Day 33: Iwakura, Ichinomiya & Konan City, Aichi Prefecture

Today is combined hot and rainy day with cherry tomatoes for snacks, interesting speeches by city leaders and meeting 2 Filipina ladies.

The day started with a meeting inside the Iwakura City Hall. We were received by the Deputy Mayor, Toshiyuki Akahori, and the local politician involved with the Peace movement, Itosan. They were very kind to assign an interpreter for me. Derek Cuddington is a Canadian currently living and working with the Iwakura City Hall as translator for health services department.

The deputy mayor shared with us the several peace activities of Iwakura City. They always exhibit the Peace panels at two locations within the city hall. The peace panels are usually displayed from beginning to middle of august. They also bring elementary and junior high school students to the World Conference every other year. The students are in-charge of handing over the kampa and the mayor’s message of support. They were also involved in the Mayor’s International Peace Conference.

Iwakura City’s Peace Declaration was signed on 1985 and they have always been a nuclear-free zone. They are also committed to using new ecoogical ways to bring energy instead nuclear power. The city hall currently employs solar power, energy recycling, and water saving methods.

Toshiyuki san shared he is always impressed by the energy of the Peace March. He is the one who always receives the Peace Marchers in the city hall because he feels strongly about it.

Ito san, the local politician involved with the peace movement, also expressed that the Peace March is very welcome in Iwakura City. He wants to be part of the peace activities and that he is happy to see peace awareness spreading in their community through the Peace March.

It was a nice meeting where Murata san also shared some experiences from Day one in Tokyo. The deputy mayor also asked us to take care as they don’t want anyone collapsing during the march. 🙂

We received a copy of the message and their kampa. We were then led outside to join the rest of the Peace Marchers. Toshiyuki san and Ito san addressed the rest of the Peace Marchers. It was a great program to start the hot day.20130608-061644.jpg

And so we walked the streets of Iwakura. It was an interesting walk because we passed by many temples along the neighbourhood. It seems like there would be 1 temple every block. This is Run Yokoe san’s hometown and he shared that they have a festival with gigantic lanterns displayed over water. He is part of the team that carries it. We passed by another temple with a 3-storey tall store room for the lantern. The electric cables along the street also have a very high clearance to make way for the lantern. He said the actual lantern is even taller than this as they still have to attach another part on top of it. Wow!

We walked all the way to Chiaki Hospital where we were welcomed by a large group of elderlies, nurses, doctors and hospital staff. I think they were the largest group of clapping people to welcome us so far. It was a very warm welcome for us. 🙂

Today’s march has many young participants. Many of them are from the medical field – young doctors and nurses. They are the in-charge of the signature campaign and kampa collection.20130608-061704.jpg

We had another break in Asano Park before reaching the Ichinomiya City Hall. The highlight of the break was the chilled cherry tomatoes! It was my first time to eat them as a snack. It was very refreshing especially for today.

By lunch time, we reached the Ichinomiya City Hall where we were welcomed by the representatives of the city office. Part of the office can be accessed from a covered shopping street called Tenma- dori. That’s a good location.

We also met two Hibakushas. The lady is 86 while the man is 88. It was very nice of them to take the time to join us and express their support. The presence of hibakushas in the Peace March is always highly regarded. Yamaguchi san also received the two bunches of oryzirus that we will bring to Hiroshima.20130608-061715.jpg

After lunch, I joined Osaji san for the signature and kampa collection. He will be the one to speak in Nihongo and I will hand over the signature campaign sheet as I say ‘Konnichiwa shomei kudasai’ (good afternoon, please sign.) We collected 10 or more signatures before we had the second break.

We also received some kampa. One very kind man gave us an envelope of kampa and was apologizing about how little it was. He was very kind.

Osaji san works full-time with the labor union of Ichinomiya. They always join the Peace March to express support. He has been joining for the past 3 years.

We had 2 breaks in the afternoon: one was in a large open space while another break in a temple. One peace marcher introduced me to her Filipina friend. Her name is Arra Santos. It was really nice to meet another Filipino and I learned that we live very close to each other in Quezon City, Philippines.20130608-061722.jpg

It started raining before we resumed walking. The second break time was very timely because it gave us enough time to wear our rain gears. The rain poured hard as we marched on. The difficult part when it rains is that walking feels heavier and I was not wearing my waterproof shoes so my feet was soaked. The good part is it got cooler after a long hot day. If I did not have gadgets and important papers in my belt bag, I would have taken off my rain coat to really enjoy the rain. 🙂

We reached the edge of Konan City after several minutes of walking. At some point, Murata san and I rode a car together with another peace marcher to reach the Konan City Hall. We attended a meeting with the superintendent of Education Department, the head of International Relations and another member of Education Department.

Another fellow Filipina, Louie Aoyama, joined us. She helped me with translations. She even prepared a translation of the leader’s message for me. She told me that she is associated with the City Hall and they ask her from time to time to help with translations when they have a Filipino visitor.

It was a brief meeting and everyone was asked to joined the rest of the Peace Marchers at the city hall’s entrance. There the superintendent and head of International Relations addressed the crowd and we had the closing ceremony.

The rain subsided after the program. Before rode the car back to the Hotel in Nagoya, we saw a large lighting flash nearby. The thunder was almost simultaneous with the lightning so we must be very close to where it hit. Scary!

That was a long & fun day. Whew!

Lastly, here are some photos of the signature campaign and waves along the streets. 20130608-061654.jpg


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