It is Sunday morning. 11:45 am. From my hotel room on the 31st floor I have a perfect view on to the Shinagawa train station. In the background the impressive Tokyo skyline. I am reflecting yesterday: a day spent in Hiroshima. On the way through the very busy train station there were many people in orange T-shirts.
My companions explained: “Most likely there is a baseball game today. The local baseball team is the “Hiroshima Carps”.” I was like “What? Carps? Who would name a baseball team “Carps”? I can picture the crowd going …” (while I was mimicking a carp face: wide open eyes, blown up cheeks, opening/closing my mouth very slowly, I hope you all can picture my face). I simply could not connect any attributes of a carp with what I would like to see in a sports team. Mimicking the carp should become our running gag for the day.
We visited the A-bomb dome (see photo) which is a building left in the status of August 6th, 1945, when “Little Boy”, was dropped on Hiroshima. From there we passed the park where the pictures of the G7 summit leaders were taken just a few weeks ago. We went on to the museum. The story of the atomic bomb disaster was told in a very deep, personal and touchy way. The explosion had eliminated the city. 130.000 human lives were taken. Countless personal stories. Pictures of badly burned human bodies. Stories of orphans, poverty, and hunger in the aftermath. Definitely, nothing for the lighthearted. Towards the end of the exhibit there were displays about the development of these weapons. And stories of the reconstruction of Hiroshima, with the fact that 4 years after the explosion the local baseball team was founded. At this point a personal recommendation: everybody should take the chance to visit this place once in their lifetime. It changes perspectives.
We went on sightseeing. Had “Hiroshima Okonomiyaki” for lunch, and a beer. At dinner, the inevitable happened: we came back to the question: why does anybody name a baseball team “Carps”? Long story short: I got some insight about the history of Hiroshima and its castle, also called “Carp Castle”, since it was surrounded by waters riddled with carps. But what is more: koi carps are a very strong symbol in Japan. They stand for many good qualities: Known to swim against the current and overcome great obstacles, koi symbolize strength, courage, patience, and success through perseverance. Well, I can now see why a baseball team that was founded 4 years after an atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima, was named “Hiroshima Carps”. It was a strong symbol of hope, which was desperately needed in dire times. And when I leaned that… I felt somewhat embarrassed about my mimicking of the carp.
And it reminded me not to be too quick to judge actions or words for which I am lacking the big picture. How about you? Are you also sometimes too quick to judge?