Coming in our lifetime: Germany’s “train of the future”

Train travel just got even more attractive.

European train rides have long been favored by the well-traveled, bringing us back in time with champagne bars and grand suites (the Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-Express) and even serving as inspiration for The Hogwarts Express (The Jacobite Steam through Scotland). Across the continent, train travel allows travelers to seamlessly cross borders and swap cities with little more than a ticket in-hand, all the while taking in spectacular sights. And in years to come, it could grow more appealing to commuters, too.

Last week, German railway company Deutsche Bahn unveiled ‘Ideenzug,’ which translates to ‘Idea Train’—a regional train of the future, if you will. The project has been in the works for years, and while it’s still in the development stage, the commuter train could be decked out with everything from “reservable sports cabins” with spin bikes and digital personal trainers to big screen TVs, an area to play video games, and “privacy pods” where travelers can snag a little R&R. Suffer from motion sickness? Chairs on the Idea Train would swivel, facing any direction you want. Some of the seats would also be “noise-canceling,” thanks to a curved design and glass panes separating seats. It’s unclear where exactly the Idea Train would run, but the project is in partnership with Germany’s Southeast Bavarian Railway.

Idea Train
Courtesy Deutsche Bahn

Chairs on the Idea Train will swivel, facing any direction you want.

Future tests will help determine which design ideas prove most promising, Jörg Sandvoss, the CEO of Deutsche Bahn Regio told International Railway Journal. “When developing such concepts, it is not about implementing a train with all the creative ideas at once, but rather taking individual approaches into consideration for new trains,” he said.

The Idea Train hopes to compete with both the impending reality of self-driving cars—as well as, locally, the construction of Germany’s A94 highway, which will stretch from Munich to Simbach am Inn when it’s completed in 2019, according to The Local.


Even more interesting reads here:




Theoretically, what would happen in a Robredo presidency?

There may come a time when Digong will get so extremely fed up with all the destabilization plots against him…

that he’ll just pack his bags, along with his ever reliable kulambo…

and, head back to Davao. Back to his nocturnal taxi driver gig.

When that happens, it’s back to yet another female leader.

A dreaded moment for most. (And not because of gender issues.)


To show that she’s in control, Leni’s first decisive act would probably be to rename the international airports.

JRIA, for short. (In synch with the KatNiel name-coupling phenomenon.)

Not just one – but all three terminals.


Of equal importance is to appoint a go-to person… her special assistant… her very own Bong Go… but probably, more inches… taller… more macho… not as clean-shaven as Da Bong. My uzi friends are unanimous in their choice.


And because government cannot function without proper funding, Leni will be remiss in not appointing a Finance Secretary whose experience in juggling funds is unparalleled.


The critical Tourism portfolio rightfully belongs to one who has traveled extensively… and has seen the innate beauty of our country in islands like the Spratlys. A glib talker… an expert on hotels and the hospitality industry… a man who knows publicity is of utmost importance in any undertaking and can swing a TV interview on BBC or CNN effortlessly. There can only be one.


Intelligent Filipino kids are the caretakers of our future. Leni must certainly appoint an Education secretary whose intellect has been honed since childhood. Can you think of anyone else who was an expert on the intricacies of martial law while still at 6th grade?


To continue the big strides in Agriculture that DU30 nurtured, we need a DA Secretary to focus in a direction other than rice sufficiency which the country has already achieved.  This time it’s our lucrative banana export industry. One expert name rises above all.


Leni could use a battle-tested Press Secretary. One who has gone to war with just about each and every faux-journalist… or “blogger”, as she calls them.


The Presidential spokesperson should match the intellectual level of the President. Ladies and gentlemen, I propose the appointment of one who raised our consciousness on the quirky British royalty pecking pole… one who made us more knowledgeable of centuries-old titles like “Dutch” and “Duchess”.


With these essential people in place, the new President can proceed to more pressing important matters.

Like selecting historical landmarks and protecting these from damage and/or vandalism in the years to come. Offhand, I can pinpoint two.


OVP "Boracay Mansion" QC

The OVP “Boracay Mansion” QC

Bus stop on Magallanes/SLEX

I’ve gone quite a long way… but another theoretical question just came up.

What if the PET recount shows Bongbong really won the elections?

Esep esep.

McDonald’s Products that Failed Miserably

The Hula Burger

McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc, was a brilliant businessman, but not a good cook.

According to church canon, Catholics over the age of 14 are required to abstain from meat on Fridays. Kroc had high hopes for his non-meat option called “The Hula Burger” — grilled pineapple with cheese on a bun. He positioned the sandwich to compete against the Filet-o-Fish sandwich, which was invented by a Catholic franchisee. The Filet-o-Fish won hands down while the Hula tanked.

