Hello everyone! My name is Effie Zhang and I am a member of Westtown School Class of 2010!
I cannot believe this is our last week of school before we go on to our senior project. Although I am very excited about my senior project, I have to wait until March 3rd to actually start my trip in Hiroshima, Japan. As most of you know, this past Sunday was the Lunar New Year. Lunar New Year is a huge deal in China and celebration with families goes on for at least two weeks. Luckily this year’s New Year Eve was in mid-Feburary, which means if I take off this Friday I can still be home in time for the second half of the New Year celebration. Finally I decided to enjoy my spring break first and do my senior project later.
Speaking of my own-designed senior project, I cannot find exact words to describe my excitement. I am going to spend four days in Hiroshima, then six days in Tokyo, and finally another three days in my homecity Beijing. I am starting my trip in Hirosima. I will be staying in a Quaker-related familystyle hotel/center called the World Friendship Center. I already booked my room for three nights there. It is now run by an American couple. In Hiroshima I will visit the Peace Park and a junior high school (hopefully). I want to conduct some interviews with local people, attempting to gain a true version of what happend and what are remembered about the Atomic Bombings. In Tokyo, with some of my Japanese friends’ help, I will be visiting several history musems as well as the Tokyo Meeting. I don’t know how much of my plan will actually turn out smoothly, but I am defintely looking forward to my trip to Japan. When I return from Japan, in Beijing I will visit a WWII history museum, and spend the rest of my spring break writing my research paper on different versions of WWII.
Thanks to T.Susan Rhodewalt, my advisor and my “Hiroshima to 9/11” teacher, who inspired me to come up with this great idea and has helped me planning my trip and make connections in Japan for me. Her husband Scott Rhodewalt has been to Hiroshima and the World Friendship Center for several times. They both have been my resources ans supports duing the past three months when I was planning my senior project. T.Susan has always been telling us in class that history has to be learned from different perspectives. Japanese see themselves victims in WWII because of the Atomic Bombings. Chinese people also see themselves as victims in WWII. Chinese hate Japanese because of their denial of Nanjing Massacre (300,000 killed in 2 weeks), and they don’t show sympathy to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivers at all. Through my trip, I want to fully understand what people really think about WWII history and how much they know about the other side of the story. If possible, I would also like to be a peace promoter, bringing peace to both sides and helping them understand each other. No more Hiroshima. No more Nagasaki. No more Nanjing 1937.
My senior project is going to be challenging since I don’t speak Japanese at all. (Although I just started leaning it!) Yet I feel confident and excited about my trip. I will post my blog entries as often as possible and I hope you will enjoy reading them!
See you in Hiroshima!