The 5 'B's of Hiroshima

Good morning everyone,

It's going to be a gorgeous day today with a high of 27C and blue skies! We may see some rain at some point tomorrow and it'll be a bit cooler at only 24C. Tuesday will clear up and after that, it'll be great weather all week.

Have you ever heard of the 5 'B's of Hiroshima?

Yesterday a student was telling me about them and it was the first I'd ever heard of them. I searched for some information online about it, but couldn't find anything, so I'm going to tell you about it from memory...and my memory is a bit spotty these days, so don't quote me!

Other than the obvious tourist traps of Miyajima and Peace Park and some local foods-oysters, okonomiyaki and momijimanju, there isn't much interesting about the city...or is there?

Here are 5 things that are famous in Hiroshima (even if no one outside of Hiroshima knows or cares) and they all conveniently start with 'B' to make them easy to remember:

First of all, Hiroshima is famous for its buses. I know what you're thinking-"How can buses be interesting?". Well, the only people who would say that are those who have never tried to catch a bus in Hiroshima. There are 4 different bus stops within a 2-minute walk of my school and they are all in different locations and they are all called 'Hachobori Bus Stop'. Good luck figuring out the right one! Actually, Hiroshima was the first city in Japan to use buses as a means of public transportation. Of course we have a monorail, trains and streetcars, but buses are still the most common sight in Hiroshima. They comprise about 40% of the public transportation in the city.

The second 'B' is for bars. We have a drinking area in the middle of the city. It's basically what we would call a red light district without the bums, druggies, muggers or gangbangers (but we do have the sex workers...so I've heard). While every town or city worth its salt in Japan has a similar red light area, Hiroshima has over 3,000 bars crammed into a tiny 3 block area, giving it the highest density of bars of any city in the country.

The next 'B' stands for bridges. Hiroshima is built on a river delta (which is one of the reasons why we don't have a subway) where 6 rivers meet. We've got bridges...a LOT of bridges. It makes commuting in the city a bit tricky because you've got to cross a bridge to get anywhere. I live just over 4km from my school, but I have to cross 4 bridges to get there. According to my student, there are over 2,500 bridges in the city. That seems a bit high, but I wouldn't be all that shocked if it turns out to be correct.

And next, we have branches. While Tokyo is the financial and political centre of the country, Hiroshima is the only city of any consequence west of Osaka, which means almost every national company in the country has a branch office in Hiroshima. You can find pretty much any bank, insurance company, retail store or corporation somewhere in the city centre.

And finally, baseball. Baseball isn't a pastime in Hiroshima. It's basically a religion. The Carp are revered by the population and you're taking a huge risk if you criticize the team. Hiroshimans feel that the team helped the city get back on its feet and people's lives get back to normal life after the bombing. It's been over 30 years since they won a championship, but the stadium is still sold out every single game.

And those, my friends, are the 5 'B's in Hiroshima. If you're ever here and want to experience something other than Miyajima, take a walk around and you'll soon see how prevalent they all are in the city.

Have a great day!

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