I mean, who would want to eat a burger with pineapple in it? You only put that in pizza. Thank god they didn’t screw up as bad as they did with their:


You can have an Egg McMuffin for breakfast and a Big Mac for lunch but what do I eat for dinner? McDonald’s tried to solve that problem in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the McPizza. To build the dinner menu, it even tried adding similar options like lasagna and spaghetti as you can see from Amanpreet Kapoor answer. Theoretically, McDonald’s could’ve been your one-stop shop — forget Dominos and Pizza Hut!­

Unfortunately, the fast service normally associated with McDonalds wasn’t included in this 10 minute pizza. And customers looking for a quick bite were disappointed that they had to wait longer than their typical Big Mac.

The Supersize Products

One of the most infamous and controversial items at McDonalds. The big thing is, it would have gone unnoticed if it wasn’t for our food superhero, MORGAN SPURLOCK! Thanks to his award winning documentary, “Supersize Me”, McDonalds was forced to pull back their menu of supersized McNuggets, Fries and burgers in order to avoid lawsuits.

Interesting McDo trivia

The hamburger patties are not smaller today, they are exactly the same size they’ve always been: 10 to a pound.

They’re still made with reconstituted dehydrated onions, yellow mustard, ketchup, one pickle slice, salt and pepper on the meat while it’s cooking. The recipe for the buns has only changed slightly.

There was, however, a period of time around 15 years ago when McDonald’s stopped toasting the buns, and instead microwaved them. The result was horrific, tasteless, tough, and an unmitigated disaster. It took several years of slowly declining sales, and catastrophically dropping customer satisfaction scores before they went back to toasting.

A former executive of the chain candidly remarked that he was eating McDonald’s regular hamburgers in the late 1950’s, and they still taste pretty much the same to him.


An afternoon with a certified Pinoy international visual artist


The 70s was a great decade to work in advertising.

As I look back, I tell myself that I sure was lucky.

(There is a strong possibility that… maybe, just maybe, I may have caught some of the creativity in the air at that time – by osmosis.)

I was a 17-year old copy writer in an ad agency populated by some of the Philippines’ masters in art. Big names, certified heavies and real movers: Jerry Navarro, Romulo Olazo, Cris Cruz… and a quiet young artist working in a noisy corner of the art bull pen.

His name was Edwin Wilwayco and he was one of the artists who first got me interested in art when he gave me… repeat, gave (not sold) one of his earliest work.

I finally met up with him after decades of no contact… and in a span of over two hours, I got into the head of my dear friend and distilled the reasons why discriminating art lovers would readily part with their P500K and upwards to own one of his masterpieces.

Let me share my “learnings”.













Edwin’s lovingly-prepared coffeetable book is sold at Leon Gallery, Ground Floor, Eurovilla 1, Legazpi corner Rufino Streets, Legazpi Village, Makati City.

Secrets of the writer/ex-adman who has sold more than 150,000,000 books

More than 100 million people have read at least one James Patterson book. That’s roughly one out of every three U.S. citizens. Last fall, with the publication of Against Medical Advice, his first work of narrative nonfiction, Patterson became the first author to have debuted at No. 1 on five New York Times bestseller lists: Hardcover Fiction, Hardcover Nonfiction, Mass Market Fiction, Children’s Chapter Books and Children’s Series. He also holds The New York Times bestsellers record at 42, according to his publisher.


It all began in 1977 when Patterson’s debut novel, The Thomas Berryman Number, won an Edgar Award. His breakout hit was Along Came a Spider, the first of many novels featuring Deputy Chief of Detectives Alex Cross. Today, his prolific body of work spans multiple genres, including The Women’s Murder Club series (a natural, he says, since he grew up surrounded by women), the Detective Michael Bennett books (co-authored with Michael Ledwidge), two young-adult series (Daniel X and Maximum Ride), the occasional historical novel (such as The Jester, which he calls “history on adrenalin”) and even romance (including Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, one of his favorites). He maintains this high volume, in part, by working with co-authors—a practice frowned upon by some, but rebutted by Patterson in one word: “teamwork.”

His name is so well known that he’s even been the subject of a “brand” case study by Harvard Business School students. Yet he says the secret to his success isn’t the marketing, though he’s a former ad executive who’s sold more than 150 million books worldwide. Patterson says his books sell by the millions whatever the genre because they’re cinematic, they’re fast paced and, well, they’re good.


For me it’s always been the same, and this was true when I was in business. I’ve always concentrated on the product. There are very few cases where people or enterprises or franchises have succeeded unless the product is really good for that audience. [Writers] always want to hear it’s the advertising. It isn’t—it’s the product.


I’m big on having a blistering pace. That’s one of the hallmarks of what I do, and that’s not easy. I never blow up cars and things like that, so it’s something else that keeps the suspense flowing. I try not to write a chapter that isn’t going to turn on the movie projector in your head.

