Today at Hayama Town, Hall, I met the oldest hibakusha in the Peace March so far. He is now 92 years old and was 24 when exposed to radiation in Hiroshima. I believe his first name is Igushi san. Despite what he gone through, he says he is now confirmed very healthy by his doctor. 🙂 He walked with us for quite a long distance. The hibakushas are usually in the front row of the March.
On the other side of the spectrum, the mayor of Hayama Cho (town) is perhaps the youngest mayor to personally address us so far. He also gamely walked with us together with another leader from Hayama. It seemed they were all smiles and were having fun! It is always a delight to see younger people join the daily March.
Luckily, it was a windy day. I did not get very tired despite of the heat. We were like walking with fans around us. 🙂 We also saw many nods and waves again this day. There was even a lady who just went outside then joined us. Hahaha. She eventually left, but then we saw her again because she bought a campaign fan from one of our colleagues. These moments have us cheering while we walk. 🙂
We had our first break at the office of Zushi town. We are lucky again to have the mayor himself give his message. Another hibakusha gave a speech. We have a lot of hibakushas this day. There was around 7 of them. And we met more of them in the afternoon.
Then we walked all the way to the main gate of the Ikego Detachment – Ikego Heights Family Housing. This is a part of the military camp for houses of US personel to support the fleet activities. as of now, additional housing is already planned. In the same way as we are taking photos of the the main gate, soldiers were also taking photos of us from afar. I smiled. I hope they were smiling too. 🙂
The group took a lunch break from here and met again at the Minamoto mo Yoritomo. Keiko san also explained to me something about Tsuruga oka Hachiman Ku but I was not able to remember it fully. Sumimasen. (I’m sorry.) This is a touristy shopping street with a shrine in the middle. Fukushima san explained to me that this is where the first samurai govenment was opened. At the end of the mini-park is another shrine. It was quite a busy shopping street.
We had chirasu don for hirugohan ( lunch). Chirasu is a very small fish that is only available this season, that’s why perhaps people are usually excited to have it. When we say we has chirasu for lunch, they would say ‘sugoi’ (cool!) or ‘yukatta’ (that’s good). Chirasu don is a rice bowl with chirasu on top. Our order was garnished with nori and tamago (egg) strips. It was very nice! One order looks like this:
We continued to march around the shopping street and headed to Kamakura City Hall. We met more hibakushas and was lucky enogugh to get a group photo with them. In a speech by, Koji Yoshida, he explained that there are 200 hibakushas in Kamakura City. He is now 82 and was at Nagasaki during the bombing. The group we met that afternoon was combination of hibakusha from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
For the last part of the day, we marched our way to the Kamakura Shrine. Fukushima san told me before hand that this is a very special day. We went up to the shrine and had a program there. One hibakusha gave me this information flyer about the shrine.
She eventually read excerpts from a book written by another hibakusha. It was an account of what the author experienced at 50 meters from the hypocentre in Nagasaki. The writer found his mother’s bones at the Kamakura Shrine after a long time searching. He was not able to find his father’s bones though. He sometimes sees his father call to him when he closes his eyes. He also said his mother will always be in his heart. (Fukushima san has been translating for me. Thanks a lot Fukushima san!)
The great trumpeteer Akira Matsudaira was also with us this afternoon. He played two songs and many people sang with him at the last one. It was quite moving.
Sashimi with fresh root wasabi. You grate the horse radish root using the small wooden grater.
A large Buddhist shrine near Kamakura Shrine.