It was a windy morning. The Peace Marchers met again at the Shiba Kouen at Minato Ward of Tokyo. Kouen means park in Nihongo. The opening ceremony was attended by two representatives from the municipality. The Minato ward joined the Mayors for Peace group in 2010They conveyed the mayor’s message of support for the abolition of nuclear weapons and also gave a pair of ribbons signifying the municipality’s support. We will be getting these ribbons from every municipality we visit. One representative from the municipality also walked with us for quite a long stretch.
As we walked along the streets of Tokyo, some members of Gensuikyo were giving away flyers to pedestrians and almost everyone they meet on the street. Ai Satoh (Aichan) and I also tried to mingle with our fellow Peace Marchers as encouraged by Bun Okoshi (Bunchan). I was surprised to know that with us are organizations of people working at publishing companies, public servants at court houses and consumer’s cooperative society, among others.
We also passed by a branch of Philippine National Bank (PNB) at Minato Ward. I felt compelled to enter, so We came in and gave some flyers to fellow Filipinas and I explained about the peace march shortly.
Aside from giving away flyers, Bunchan and Tiro Maekawa (Tirokun) sometimes explain the Peace March to people who stop for a while to listen. It seems they encourage people to wave at us as support and encouragement. So far, I observed three types of reactions from people on the streets:
1. The I don’t want to be disturbed look. They bow their heads and just walk straight.
2. The sou desu ka look. (‘Sou desu ka’ is like ‘oh is that so?’ in English). Their eyes open wider with with interest after hearing the explanation or reading the flyers and banners. In a few seconds, they smile, nod and wave at us.
3. The ‘I’m with you’ look. They must have known about the Peace March and our cause already. They instantly stop, nod and wave. And they keep waving to the rest of the marchers.
After having lunch in an open park, we headed to a government office in Ota ward where we welcomed warmly by the government employees. They also gave us refreshments. I met Aichan’s mother once again and she gave us small bags of lovely cheesecakes. Another lady from public office also gave me a pair of lovely mochi. I also met Kirasan once again. We first met at the May Day rally and I learned that she is running as a representative to the Upper House of Japanese government. She walked with us, together with his colleague, on the following march of the day.
Another highlight was crossing the bridge from Tokyo to Kanagawa Prefectures. That was a long bridge and I felt energised when I saw a large group with more banners join us before we went up the bridge. Some part of the bridge passes over a driving range. Some golfers smiled at us when someone said ‘Konnichiwa heiwa koshin desu! and some more sentences saying the duration and cause of the march.
We were also greeted by a famous trumpeteer Akira Matsudaira at some point under the bridge. I think he was playing ‘When the saints go marching in’. That was suigoi (cool)! Aichan told me that he plays for the Peace Marchers every year. That is really cool! He seems to pop up at different places as we walked our way to the Kawasaki City Hall. And when we arrived, he was there jamming with the great choir who has been with us since yesterday.
At the end of the March, we had a Handover Ceremony. Banners and symbolic items were passed by representatives from Tokyo to Kanagawa. Different organizations usually do a relay through all the prefectures until the Peace March reaches Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The through Peace Marchers within Kanagawa were also introduced. There were 2 ladies and 3 guys. We will be marching beside them for the next 13 days.
It was a tiring but enjoyable day. Based on my newly calibrated pedometer (a feature in Aichan’s phone) we walked approximately 25 kilometers from 9 am to 5 pm today. I made around 38,600 steps, burned 96.2 grams of fat, and worked out 1,477 kcal. The solar phone, however, does not have any idea of what I ate today. 🙂
My apologies for lack of photos today. I used my small camera instead of this IPad. Photos to follow.