This day was well spent at the Japan Gensuikyo office.
In an attempt to understand the Tokyo transport system, Mizukichan drew for me a diagram of the Yellow and Orange Lines that operate on the Koenji eki (station). The orange line has fewer stops than the yellow line. I needed to meet Aichan by 930am at the Ochanomizu (means something like ‘water of tea’) station so we can walk to the Gensuikyo Office. It was a successful feat because Mizukichan was with me from her house to the Yoyogi station. 🙂
It was a typical busy day for the Gensuikyo team. After Aichan led me to my temporary desk, I got busy with cutting the business cards I need to bring for the Peace March. Another challenge of the morning was encoding the mobile numbers of all the key persons of the Gensuikyo office and from different prefectures on my borrowed japanese mobile phone. Even though Aichan has set the phone to english mode, there are till some settings that end me up writing in Hiragana. It takes some time to get used to the technique to avoid it.
The highlight of the morning was when Yasuisan, the cool Secretay General of Gensuikyo, called Aichan and me to pay a visit to the office of Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions (MIN-IREN) on the 7th floor. We met them yesterday at the May Day rally. When we came, we were surprised that everyone in the office stopped what they were doing in order to welcome us. They welcomed us warmly and I learned about their stand on war and nuclear weapons as medical practitioners. They also work closely with the hibakushas. This photo below is a part of their brochure that explains their stand.
It was my first time to learn about medical practitioners taking this stand for peace and environment from their profession’s point of view. It makes a lot of sense. It also reinforced some insights that have been lurking in mind about my profession.
Masakazu Yasui (Gensuikyo Secretary General), Ai Satoh(Gensuikyo Foreign Delegates Coordinator), me (Peace Marcher) and Nagase Fumio (MIN-IREN).
They have always participated in the Peace March for many years already. They also told us that their members will also be with us at many parts of the Peace March. They even gave us their collected donation that reached a large sum of money. I had goosebumps.
When we got back to the Gensuikyo office, Bunchan told me that they are the best to consult about healthcare during the Peace March as their network of hospitals is always ready to support the Peace Marchers. Amazing!
Lunch time surprises
I joined Bunchan, Aichan, and Tirokun for lunch at one of the little restaurants near the office. The lunch offered today was either burger or curry. Considering I am in Japan and I thought I can eat burgers anywhere, I opted for the curry. When our meals came, the 3 of them had burgers and I received my curry. It turns out the burger meals seems healthier than the beef curry I ordered.
The burger meal was composed of a thick, tender and juicy portion of burger on a large bed of fresh crunchy Japanese lettuce/rocket. It also comes with a large portion of rice on the side. My curry meal was huge! It was japanese style beef curry on a big plate of rice. It was mildly spicy for me.
My three colleagues tasted my curry and found it spicy. Tirokun actually helped me finish my curry meal. I observed that I was the only one who was given a towel at the start of our meal. When I saw him sweating heavily because of the spicy food, it was only then that I understood what the towel was for. The towel must be part of the curry meal! 🙂
Sorry for the lack of photos, we must have been quite hungry take pictures. 🙂
It was work mode again for the rest of the afternoon. Each one was busy with their own tasks. Everybody seems to know what they should be doing at any time. It was busy in there but the atmosphere was still light. To cap the evening, I took some photos before all of us took off.
This is Tiro Maekawa. An energetic spirit who is incharge of the Gensuikyo Newspaper. I first met him in Hiroshima in a youth rally for peace. He and Bunchan taught us the Heiwa song. Heiwa means peace in Nihongo. (Nihon means Japan and go means language). Last year, I also met him when he went for a short trip to Dubai. It was where he got his dishdash (an elegant white ‘dress’ for men). I should have brought an abaya and shaylah with me to complement the arabic costume. The abaya is a counterpart of dishdash for ladies – a black colour breathable dress to cover the whole body leaving only the hands exposed. A shaylah is the veil to cover hair, ears and neck, leaving only the Arabic ladies’ beautiful faces exposed.
This is Takasan. His full name is Hiroshi Taka. He is currently a representing director for Gensuikyo. He was also the Secretary General of Gensuikyo in the past. He is best at diplomatic relations that’s why he is always part of Gensuikyo’s international delegation. He is also a techie and makes sure that the computers in the office are working properly. He rocks!
The ladies Bun Okoshi and Ai Satoh. They have been in close coordination with me several weeks before I came to Japan. Bunchan is like the Peace March specialist of Gensuikyo. She has been a ‘Through Peace Marcher’ in 2010 which means she has done the entire Tokyo-Hiroshima Course. She knows what it was like for sure. She gave me a Peace March Kit today containing a Peace sirt, small packs of tissue, toe relaxers, arm cover, face lotion, a comb, a peace bracelet, even ear plugs! Yatta! (Nihongo for yey!)
Aichan is incharge of coordination with foreign delegates. She supports Yayoi Tsusida, Head of International Relations for Gensuikyo. She has been been making sure I have a place stay while I am in Japan. She also helps me with translations. Even though I took a crash course in Nihongo before I left Manila, I still cannot understand majority of conversations in Japanese. I am very thankful that she helps me with that. I have learned many new words from her. 🙂 Daijobou! Doumo arigatou gozaimasu! (Ok! Thank you!)
Last one I was able to catch was Wataru Kajihara. They call him Kajiyan more often. He is incharge of the Gensuikyo website and he is incharge of organising events for local Gensuikyo activities. We were beside each other together with Satakesan yesterday at the May Day rally. We were holding placards for Peace March. He also helped me with translations when he can.