My style is colloquial storytelling. It’s the way we tell stories to one another—it’s not writerly, it’s not overdone. In the colloquial style, when you’re just telling a story to somebody—and if [you said] some of the stuff that a lot of people put into books—somebody would just say, “Will you please get to the point?” Or, “This story is putting me to sleep.” Or, “Could I move to sit next to somebody else at this dinner?” A lot of writers fall in love with their sentences or their construction of sentences, and sometimes that’s great, but not everybody is Gabriel García Márquez  or James Joyce. A lot of people like to pretend that they are, and they wind up not giving people a good read or enlightening them.


What advertising helped me to understand and get into my head very powerfully is that there is an audience out there. People go in and they think they know all the answers, and then they test stuff and find out that nobody paid attention, nobody cared; it was a blip on the screen. So you learn that there is an audience there. I’m always pretending that I’m sitting across from somebody. I’m telling them a story, and I don’t want them to get up until it’s finished. I’m very conscious of an audience. I’m very conscious that I’m an entertainer. Something like 73 percent of my readers are college graduates, so you can’t condescend to people. You’ve got to tell them a story that they will be willing to pay money to read.


It was a lot of fun and an honor. Once again, the answer to what’s happening here is not one that [business students and writers] want to hear. What I have working for me is that I’m very emotional and I’m analytical, and that’s not always in the same body.

So I can look at my work and I can write it and try to make it as scary or loving or whatever the scene is supposed to be. And I can step back from it and analyze whether I’ve come anywhere near creating that.


They were very interested in the notion that I was a brand, in their opinion. And you couldn’t talk to a Coca-Cola bottle, but you could talk to me. They wanted to hear what I thought was behind it. I thought a lot of it was the fact that I’m thinking about the reader: I want to create a book that I think people are going to enjoy, that I would enjoy, and I get a kick out of that. Some writers don’t. Some serious writers, the last thing in the world they want to do is entertain people, and that’s fine, but I do want to entertain people.

On the marketing side, once I’ve written a book, I want to make sure that the cover is reasonable. And that, within reason, we’ve stuck our hand up in the air and said, “There’s a new book!” which is really all the advertising can do.


I just have too many stories. I couldn’t possibly do them all. People sometimes get wise-assed about the co-writers, but if you saw what happened … ! For example, with Sundays at Tiffany’s, I worked with a co-writer, and then I wrote seven drafts. And that happens a lot.

The “factory” comes up occasionally as a phrase. If it’s a factory, it’s a factory where everything is hand-tooled. If you came here now, you would see just stack upon stack—manuscript, screenplays, etc.—and almost nothing comes out of here that I don’t rewrite a lot, in addition to outlining.


With the exception of The Quickie, every idea has been mine. I come up with the idea. I write an outline, about which one of my agents says, with this outline I could write the book. Usually, with a co-written book, somebody else will do the first draft and I will do subsequent drafts.


There are some people I’ve known for a long time. I’ve known Maxine Paetro for a long time. Peter De Jonge I’ve known for a long time—he worked with me at J. Walter Thompson [advertising agency]. Michael Ledwidge was a guy who sent me a manuscript. We had both gone undergraduate to Manhattan College, although a long time apart. He was working as a doorman in New York. At the time I was chairman of J. Walter Thompson, and he gave [his manuscript] to my assistant, and my assistant said, “Jim will look at it.” Mike went home that night, and he was with his wife and the phone rang in his apartment, and he made a joke to his wife and said, “It’s probably James Patterson.” And he picked up the phone and it was me.

I said I liked it, and I helped him get an agent. So he sold it, and six or seven years later, he was having a little trouble, and we talked, and I said, “If you’d like, we can try to write a book together,” and we wrote Step on a Crack. And then we co-wrote the first Daniel X. We co-wrote The Quickie, which was Mike’s idea. We [released] another Michael Bennett [series book] in February, Run for Your Life. And the next Michael Bennett is finished, and we’re doing another one.


Most movie scripts are teams. Television shows are generally written by teams. In the beginning, a lot of series were written with co-authors. Stephen King has written with co-authors. Who cares? It doesn’t matter. Read the book. If you don’t like the book, you can talk to me about it. It’s not an issue of whether it’s written by somebody else or not. In America, we get so caught up in individualism and heroes. I’m big on teams. I think teamwork is great. I couldn’t possibly do all these stories. I have a file of stories that’s 400 pages thick, and they’re stories that I want to tell. Steven Spielberg doesn’t go out and do it by himself. I like the co-authored books. I think a lot of them are quite cool.


If it’s commercial fiction that you want to write, it’s story, story, story. You’ve got to get a story where if you tell it to somebody in a paragraph, they’ll go, “Tell me more.” And then when you start to write it, they continue to want to read more. And if you don’t, it won’t work.

In terms of literary fiction, that’s something different. It should be a point of view on something that’s wonderful to read. Too often it’s just style. I think style can be fine, but I think it’s a little overrated if a book is nothing but style. I’m not as keen on it as some people are.


