Today was one with an adventure road trip, hotter temperature, suika, and not so typical break times.
We took the train from Shimizu station to Shinkanbara station and started marching from there. Gakuji san reminded me of the Tokaido route as he pointed the artistic tiles on the paving towards the station. The tiles tell stories about travelling through the Tokaido route. The Shinkanbara station was one of the busy stops back in Edo period.
We passed by many old traditional houses as we walked the Tokaido route in the neighbourhood near Shinkanbara. This area is famous for sakura ebi, tiny red orange shrimps that you can also eat raw. In contrast to the shutter streets we saw a few days back, this neighbourhood has many local stores selling fresh sea food. We also saw different kinds of oranges on sale. Some oranges (sometimes flowers) were sold on stand-alone shelves without their owners watching. There was just a sign indicating how much it costs and a container with padlock for the payment. It’s like a very basic vendo machine that displays a big amount of trust from the side of the vendor and honesty from the side of the buyer. 🙂
Our first break time was in a museum that used to be a famous stopover for samurais during the Edo period. We ate mikan, a local species of orange. Gakuji san led me to a little shop with large jars surrounded by earth. He explained that this is a traditional way of making sake.
The march stopped temporarily when we reached the Yui station. Many of the Peace Marchers for the day took the train to the next point while the through Peace Marchers rode the van. The ride was like an adventure trip as we took a ‘short cut’ that passes through narrow mountain roads overlooking the ocean and lined with mikan and biwa trees. All the trees are filled with fruits as they brush the sides of the van. It felt like we were in a tv ad for mikan and biwa. Biwa, by the way, is a small fruit with a combined crunchy texture of pear and young peach, but has a light refreshing taste of mangoes.
We resumed in another train station and walked to a community activity center in Shimizu area. We had lunch in a printing house nearby. The owners had extra space available and lent us some chairs and tables. We had lunch with a view of their production area while Sano san serenaded us with his peace songs! He also played some english songs with his guitar. Murata san took out his banner colourful Peace banner for signing. The guys from the printing house singed and some even drew doodles!
We walked around Shizuoka City in the afternoon. This is Gakuji san’s home town. I was surprised when he told me that he was there when the area was bombed by Americans during the Second World War using B-29 bombers. He looks way younger than his age. It was June 1945, same year as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing, when the city was heavily bombed. His mother and brother ran for safety while carrying him. He was only 1 year old then. Around 2000 people were killed and the city was severely ruined like Tokyo and Hiratsuka. The coastal town Shimizu was bombed on a different day by American warships instead of bomber planes.
Our afternoon break was in a small neighbourhood park beside a creek / river. We walked along the banks that lead to a tree lined path towards the mini-park. Today was hotter than usual so spending this break under many trees is considered heavenly. Evapotranspiration rocks!
Our last stop was at a peace shrine in Tesshujin Temple. We were welcomed warmly by members of the Coop and were served suika (yey!), among others. The program started with a prayer. We had a moment of silence as part of the prayer and lighted incenses at the peace shrine. The main speaker explained that there are many peace activities around Mt. Fuji on this part of the year. They are also actively lobbying against the flying of Ospreys in Shizuoka. An ex-member of the congress expressed his support for the peace movement. We also had a film showing of the documentary about the Peace March in Shizuoka many years ago entitled ‘We Walk’. We also watched a film about the bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the Second World War. Lastly, a member of the Shinfujin also presented a beautiful banner with embroidery of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial.
Gakuji san also gave us a short tour inside the temple before we left. It was an open plan with floors covered by tatami mas. On the centre was an altar and a desk for praying. We also saw several large drums!
Before heading back to our hotel near the Shimizu station, we visited a small house museum we passed by during the afternoon march. Gakuji san noted that this is the birth place of a local hero, Shimizu no Jirochou, who is a member of a Japanese mafia called Yakuza. I have heard weird stories about the Yakuza from action movies like guys having tattoo-covered backs and having a member’s finger cut off when he did something terribly wrong. Shimizu no Jirochou seems to be famous for helping his community back in those days. Murata san showed me several signages referring to the local hero as we walked around Shimizu station in the evening.
Tonight’s dinner was in a restaurant overlooking a port with Murata san and Takuya kun. Since we are in Shimizu, so Murata san ordered nama sakura ebi (fresh tiny red shrimps) and nama shirasu (fresh baby fish). Murata san told me it’s also his first time to have sakura ebi! I ordered a big bowl of rice with an assortment of sashimi bits on top, while Takuya kun had beautiful maguro sashimi on a bowl of rice.
I believe I’m beginning to understand a bit more of what Murata san tells me everyday – or maybe atleast have an idea of what they are talking about. He is becoming like an elder brother to me. Bun chan said we are beginning to look alike! Murata san is 65 years old, but he looks like he’s only late 40’s.
Takuya kun, like Keiko chan, helps me a lot with translation. I think he has no idea how much he is helping me because he apologizes from time to time for not being able to translate well. Actually he translates well, he even uses more literary words. I think this is because he used to teach Shakespeare literature a few years ago.
During dinner, we started discussing the similarities between Japan and the Philippines. From the alcoholic drinks in the kombinis, to the weather and the fast food chains. Murata san also shared that he thinks America has a strong influence in Japan right now even after the world war in a way that is not helpful to his country. I told them I feel the same for my country too.
There were two murals on one side of the restaurant. One was a giant maguro (tuna) while the other was a mermaid. Murata san asked me which one I liked more. When I told him I like the maguro better, he said I’m becoming more Japanese while laughing. 🙂