Aichan and I took the train to Tokyo at a time when there is no more rush hour. We passed by some telephone shops to arrange for a prepaid mobile phone for me. It seems that my phone from the Philippines / Dubai is already outdated here so she lent me her old phone and we converted it to a prepaid system. This I will use to communicate with the Peace March organizers throughout the Tokyo-Hiroshima course.
The Japan Gensuikyo, the main organizer of the Peace March, has its main office in Tokyo. Aichan noticed the silence in the office when we came. She said it was not usual to see the Gensuikyo office that quiet.
Perhaps it was because it was what they call the Golden Week in Japan. Some public holidays were next to the weekends so only three working days were left for this week. May 1 is International Labour Day or May Day as they call it here. May 3 is Constitution Day and May 5 is Children’s Day. There are more holidays for this weekend, I just forgot what the other ones were. Another major reason for the unusual quiet in the office was perhaps the Gensuikyo delegation just came back last night from a major activity in Geneva.
Nevertheless, we were welcomed by Riekosan and Yasuisan. The office became alive when Bunchan and the rest of the gang came.
By 2pm we had a briefing meeting where they informed me about the details of the course. The people incharge of me are Satakesan, Bunchan, and Yasuisan. I will be marching almost the entire course with a highly regarded man named Murata Sumio. There will also be other people marching in other prefectures simultaneously with us. There are around 4 courses. Two of which will start on May 6: the Tokyo – Hiroshima course and the Hokkaido – Tokyo course. They also briefed me on what will happen on May 6 -start of the Peace March. I am excited already. 🙂
Several minutes after, we went down to the 3rd floor for a small press conference for the Peace March. There were 3 people from the media including Kyodo and Akahata. I was introduced as one of the peace marchers for this year. And they mainly asked why I decided to join the Peace March. I would most probably be answering this question for many times in the next few days including tomorrow. I am tasked to make a speech for 1 minute in May Day tomorrow.
After a busy day at work, the Gensuikyo team prepared a small welcome party for me in the office. They gave me important gears to wear in the Peace March as well as meaningful information on the history and spirit of this activity. More of this tomorrow.
Signing off from Mizukichan’s place in Koenji, Tokyo. 🙂
I would also like to document that Mizukisan served a nice dinner of steamed tofu, ikura on crackers and tasty squid stuffed with rice. It was a Hokkaido night and her husband Takusan and friend Akirasan (both members of the City Council and the Japanese Communist Party) showed me their skills on playing a Japanese game.
The couple, Mizukichan and Takukun, is my host family for the next 3 nights. Chan is placed after the first name of young women while kun is attached to names of young men. I first met Mizuki Nakamuya at the 2011 World Conference on the Abolition of A&H Bombs in Horhshima and Nagasaki. She is one of the translators and guide to foreign delegates almost every year.
She regularly works as translator for the Japan Press Weekly (JPW). Every week, JPW posts five articles from Akahata that are translated in English. Akahata is the main newspaper of the Japan Communist Party (JCP) is a widely read progressive daily newspaper in Japan. She is also a visual artist with works on the cover of magazines for educators, scholars, & researchers. She also organizes monthly night markets in their neighbourhood – the fantastic place called Koenji. She does a lot of amazing things for her community. And she cooks well too. Koenji, by the way, is a thriving community of residential and small local establishments. It is a neighbourhood with narrow streets similar to those in Gamla Stan in Sweden but far from touristy. There are a lot of small cozy bars, restaurants, specialty stores and many other shops lining up the ground floor of the low rise buildings.
Taku Tomita, her husband, is a full time representative at the Suginami City Assembly. He is a native of Hokkaido where most of our dinner came from. He loves the game of tops and has a leather box full it! He also has many books of origami and his obra of the evening was a rose. A rose origami is considered very difficult. While Mizukichan was preparing dinner, we practiced folding paper cranes as well. Aside from origami, he also likes taking closeup photos of colourful insects.
His friend, Akira Harada, is also a representative at the City Assembly. They have their office at the city hall. One of their projects right now is asking the government make more day care centers to support the growing number of working mothers due to harder times. This is year is his third term, which means, he has been doing public service for around 10 years now. He and Takakun are some of the youngest members of the assembly. He loves eating curry chips with slices of camembert cheese. It was a wierd but delicious combination. Oishi. Oh and there’s smooth cold can of beer on the side. 🙂