: (  Anyway, it was a very interesting way to spend a day, while on Oahu. 

They had a gift shop and the prices were not too overly inflated at all. The prices were actually pretty reasonable. The necklaces were under $4. $3.95 or so. Both the boys picked out the necklace and it has the USS Arizona ship, dog tags on it. And Noah wanted the USS Arizona Memorial key chain. And they saved the boat tickets as keep sakes, also. : )  Plus, Bran received the model airplane. 
After leaving the Pearl Harbor Historical site. We needed to smile again. And be on vacation mode again. Lighten things up! So we decided it was still early and so we took a nice scenic drive for an hour and a half. And then we started heading towards the way of our condo. However we stopped off and had dinner first. 

Popeye's chicken and biscuits!The kids and I, each had a 3 piece chicken strips, mashed potato and biscuit and the combos, came with a drink. Noboru had a 2 piece dark. With mashed potatoes and biscuit and a soda.

It was dusk outside. About to turn dark, but no longer day time for sures... but more evening...type a look to the sky. By the time we ate and hopped in the car, it was totally night time. : ) 

This is so true, they do make the best biscuits. So buttery and rich and light & flakey. We arrived at home, we all took turns showering. We all had some peanut butter ice cream and sat and watched TV. And then we went to sleep. Anyway, that was how we spent our Thursday, July 23rd. : )