Five years ago today, 31st Match 2010, I visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Peace Memorial Park. I decide to write about that visit today, as the anniversary of it caught me by surprise.
When I was there, viewing all the horrific sights, and thinking about the terrible suffering that happened in Hiroshima as a result of the atomic bomb, I thought that I would never forget the day that I actually stood there and saw it for myself. Although I've never forgotten that I went there, I was quite surprised when, by pure coincidence, I looked at one of my photos today, and realised that it was exactly five years since I was there.
At the time that I visited Hiroshima, I was taking a holiday from my job, which was working for Europe's largest weapons manufacturer. As I sat in the Peace Memorial Park, after viewing all the sights in the museum, and staring across the river at the famous "A-Bomb Dome", I told myself that I could no longer work for a company that profits from war and suffering. True to my word, when I returned to the UK, I handed in my notice and quit my job within a month, determined to focus on my writing career.
I was pretty proud of myself at the time, but that feeling wouldn't last for too long. After seven months of sitting at home working on my novel, Crystal Buddha, and other writing projects, my finances were pretty low. My trip to Japan had initially taken a fair amount of money, which wasn't helped by me quitting my job as soon as I returned home. Therefore, in December 2010, I contacted my old office, and took my old job back... designing warships!
Thinking back now, I'm not proud that I gave up the vow that I made in Hiroshima in order to bring in some money. It feels like I betrayed all the souls that still linger there. There's a mound in the park filled with the ashes of 70000 victims of the Atomic Bomb who have never been identified. I betrayed those people.
Eventually, I did leave that job again, and am pleased to say that I have never been tempted to go back, but I'm disappointed that my Hiroshima visit hadn't remained at the forefront of my mind for all those years.
I hope that now, by helping other people with my sports scientist work to become fitter and healthier, I can offer some form of apology to the people who died at Hiroshima. I'm no longer working in an industry that thrives on people's misery, instead I'm working to help other people live longer and happier lives.
Please forgive me Hiroshima, I won't forget you again.