Saturday, February 7, 2015

"That Summer Day"

Recently, I found a Japanese picture book at the library's small bookstand.  I was surprised to see it on the shelf since the library doesn't typically sell foreign books.  However, this book has beautiful pictures and is also translated in English.  I don't really need the English translation (the Japanese isn't too difficult to understand), but it did help with some of the vocabulary.

"On That Summer Day"

The book is called Ano Natsu no Hi, translated as "On That Summer Day".  It's about the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, one of the two towns that has ever experienced the nuclear power of an atomic bomb.  After flipping through some of the pages, I became interested in the book but I didn't have enough money or time to think about seriously buying it.  Instead, I thought, "If I see it again I'll buy it" as I walked out.  The next time I went to the library though, it was there!  In less than a second I bought it without thinking . . .

But it's a great book.  It really moves readers' hearts.  The story is written in third person, but it also talks about the everyday lives of the people who lived in Nagasaki at that time.  The pictures helps move readers to understand the atrocity and the serious consequences of what nuclear weapons can do.

A page from "On That Summer Day"

My favorite passage from the book is this:

War springs from a spirit of hatred and conflict.
Atomic bombs were born from a spirit of fear and doubt.
But human beings are also capable of love, trust,
understanding and tolerance.
It is this spirit of love will bring world peace

and that will make atomic bombs unnecessary.

The author's wish is for nuclear weapons to go away one day, but I'm not sure if that's possible.  It's a nice dream, but I don't think countries with nuclear weapons will ever give them up.  It wouldn't be like them and no country wants to be vulnerable to attacks like that (or at least give up their power to retaliate in case there's a nuclear risk).  But it's a nice dream, isn't it?