Today’s course covered only one city: Omi Hachiman. Imotosan explained to me that today might be boring since it is just one city so he advised me to ride the car at some parts of the day. I follow his cue to make sure I do not overwork my knees.
So today we started from Azuchi Eki, then walked to the Omi Hachiman City Hall by until lunch time, proceeded to Shinoharashi Eki, rode the train to Yasu City and had a signature campaign before we called it a day.
A lady gave me a leg and foot massage at the city hall after the Peace March yesterday and it helped a lot. I did not feel much pain on the right knee today. I hope this will improve further while we are still in Shiga. Today I do not feel pain on the knee while walking. It is when I sit down very low that’s when it hurts.
Remember Suzukisan from yesterday? He joined us this morning in monk’s clothing. Now I believe him. 🙂 He is still lively and funny. I told Muratasan about my disbelief yesterday via google translate and he told Suzukisan. They were both laughing. We took a photo together with the statue of Nobunaga in the background! So below you see me, Suzukisan, Muratasan, and Nobunaga rendered in bronze.
Muratasan also told me (in Nihongo) about the special feature of Azuchi Castle. It has a special floor dedicated as a whole room for Nobunaga, one of the 3 popular emperors of the Edo Period.
We had some rainfall in the afternoon. Another great thing about today was that it rained shortly so we had a cooler temperature after the rain. Many parts of our route passed through roads adjacent to ricefields. We also passed by many small shrines. It seems there is a shrine at every block. We even saw some small ones beside ricefields.
When Imotosan told me to stay in the car after the 1st break time, I followed him to the car. He said I should not overwork my legs yet and it was also good for him because he was also tired. Laughter followed. Hahaha!
Good thing I always carried a copy of the Peace Call in my belt bag. So when they were discussing about the announcer’s strategy after the break, they photocopied my Peace Call. 🙂
We had another funny moment in a restaurant during lunch time. As we were eating our sobas, a couple of elderlies sat at the occupied the seats next to ours. They were curious about our sashes and I heard the words heiwa koshin. So the conversation started. When Muratasan explained that the Peace Marchers walk from Tokyo to Hiroshima everyday for 90 days, the man expressed his disbelief. The first words he could say were, ‘Ehhh?!’ He made a gesture similar to falling off his chair. Laughter again! Hahaha. They bid us warm gambatte (good luck) before we left. 🙂
We also had two signature campaign sessions at different train stations today. Muratasan and I were able to fill one page each in the morning. Muratasan was kind and welcoming in the way he explains that’s why people decided to sign. One page is equivalent to 5 signatures.
We were not lucky in the afternoon though. I was not able to get even one signature. We were near the entrance of the Yasu City train station. It was around 4 pm so people were too cncerned to get home than have some moment to listen to us. Some people still signed though and it was nice of them.
Oonosan, a retired school teacher, is one of our leaders today. He is also the emcee in the afternoon. He is a very lively guy and seemed to be eager at the signature campaign in the afternoon. I did not understand what he was saying during the last signature campaign but it seems he too was disappointed that very few people signed our signature campaign for peace.
You might be asking what this signature campaign is for and how it works…
The Japan Gensuikyo launched its worldwide signature campaign several years ago to show to the world leaders and everyone that many people want a nuclear free world. The more signatures, the better of course. They submit their collected signatures to United Nations and also to the NPT Review Committee. This is a strong expression of common people’s desire for the abolition of nuclear weapons in support of the hibakusha’s wishes. From what I remember, they have collected around 2 million signatures already and are aiming for more.
We are also able to get more signatures through the Peace March as we pass the streets collecting signatures like in Aichi Prefecture. In Shiga Prefecture, we have signature campaign sessions.
Wherever you are, you can join the signature campaign by visiting the Japan Gensuikyo website: www.antiatom.org. You can download the signature campaign form from there and sign. You can send the accomplished forms by fax or snail mail to the Gensuikyo Office in Tokyo, or email a scanned copy.
This is a concrete way you can support the peace movement. Many of us Peace Marchers are very hopeful that more people will sign. Imadeshoo!
Clockwise from top left: 1) Oda Nobunaga’s statue at the Azuchi City Eki, 2) An illustration of Azuchi Castle emphasizing Nobunaga’s dedicated floor level in red walls, 3) The old man during lunch time expressing his surprise about the Peace March, 4) Our Peace March leader speaking infront of the Omi Hachiman City Hall.