I just finished another historical [novel]. I really like this idea. It’s a book that Alex Cross has written based on family stories, so you have your main character actually writing a book, and that’s really fun and different. Obviously, [I’m also working on] a lot of crime fiction—The Women’s Murder Club series, the Alex Cross series, the Michael Bennett series. We also have the TV series we sold to CBS in which Michael Bennett is the main character. Love stories—Sundays at Tiffany’s was the most recent. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas was earlier, which I really enjoy. They are most challenging for me because nobody gets killed, so I don’t have the cop-out of bringing in that kind of suspense and adventure.

One horror: You’ve Been Warned. Run for Your Life will be out. The next Maximum Ride, called Max. It’s been very successful. I’ll go to schools, and you feel like you’re a rock star because the whole school has read it and they’re just screaming and yelling. In my mind, the best way—or one of the best ways—to get kids reading is to give them books that they love.

I was a very good student, but I didn’t particularly like to read when I was younger. I still hate Silas Marner.They gave us books that were turnoffs to most of us. And then I worked my way through college at a hospital. I had a lot of free time, and I started reading everything I could find, and it was all serious stuff, but I fell in love. And that passion! You will hear that from a lot of people who do well in things. What’s the key? The key is passion, I think. You gotta love it.


I love it! You’re lucky if you find something you love to do, and if somebody will pay you to do it. That’s my situation. I think I understand what I do well, and what I don’t do as well. I tell stories well. I’m not a terrific stylist. Thomas Berryman, the first book I wrote, won an Edgar and does have a fair amount of style. I don’t think it’s a great story, but it does have style, so I have the ability to do it up to a point, but not as much as I’d want to, to write certain kinds of fiction.


I don’t think there are a lot of really readable books out there. There are less than people think there are. There’s a lot of stuff that you pick it up and you feel like, “I’ve read this before.” It’s very hard to grab people. I don’t think it’s an accident that I’m up there. I don’t think it’s an accident that John Grisham is up there. John Grisham grabs people. There are a few writers that do it. I don’t think it’s that easy, and it’s not a question of somebody who writes good sentences. It’s a question of people being able to tell stories in a way that captivates a lot of readers.

I’m not trying to duck the marketing thing. My advice to most people, in terms of, what should you do after you write your book? Should you invest in some marketing? Should you stand outside a bookstore with flyers? Go write another book. Go write another book! You learned some things writing this book. Make use of them in the next book, and keep your passion going, and get that habit.

Sugar is killing you sweetly

Sugar shockers
1. Sugar makes your organs fat

The fructose—a component of table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup—in added sugars triggers your liver to store fat more efficiently, and in weird places. Over time, a diet high in fructose could lead to globules of fat building up around your liver, a precursor to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, something rarely seen before 1980.

Sugar Smart Tip: Avoid drinks with lots of added sugars, including healthy-sounding smoothies. You’re better off if the fructose in your diet comes from natural sources like fruit—the fiber helps blunt the sugar shock to your system. Plus, a piece of fruit has way less sugar than a commercial smoothie full of added sugars (some of them contain 54 grams, or about 13½ teaspoons worth of sugar!).

2. Sugar primes your body for diabetes

A  study found that for every extra 150 calories from sugar available per person each day, diabetes prevalence rises by 1.1%.

Sugar Smart Tip: It’s easy to recommend giving up sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, but the truth is that those drinks account for just one-third of your added sugar intake. You have to look further, really honing in on labels. Much of the hidden sugars hide out under your own roof, in unassuming places like ketchup, frozen dinners, beef jerky, and bread.

3. Sugar hammers your heart

You might expect sugar-curbing recommendations from the American Diabetes Association, thanks to sugar’s clear impact on the disease.
 But the reality is that heart disease and diabetes are intricately related: Heart disease and stroke are the number one causes of death among people with type 2 diabetes, accounting for 65% of those deaths.

Sugar Smart Tip: Don’t exceed the American Heart Association’s recommended sugar levels, which are 5 teaspoons for women (20 grams); 9 teaspoons for men (36 grams); and 3 teaspoons (12 grams) for children. For reference, a can of soda generally contains up to 12 grams of sugar; a single slice of whole wheat bread contains up to 2 teaspoons of added sugars.

4. Sugar creates tense blood vessels

Added sugars cause excess insulin in the bloodstream, which takes its toll on your body’s circulatory highway system, your arteries. Chronic high insulin levels cause the smooth muscle cells around each blood vessel to grow faster than normal. This causes tense artery walls, something that puts you on the path to high blood pressure, and ultimately, makes a stroke or heart attack more likely.

Sugar Smart Tip: Don’t be tricked by processed “whole grain” products. To create whole grain flour, wheat kernels are basically pulverized to dust, which, when eaten, causes glucose spikes in our bodies similar to eating table sugar, white flour, or high-fructose corn syrup. “For instance, the kind of whole wheat bread typically used for sandwiches and white bread are digested at about the same rate and cause about the same rise in blood glucose levels, and therefore require the same amount of insulin to clear the bloodstream of glucose,” The Sugar Smart Diet author Anne Alexander writes.

