Day 41: Oono, Ibigawa, Ikeda, Goudo & Oogaki, Gifu Prefecture

Another fun day in Gifu Prefecture. It’s a Saturday and it was so cool that the town mayors were present. The day was cloudy and we had several rain showers throughnout the day. This is favourable for us as we did not feel very hot.

Today’s Peace March ran through several courses at different towns in Gifu Prefecture. Gifu has three rivers namely, Nagara, Kiso and Ibi. I was assigned to the area near Ibigawa (Ibi River), while the other through Peace Marchers took different courses as well.

The Ibi group marched through Oonocho, Ibigawacho, Ikedacho for lunch time, Goudocho, and Oogakishi. Cho means town while shi means city. We rode a shuttle several times as some of the towns have a mountain in between. I was also advised to ride the van at different parts of the day so I can walk less.

I met Hanamura Makoto today, among many others. She was my cheerful translator. She is a legal assistant in a small law firm in one of the towns we visited. I had a lot of fun with her today.

One feature of the day is that we had poetry reading at every welcome ceremony of each town. There were two poems recited alternately throughout the day. Both of them recounted the experience of bombing in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

Another great thing about today was that the mayors and many members of the city assembly joined us even if it was a rainy weekend.

We also got lost for a few minutes as we took a wrong turn. We were walking along rice fields and I was wondering who might be listening to is. A few minutes after, someone told us we took a wrong turn. We all laughed. we got back on track after some turns. Hahaha.

Two of the courses met at the Oogaki castle grounds for the closing ceremonies. This is the same place we will start in tomorrow.

I heard many times today that the Peace March is important because it is a chance to remind the communities about the lessons from war and the nation’s desire for peace. Passing through smaller neighbourhoods give us more chance to do this everyday.

Here are some Yatta experiences for the day:

Yatta (Yey!) experience 1. I had many first time experiences today. One was being an announcer in the van.

I remembered to print a copy of the Peace Call in the morning. Aichan translated the text to romaji and english several weeks ago. So when it was my turn to stay in the van, I pulled out the print and suggested if I can also say the Peace Call. Hana was laughing hard when she read the text because of the ‘ii ne’ and ‘imadeshoo’. This Peace Call is different from the one they use.

I have actually memorized some of the lines over time. I also remember how each line was pronounced so it was a bit easier for me to read the romaji. I read the main lines while Hana led the iine and imadeshoo reply. The Peace Marchers had fun answering back with the iine and imadeshoo. They even asked us to do it at different towns and twice per set because they really enjoyed shouting iine and imadeshoo. This could be the start of my career as a Nihongo announcer, hahaha.

It was quite hot in the van and Hana had another hearty laugh when I took out the fan given by Morisan. This is because she saw a big text of ‘imadeshoo’ written on the fan.

Yatta experience 2:
We visited temples and rang the giant bell as a prayer / wish for peace. This is also a first time for me. In one day, we went to three temples and made the bell produce this big sound that was not hard on the ear. 🙂

Yatta experience 3:
We had our last break at a rose park in Goudocho. The ladies from Shinfujin prepared manju and macha! I think this is my first time to drink macha. It is creamy green tea but without milk. They make it creamy through a special way of stirring using a wooden brish. The stirring process incorporates air to the tea and a creamy foam is formed. It is served in a small bowl and you hold it in the palm of both hands. One lady also taught me some pointers about the tea ceremony for drinking macha. 🙂


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