The Nihongo work for the day is: ame (rain)
It rained almost the whole day with a heavier down pour in the aftermoon.
We started at the Ebina City Hall where the representatives of the office gave their message. Aside from giving their support, the speaker also noted the memorial tree at the front of the city office (photo above). The small tree came from a tree in Hiroshima. This was initally planted at the other part of the city halls site. The leader of the March today is a member of the Ebina City Assembly. He looks quite young.
It started to drizzle before we started the march. It is good that everybody brought raincoats. This my first time to use my transparent raincoat. Luckily, I have a transparent one so the orange sash we wear we still be seen. The ‘through’ peace marchers, Muratasan and I, wear this orange sash everyday signifying that we will complete the route from Tokyo to Hiroshima. I, however, will have a 1 week break on May 27 to June 5 for visa purposes. A visitor in Japan is only allowed a maximum 90 days stay. So I need to go back to the Philippines in between to get another visa.
About the book from yesterday, Fukushima san translated some notes from the book. He said the writer has retired as truck driver and then joined the Peace March. He is now 75 years old.
In one break at the city ward office, we were welcomed by the city assembly members in complete attendance. It was very cool that the chairperson of the assembly gave his message of support himself.
From then on, we walked the streets leading to Atsugi Air Base. We walked along the edge to the gate of the base while doing our chant. Near the gate, our chant leader holding the microphone from the car said excerpts of the chant in english. I was informed that this air base also accommodates Ospreys. There has been an incident where the Osprey crashed in the neighbourhood killing some residents.
So what’s the issue with Ospreys?
From an interview with Shinfujin (New Japan Women’s Association), Hirano Emikosan explained to me that Ospreys are military aircrafts that has the combined talents of a helicopter and an airplane. It can take off and land vertically. It also can fly as fast and carry as many load as an airplane. The accident prone part is when the Osprey shifts from helicopter to airplane mode (and vice versa) especially when there is very strong wind.
Ospreys have been banned to fly over many areas in the US. In Japan, they fly over neighbourhoods in Okinawa. Around 70% of US Military Bases are in Okinawa. 50% of Okinawa’s land area is occupied by US Bases.
It was quite a hard day because of the rain and the uphill climbs. But even if it was raining, we received many smiling nods and ‘wave backs’ today. There were even very supportive boys on bicycle who joined us with the ‘ii ne’ and ‘imadeshou’ chants. That was fun. 🙂 We also passed by a Filipino family walking on the street. They seemed to look startled when they saw me but smiled back after a few seconds.
We had two breaks in the afternoon one at Yamato Park and one at a Coop branch when we reached Yokohama. We had a longer break at the Coop branch as we waited for the rain to mellow down. Then off we went to the final destination of the day.
The story of the Orizyru (paper crane)
A very kind lady waiting for us at Yamato Park gave us two bunches of orizyru origami (paper cranes). One bunch contains a thousand pieces. She finished everything within two years. We will bring this all the way to Hiroshima. There is a belief in Japan that if you make 1000 orizyrus, your wish will be granted.
Orizyrus are usually associated with the strong desire for peace. I believe the association of the Orizyru with the peace movement started with a young hibakusha named Sadako. Sadako was also a victim of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima. Even though she did not get any obvious physical injuries from the day of bombing, she eventually got sick because of exposure to radiation. She wished to be cured of her disease and so she made a thousand paper cranes. She eventually died at a young age, and many people expressed their sympathies by making the orizyrus themselves in the wish for peace so Sadako’s fate would not happen to anyone anymore.
Her story is featured at the Peace Museum in Hiroshima.
Sorry for lack of photos today. Will upload photos soon.