5. Sugar promotes cholesterol chaos

There is an unsettling connection between sugar and cholesterol. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that, after excluding people with high cholesterol and/or diabetes and people who were highly overweight, those who ate the highest levels of added sugars experienced the biggest spike in bad cholesterol levels and dangerous triglyceride blood fats, and the lowest good (HDL) cholesterol levels. One theory? Sugar overload could spark your liver to churn out more bad cholesterol while also inhibiting your body’s ability to clear it out.

Sugar Smart Tip: Eat a protein-rich breakfast. Skipping breakfast makes you 4.5 times more likely to become obese. Eating breakfast also helps keep your blood sugar levels more favorable. An added perk? One study found that when overweight women chose protein-rich eggs over a bagel, they naturally ate about 160 fewer calories during the subsequent lunch.

6. It leads to type 3 diabetes

Brown University neuropathologist Suzanne de la Monte, MD, coined the term “type 3 diabetes” after her team was the first to discover the links between insulin resistance, high-fat diets, and Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, her work suggests Alzheimer’s is a metabolic disease, one in which the brain’s ability to use glucose and produce energy is damaged. To paraphrase, it’s like having diabetes in the brain.

Sugar Smart Tip: Know sugar’s many names. Check labels; ingredients that end in –ose are sugar, and so is anything with sugar or syrup after the name. Don’t overindulge in sugary, fatty foods—that seems to be what sets off Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in rat studies.

7. Sugar turns you into a junkie

Much like street drugs, sugar triggers the release of chemicals that set off the brain’s pleasure center, in this case opioids and dopamine. And as they do with street drugs, people develop a tolerance for sugar, meaning they need more sugar for a feel-good “fix.” In rat studies looking at sugar addiction, when animals binge on the sweet stuff, they experience chattering teeth, tremors, shakes, and anxiety when it’s taken away.

Sugar Smart Tip: Prevention advisor Andrew Weil, MD, urges people to be patient as they embark on a diet that cuts added sugars. He says it usually takes about a week for the taste buds to habituate to a lower overall level of sweetness in the diet. After that, foods you used to love may seem sickeningly sweet.

8. Sugar turns you into a ravenous animal

Sugar. Makes. You. Feel. Famished. Emerging research suggests regularly eating too much sugar scrambles your body’s ability to tell your brain you’re full. Carrying a few extra pounds and living with type 2 diabetes can throw off your body’s ability to properly put off leptin hormones; leptin’s job is to say, “I’m full! Now stop eating!” Fructose also appears to play badly with leptin; eating a high-fructose diet means your body feels hungry, even when you’re overeating.

Sugar Smart Tip: Instead of reaching for a standard chocolate bar, opt for a bit of organic chocolate with at least 70% cacao. When you feel a sugar craving coming on, walk for 15 minutes. Researchers found a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for a sugar-laden chocolate bar by 12%. Whatever you do, don’t just sit there—that will actually increase your sugar cravings. (Try these

9. Sugar makes you an energy-starved zombie

You know the feeling. You grab a chocolate candy bar, and with it, get that brief jolt of energy. Soon to be replaced by unrelenting fatigue. Science shows it takes just 30 minutes or less to go from a sugar rush to a full-on sugar crash. This sugar spike-and-crash sets you up to want more sugar—a vicious cycle. To add insult to injury, The Sugar Smart Diet points out that sugar also triggers the release of serotonin, a sleep regulator. So much for an energy bump!


10. Sugar turns your smile upside down

We might reach for sugar to feel better, but we’re getting the opposite effect in the end. A study published in Public Health Journal followed nearly 9,000 people to study the link between depression and eating sugary sweets and fast food. After six years, those who ate the most junk faced a nearly 40% greater risk of developing depression, compared to those who shunned junk food the most. In people with insulin resistance, it appears the brain releases lower levels of feel-good dopamine.

Sugar Smart Tip:

  • If you’re an ice-cream addict, today and tomorrow, eat one serving and then give away or throw away the carton. Then, instead of keeping a stocked-up freezer at home, make it a point to drive out to a local ice cream shop to get it. After that, put in place stricter guidelines, like you can only do this on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • If you’re a sucker for soda or juice, try this: Sip the full-sugar variety today, but in a smaller bottle or can. Tomorrow or the day after, swap every other serving with ice water or seltzer water with a twist of lime.
  • If you’re a dessert lover: Have your regular dessert today, but tomorrow opt for a fruit-based dessert like a baked apple or poached pear. The day after, step down to raw fruit, splurging on the varieties you like most, say, mangoes, berries, or purple or red grapes.
11. Sugar wrecks your face

Sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. These unwanted invaders attack nearby proteins, damaging them, including protein fibers in collagen and elastin, the components that keep your skin firm and elastic. The result of too much sugar? Dry, brittle protein fibers that lead to wrinkles and saggy skin.

There’s more! AGEs promote the growth of fragile collagen and deactivate your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes. This opens the door to more sun damage, which, as we all know, also damages and ages your skin.

“Living hell…” – Hiroshima atom bomb survivors share the insanity of it all

On August 6, 1945, the B-29 bomber Enola Gay took off from the North Field airbase on Tinian, in the West Pacific. At 8:15, 509th Composite Group commander Colonel Paul Tibbets arrived to the destination: Hiroshima. 30 minutes before that, 2nd Lieutenant Morri Jeppson had removed all safety devices from “Little Boy”, an atomic bomb loaded with 130 pounds of uranium-235—the first to be exploded over any population in the planet. 32,333 feet below, this is what that population experienced.


300 feet from Little Boy’s explosion hypocenter.
Hiroshima, Japan

Akiko Takakura.
Age at impact: 20 years.
One of the very few who survived so near the hypocenter.
TAKAKURA: After the air-raid the alarm was called off, I walked from Hatchobori to the Bank of Hiroshima in Kamiya-cho. I arrived at the bank some time around 8:15 or so, and signed my name in the attendance book. When I was doing my morning routine, dusting the desks and things like that, the A-bomb was dropped. All I remember was that I saw something flash suddenly.

INTERVIEWER: Can you explain the flash?

TAKAKURA: Well, it was like a white magnesium flash. I lost consciousness right after or almost at the same time I saw the flash. When I regained consciousness, I found myself in the dark. I heard my friends, Ms. Asami, crying for her mother. Soon after, I found out that we actually had been attacked. Afraid of being caught by a fire, I told Ms. Asami to run out of the building. Ms. Asami, however, just told me to leave her and to try to escape by myself because she thought that she couldn’t make it anywhere. She said she couldn’t move. I said to her that I couldn’t leave her, but she said that she couldn’t even stand up. While we were talking, the sky started to grow lighter.

Then, I heard water running in the lavatory. Apparently the water pipes had exploded. So I drew water with my helmet to pour over Ms. Asami’s head again and again. She finally regained consciousness fully and went out of the building with me. We first thought to escape to the parade grounds, but we couldn’t because there was a huge sheet of fire in front of us. So instead, we squatted down in the street next to a big water pool for fighting fires, which was about the size of this table.

Since Hiroshima was completely enveloped in flames, we felt terribly hot and could not breathe well at all. After a while, a whirlpool of fire approached us from the south. It was like a big tornado of fire spreading over the full width of the street. Whenever the fire touched, wherever the fire touched, it burned. It burned my ear and leg, I didn’t realize that I had burned myself at that moment, but I noticed it later.

INTERVIEWER: So the fire came towards you?

TAKAKURA: Yes, it did. The whirlpool of fire that was covering the entire street approached us from Ote-machi. So, everyone just tried so hard to keep away from the fire. It was just like a living hell. After a while, it began to rain. The fire and the smoke made us so thirsty and there was nothing to drink, no water, and the smoke even disturbed our eyes. As it began to rain, people opened their mouths and turned their faces towards the sky and try to drink the rain, but it wasn’t easy to catch the rain drops in our mouths. It was a black rain with big drops.

INTERVIEWER: How big were the rain drops?

TAKAKURA: They were so big that we even felt pain when they dropped onto us. We opened our mouths just like this, as wide as possible in an effort to quench our thirst. Everybody did the same thing. But it just wasn’t enough. Someone, someone found an empty can and held it to catch the rain.

INTERVIEWER: I see. Did the black rain actually quench your thirst?

TAKAKURA: No, no it didn’t. Maybe I didn’t catch enough rain, but I still felt very thirsty and there was nothing I could do about it. What I felt at that moment was that Hiroshima was entirely covered with only three colors. I remember red, black and brown, but, but, nothing else. Many people on the street were killed almost instantly. The fingertips of those dead bodies caught fire and the fire gradually spread over their entire bodies from their fingers.

A light gray liquid dripped down their hands, scorching their fingers. I, I was so shocked to know that fingers and bodies could be burned and deformed like that. I just couldn’t believe it. It was horrible. And looking at it, it was more than painful for me to think how the fingers were burned, hands and fingers that would hold babies or turn pages, they just, they just burned away.

0.31 miles from hypocenter

Taeko Teramae.
Age at impact: 15 years old.
TERAMAE: When the bomb fell, I was 15 years old. I was a third grader at the girls’ junior high school. I saw something shining in the clear blue sky. I wondered what it was, so I stared at it. As the light grew bigger, the shining thing got bigger as well.

