The Peace March kicked off from the Yumenoshima Park in Tokyo. Before the ceremony, many people gave me small gifts to use for the Peace March. Many of them were pins. I remember an old lady who gave me very old pins she used at the Peace Marches since around 1967. Wow!
The opening ceremony started at 11:30 am. The program included speeches from hibakushas, a representative from the youth peace movement, a member of the delegation of Gensuikyo to Geneva ( for the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review) and also from the director of the Daigo Fukuryu Maru (Lucky Fifth Dragon Museum).
It was also then that I met my fellow ‘Through Peace Marcher’ Muratasan. There were also other through peace Marchers who will walk through the other courses. It was surprising to know that many of them have been participating in the Peace March for more than 5 years already. Most of them are quite old and there were only 2 younger ladies introduced – including me. The youngest one was Sandosan. She works for the Coop of Wakayama and she will be walking with us for the next 13 days.
We started walking at 1:00 in the afternoon passing by the busy and famous streets of Tokyo. The organizers said we were passing by the heart of Tokyo. Around 900 people joined in the March this day. There was a part where we were joined by the hibakushas themselves. They walked with us for quite a long way. I was led beside on hibakusha by Yasuisan and I tried to make a conversation and shaked hands with him. We held hands for more than half of the walk. With my poor Nihongo, I was only able to ask his age. He is 85 and he walks well. Before we parted, he asked me to take care (translated by Aichan:-) ).
For some part of the march, we stayed with the latter part of the crowd where they have a DJs truck. This was run by the guys we met at the May Day rally. It was cool and they were playing reggae beats with Nihongo lyrics. It appeals to the younger people and perhaps lifted the spirits of the marchers.
We finished at Shiba Park at the Minato Ward. It was a brief closing ceremony since it rained when we arrived. The Peace Marchers were asked to say a few words about what they felt about the Peace March that day.
One highlight of Shiba Park is the shrine of the flame from Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The fire was lighted in one of the important activities in Nagasaki or Horoshima many years ago and that flame was not turned off but instead, shared and passed on to different places. It even reached New York. I have to ask Takasan to tell me the story about this eternal flame again.
The walk was long and I felt some tiredness in my feet and legs. But somehow it felt good to walk with that big a crowd. They told me before that we would be walking an average of 10 km a day. I think we went past that on the first day! Aichan’s phone has a pedometer and it recorded around 20 kilometers. But this was based on her stride which is longer than mine. Maybe it would be safe to say that we walked around 12 kilometers.
To cap the night, the local organisers prepared a dinner at a chinese restaurant. We had spicy food! Having been exposed to spicier food in Dubai, I can tolerate the spice they had in that restaurant. It is interesting to know that many of my Japanese friends found the food very spicy. 🙂 There were many familiar faces that night. Many of them I met at the May Day rally. Sugoi! (Cool!)