I Love Nagasaki
Nagasaki has been my home for the past 5 years, and I wish I could stay for ever. The wide world calls, and I must leave, but I am sure I will be back.
This is why I love Nagasaki:
Not every job offers a view over an historic port, towering mountains, a majestic cantilever bridge and distant islets. I am lucky enough to look out over this scene every day from my office. I watch boats, from enormous cruise ships to tiny sailing boats, as they come and go, and I see the sky change from clear blue to stormy to a pink glow in the evening. And this is just one example of the great scenery Nagasaki has to offer: there is no shortage of mountains to climb (or glide up by cable car), and you will not be disappointed by what you can see from the top. Twinkling lights of houses clustered on the hillsides, transparent blue ocean stretching as far as the eye can see, gently smoking volcanoes, castle ruins, old churches, dense humid forests, and more.
Have you waded through warm seawater that sparkles with the light of tiny bioluminescent plankton? Have you pushed against a bookshelf only to find behind it a small bar serving fresh fruit cocktails served by the light of a pen torch? Have you cooked vegetables in steam rising directly from the earth, at the foot of an active volcano?
These are just three of the unexpected and unforgettable surprises that Nagasaki has given me. Nagasaki may be small, with much of its area taken up by ocean, but in 5 years it has never ceased to amaze and delight me. I have also greatly enjoyed delving into Nagasaki’s complex history, particularly the centuries of international exchange and industrial innovation which led to the birth of modern Japan. Even the event which I most associated with Nagasaki before I came, the 1945 atomic bombing, has gained a realness far beyond the pages of my school textbooks, thanks to the excellent Atomic Bomb Museum, and numerous conversations with survivors and others affected.
Year-round, Nagasaki’s festival heart is beating hard, with some kind of event in full swing or else busy preparations for the next one. Festivals such as Nagasaki Okunchi and Sasebo Yosakoi in autumn, Nagasaki Lantern festival and the Kanoukaen cherry blossom fire festival in spring, spirit-boat processions for the departed during O-Bon, and wintertime illuminations, alongside a profusion of flower and firework festivals throughout the year, have kept me far busier than I ever thought I would be in a so-called ‘rural’ area!
This is my brief love letter to Nagasaki. I hope I have inspired you to come and experience for yourself this special place!