And at the moment when I spoke to my friend, there was a flash, far brighter than one used for a camera. It exploded right in front of my eyes. There was a tremendous noise when all the buildings around me collapsed. I also heard people crying for help and for their mothers. I was caught under something which prevented me from moving freely.

I was so shocked that I couldn’t believe what had happened. I thought maybe I was having some kind of nightmare, but of course, I wasn’t. I felt pain when I pinched myself to see if it was real. I thought the bomb had been dropped on the central telephone office. The dust was rising and something sandy and slimy entered my mouth. I couldn’t figure out what it was since I couldn’t move or see. I couldn’t see anything in the dark.

A little later, I smelt something like sulfur. It smelt like the volcano, Mt. Aso and I threw up. I heard more voices calling “Mother! Mother!” But when our class teacher, Mr.Wakita, told us to behave like good students and stop crying, all the cries for help and for Mother stopped all of a sudden.

0.62 miles from hypocenter

Hiroko Fukada.
Age at impact: 18 years old.
INTERVIEWER: What was the color of the light?

FUKADA: I remember it was yellow. I clearly remember it now and despite the shower of glass, fortunately I didn’t have any major injuries. I thought it was hopeless because I thought the buildings directly head and I went out of the building because I thought it would be dangerous to stay inside. Soon I found soldiers walking in this direction. I was with my friends and we thought it would be safe to go with soldiers, and so we came here.

INTERVIEWER: What were the conditions outside the building?

FUKADA: Everybody was terribly injured. We were even embarrassed because we were not injured. I have no words to describe the scene. A flood of people went down this cliff just like dominoes down.

Mamoru Yukihiro.
Age at impact: 36 years old.
INTERVIEWER: Uh….how was it when you saw the ray?

YUKIHIRO: Immediately after I saw the strange yellow ray, the office was totally destroyed almost instantly, without any warning. It was as if a box of matches has suddenly been struck by a hammer and crushed to pieces. I didn’t even hear any sound. I sat still for a while, and then, I saw the sun ray come in above me. So I managed to get up, but I couldn’t find any of the 200 employees. Even though I myself had 3 wounds on my head and one on my back, I was so surprised that I walked out, I walked out onto the street with the blood running down my body. In the street, all I found were wounded people and destroyed houses.

0.74 miles from hypocenter

Akira Onogi.
Age at impact: 16 years old.
ONOGI: I was in the second year of junior high school and was mobilized work with my classmates at the Eba Plant, Mitsubishi shipbuilding. On the day when A-bomb was dropped, I happened to be taking the day off and I was staying at home. I was reading lying on the floor with a friend of mine. Under the eaves I saw blue flash of light just like a spark made by a train or some short circuit. Next, a steamlike blast came.

INTERVIEWER: From which direction?

ONOGI: Well, I’m not sure, anyway, when the blast came, my friend and I were blown into another room. I was unconscious for a while, and when I came to, I found myself in the dark. Thinking my house was directly hit by a bomb, I removed red soil and roof tiles covering me by hand and for the first time I saw the sky. I managed to go out to open space and I looked around wondering what my family were doing. I found that all the houses around there had collapsed for as far as I could see.

INTERVIEWER: All the houses?

ONOGI: Yes, well, I couldn’t see anyone around me but I heard somebody shouting “Help! Help!” from somewhere. The cries were actually from underground as I was walking on. Since no choose were available, I’d just dug out red soil and roof tiles by hand to help my family; my mother, my three sisters and a child of one of my sisters.

Then, I looked next door and I saw the father of neighboring family standing almost naked. His skin was peeling off all over his body and was hanging from finger tips. I talked to him but he was too exhausted to give me a reply. He was looking for his family desperately. The person in this picture was a neighbor of us. I think the family’s name was the Matsumotos.

When we were escaping from the edge of the bridge, we found this small girl crying and she asked us to help her mother. Just beside the girl, her mother was trapped by a fallen beam on top of the lower half of her body. Together with neighbors, we tried hard to remove the beam, but it was impossible without any tools.

Finally a fire broke out endangering us. So we had no choice but to leave her. She was conscious and we deeply bowed to her with clasped hands to apologize to her and then we left. About one hour later, it started raining heavily. There were large drops of black rain. I was wearing a short sleeve shirt and shorts and it was freezing. Everybody was shivering. We warmed ourselves up around the burning fire in the middle of the summer.

INTERVIEWER: You mean the fire did not extinguish by the rain?

ONOGI: That’s right. The fire didn’t subside it at all. What impressed my very strongly was a 5 or 6 year-old-boy with his right leg cut at the thigh. He was hopping on his left foot to cross over the bridge. I can still record this scene very clearly. The water of the river we looking at now is very clean and clear, but on the day of bombing, all the houses along this river were blown by the blast with their pillars, beams and pieces of furniture blown into the river or hanging off the bridges.

The river was also filled with dead people blown by the blast and with survivors who came here to seek water. Anyway I could not see the surface of the water at all. Many injured people with peeled skin were crying out for help. Obviously they were looking at us and we could hardly turn our eyes toward the river.

