Peace March Journals 平和行進の日記

Day 17: Fujinomiya station to Fuji City Koryu Plaza

We left the hotel earlier today and headed to the Shinto temple that worships Mt. Fuji / Fuji san. We walked past a torii, then through a garden leading to the temple’s entrance guarded by large fierce-looking sculptures on each side. Before the entrance is a cleansing station where you have to clean your hands and mouth before entering the sacred grounds. The water is from the ice caps of Fuji san.20130601-115107 PM.jpg

The temple occupies a wide space with an inner courtyard. On the left side of the courtyard is a clear, multi-level pond with floating ducks and kois hiding under lotus leaves. The place has a relaxing effect. The water in the pond is also from Fuji san and this leads to a wide brook past a bridge. We explored the bridge and saw rainbow trouts swimming upstream! They looked stationary but it seems they are advancing very slowly against the water flow. Wow.20130601-115155 PM.jpg

We headed to the Fujinomiya Station just in time for the opening ceremonies. There we met Noriko san, Cindy, and the rest of the Peace Marchers. Cindy is a young woman who has been joining the Peace March in her hometown for several years already. She helped me with translations until lunch time. It is always refreshing to meet younger people during the Peace March. 🙂

We marched along the streets of Fujinomiya leading to the City Hall. We finished by 11:30am at the main entrance of the government building. Representatives from the city office read the mayor’s message of support and gave penants and kampa. Members of the city assembly also did the same. We had lunch at the top floor of the city hall building.

Since we started the Peace March, we ate lunch at top floor cafeterias of city halls. These top floors usually have overlooking views of the city along its corridors. Perhaps if someone wants to have a sweeping view of a city / town, one can go to the top floor of the city hall or a viewing deck of a castle. I’m just thinking maybe. 🙂

After lunch, we headed to the garden of Fuji City Hall where we had a Peace Concert from 1:30-2:00 pm. It seems like everybody sings well! There’s always something new to see and hear everyday in the Peace March.

We resumed our march after the mayor’s message was delivered. Kasio san was introduced to me as my translator for the afternoon. She is a professional translator and is also a member of Shinfujin (New Japan Women’s Association). I learned from her that Shinfujin has been an organization of women even before Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) were coined in Japan.

Our day’s march finished at the Fuji City Koryu Plaza. Koryu means something like cultural exchange in Nihongo. So this building houses a cultural exchange centre, a library and even a cultural lounge. Nice one!

It is a contemporary building – one of those you might see in architecture books. I also think the spaces in the entrance is considerately planned. The park in front provides a good vantage point to appreciate the wholeness of the structure and serves as extended play area for the adjacent playground. It also a nice view to have when one is from inside. I believe the soft landscape (grass, plants, trees) next to the glass façade lessens the heat and glare reflected from the ground.20130602-120600 AM.jpg

We actually arrived earlier than anticipated. And our organizer said we have to wait for several minutes before we start because we were permitted to have the program only after a given time. Because of this, Murata san and I headed to the playground and had some interaction and photo shoot with the kids. There is also a peace shrine with a giant clock on one side of the playground. 🙂20130601-115214 PM.jpg

We will stay in the same hotel for 2 nights near the Shimizu station. In the lobby, Gakuji Okada was introduced to me. Gakuji san is an english teacher and will be my translator for a couple of days. He told me about this book by Toyofumi Ogura entitled, A Letter fron the End of the World. The author is a hibakusha who shared his experience on the day of the bombing in Hiroshima. I look forward to reading this book.

* Additional note: My mother briefly explained to me a religious dimension against the joint military training grounds at the foot of Mt. Fuji. As Fuji san is worshipped in some religions, the entire mountain and its vicinity is considered a sacred place. Having the military training grounds in such a sacred place is like throwing practice grenades in the garden of a church. In Mt. Fuji’s case, there’s more than grenades. 

Here are some more photos of the day:

20130601-115202 PM.jpg
Clockwise from top: (1) prayer offerings hanging in a small pavillion outside the temple; (2) Murata san treated me so we can hang our prayers of peace; (3) sake in large containers offered inside the temple; (4) a kid savouring the heat of the sun on the pavement of the temple courtyard while her grand mother waits with a smile from afar.

20130601-115209 PM.jpgThis is a view of a typical ‘shutter street’. Despite this, some old folks still manage to express their support by waving back or giving kampa. 🙂

This entry was written by Peace March Journals and published on May 22, 2013 at 8:53 am. It’s filed under Everyday Japanese, Hibakusha, No US Bases, Peace Movement and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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