This is our last day at Gifu Prefecture and the handover was at 3 pm at the Sekigahara Town Hall. We started walking from the grounds of Oogaki Castle then marched through the towns of Oogaki, Tarui, and all the way to Sekigahara.
We were joined by a hibakusha in the opening ceremonies in Oogaki. A group of elderly people also welcomed us at the first breaktime in a restaurant in Oogaki. They gave us bunches of 1000 paper cranes that we will bring to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Fumikun, my translator for th day, told me that they made the paper cranes themselves. Fumikun is a 19 year old university student whose mother is a member of the Shinfujin. He was a big help because I was not feeling well today and so he helped me convey what I felt to the organizers. I spent most of the march in Gifu in the van as a co-announcer and slept for some time before lunch break.
The Tarui town mayor and chairman of town assembly was with us during lunch time. The peace marchers gathered in a 300-400 year old japanese hotel called hatago. The structure looks old but well maintained. The interiors were cool and there was a large area with tatami mats for everyone. I am not sure if it was air-conditioned but it definitely provided comfort for the sun-drenched peace marchers.
We marched our way to the historic town of Sekigahara. The view is getting greener and and we saw more mountains. It was also getting breezy which was
beneficial to the Peace Marchers.
The handover rally was held inside the town hall of Sekigahara. There were many attendees and one of the is an 88 year old lady who joined the march before we reached the town hall. One of the speakers noted that one major concern of people in Shiga Ken is their proximity to Fukui nuclearpower plant in the next prefecture of Fukui. Fukui nuclear plant is noted as one of the dangerous plants in Japan. The speaker cannot also understand why their country’s leader still does not stop the operation of nuclear power plants after the Fukushima incident.
We have two through Peace Marchers for Shiga Prefecture. One is Hayama san. She is a member of MIN-IREN. Another is a man from Osaka Prefecture. I will know his name tomorrow. 🙂
After the handover, we rode a car to Maibara. We passed by the Ibuki Mountain. Our guide told us that sometimes people see bears and deers crossing the road. Sugoi!
We had our first march around Maibara after the opening ceremonies. The town looks old but charming. And there are views of mountain constantly on the background. We walked for around 20-30 minutes and returned to the town hall. We then rode a car to Nagahama cho. The town of Nagahama is famous for beautiful glass products. Many tourists visit the town because of this craft. We walked for around 30-40 minutes until we returned to the town hall.
I was not able to join the march in the morning because of my knee. Luckily, I was able to walk in Shiga this afternoon. There is still a bit of pain but it was manageable.
My translator for the afternoon was Chihirosan. She was also named after Chihiro Iwasaki because her mother loves Iwasaki’s paintings and views in life. As we drove to the hotel in the evening, she gave me many notes about the places we pass through. One of them was Lake Biwa. It is the largest lake in Japan. It was very big it’s like a sea. The sunset view was very beautiful was very nice as we passed by.
Lastly, I would like to share Fumikun’s notes during the opening ceremony in Ogaki:
At first ceremony in Ogaki, an atomic bomb victim talked. When an atomic bomb exploded, he was in Okayama prefecture. After the explosion, he went into Hiroshima prefecture, and was exposed to radiation there. According to his speech, there were not any building and trees, so he could see far-off mountain clearly. He doesn’t want people to make the same mistake twice, and he is glad that you (Malaya) join this march. And he hopes that this activity grow!
Here is Fumikun’s notes during lunch time at Tarui town in Gifu Prefecture:
The chairman and town mayor said they welcomed the peace march every year. It is rainy season normally, but this year it is no rain. They hoped that we want to complain the abolishment of nuclear weapons or nuclear power plant through this peace march!
And they hope that you arrive at Hiroshima safety. They cheer for you.
The atomic bomb victims get older and the number of them is decreasing now. It is precious time to hear their experience.