INTERVIEWER: Wasn’t it possible to help them?

ONOGI: No, there were too many people. We took care of the people around us by using the clothes of dead people as bandages, especially for those who were terribly wounded. By that time we somehow became insensible all those awful things. After a while, the fire reached the river bank and we decided to leave the river. We crossed over this railway bridge and escaped in the direction along the railway.

The houses on both sides of the railroad were burning and railway was the hollow in the fire. I thought I was going to die here. It was such an awful experience. You know for about 10 years after bombing I always felt paralyzed we never saw the sparks made by trains or lightning. Also even at home, I could not sit beside the windows because I had seen so many people badly wounded by pieces of glass. So I always sat with the wall behind me for about 10 years. It was some sort of instinct to self-preservation.

0.87 miles from hypocenter

Akihiro Takahashi.
Age at impact: 14 years old.
TAKAHASHI: We were about to fall in on the ground the Hiroshima Municipal Junior High School on this spot. The position of the school building was not so different from what it is today and the platform was not positioned, too. We were about to form lines facing the front, we saw a B-29 approaching and about fly over us. All of us were looking up the sky, pointing out the aircraft.

Then the teachers came out from the school building and the class leaders gave the command to fall in. Our faces were all shifted from the direction of the sky to that of the platform. That was the moment when the blast came. And then the tremendous noise came and we were left in the dark. I couldn’t see anything at the moment of explosion just like in this picture.

We had been blown by the blast. Of course, I couldn’t realize this until the darkness disappeared. I was actually blown about 10 m. My friends were all marked down on the ground by the blast just like this. Everything collapsed for as far as I could see. I felt the city of Hiroshima had disappeared all of a sudden. Then I looked at myself and found my clothes had turned into rags due to the heat. I was probably burned at the back of the head, on my back, on both arms and both legs.

My skin was peeling and hanging like this. Automatically I began to walk heading west because that was the direction of my home. After a while, I noticed somebody calling my name. I looked around and found a friend of mine who lived in my town and was studying at the same school. His name was Yamamoto. He was badly burnt just like myself.

2.3 miles from hypocenter

Isao Kita.
Age at impact: 33 years old
KITA: Well, at that time, I happened to be receiving the transmission over the wireless. I was in the receiving room and I was facing northward. I noticed the flashing light. It was not really a big flash. But still it drew my attention. In a few seconds, the heat wave arrived.

After I noticed the flash, white clouds spread over the blue sky. It was amazing. It was as if blue morning-glories had suddenly bloomed up in the sky. It was funny, I thought. Then came the heat wave. It was very very hot. Even though there was a window glass in front of me, I felt really hot. It was as if I was looking directly into a kitchen oven. I couldn’t bear the heat for a long time. Then I heard the cracking sound. I don’t know what made that sound, but probably it came from the air which suddenly expanded in the room.

By that time, I realized that the bomb had been dropped. As I had been instructed, I pushed aside the chair and lay with my face on the floor. Also as I had been instructed during the frequent emergency exercises, I covered my eyes and ears with hands like this.

And I started to count. You may feel that I was rather heartless just to start counting. But for us, who observed the weather, it is a duty to record the process of time, of various phenomena. So I started counting with the light flash. When I counted to 5 seconds, I heard the groaning sound. At the same time, the window glass was blown off and the building shook from the bomb blast. So the blast reached that place about 5 seconds after the explosion.

We later measured the distance between the hypocenter and our place. And with these two figures, we calculated that the speed of the blast was about 700 meters per second. The speed of sound is about 330 meters per second, which means that the speed of the blast was about twice as fast as the speed of sound. It didn’t move as fast as the speed of light but it moved quite rapidly.

2.54 miles from hypocenter

Hiroshi Sawachika.
Age at impact: 28 years old
SAWACHIKA: I was in my office. I had just entered the room and said “Good morning.” to colleagues and I was about to approach my desk when outside it suddenly turned bright red. I felt very hot on my cheeks. Being the chief of the room, I shouted to the young men and women in the room that they should evacuate. As soon as I cried, I felt weightless as if I were an astronaut.

I was then unconscious for 20 or 30 seconds. When I came to, I realized that everybody including myself was lying at one side of the room. Nobody was standing. The desks and chairs had also blown off to one side. At the windows, there was no window glass and the window frames had been blown out as well. I went to the windows to find out where the bombing had taken place.

And I saw the mushroom cloud over the gas company.

The sound and shock somehow suggested that the bomb had been dropped right over the gas company. I still had no idea what had happened. And I kept looking towards the gas company. After a while, I realized that my white shirt was red all over. I thought it was funny because I was not injured at all. I looked around and then realized that the girl lying near by was heavily injured, with lots of broken glass stuck all over her body. Her blood had splashed and made stains on my shirt.