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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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.
Here are some more photos of the day: