Today’s course passed through Mukou City, Nagaokakyo City, Oyamazaki Town and finished at Hachiman City Hall. The first three towns together composed the very old capital of Japan even before Kyoto became the country’s capital city. This would be around 1000 years ago. Tokyo is Japan’s capital city at present.
It is a sunday and it was fun to see kids join us. We experienced heavy rain in the morning, which was good because the temperature went down. The Peace Marchers experienced short periods of lighter shower throughout the day.
There were also younger people who participated. I met Hattasan again and she helped me with communicating in Nihongo. Hattasan was a highschool English teacher before she retired . She is currently very active with the Kyoto Peace Committee. During our first meeting, I asked her if Kyoto Gensuikyo and Kyoto Peace Committee have their offices beside each other. She laughed and said yes. Haha! I told her I was just guessing because it was the same setup in Aichi. 🙂
Yoneshidesan, a through Peace Marcher of Kyoto Prefecture (he was also a through Peace Marcher from Tokyo to Hiroshima in 2010 – wow!), shared some notes about Okinawa during the opening ceremony. He noted that today is the anniversary of the end of war in Okinawa so they have a big ceremony there. A representative of the city mayor and the leader of the city hall workers’ union also shared their messages of support.
As I was advised by the doctor to refrain from walking long distances, I will be announcing from the van regularly for one month. I am actualy on standby for Nihon Gensuikyo’s further instructions on what to do next about my knee problem. For the mean time, I am participating in the Peace March not through walking but through my voice. I am very hopeful that I could walk freely again as this is what I came here for.
Take note that we are now in the Kansai region of Japan. We have been in the Kansai region since we arrived at Shiga Prefecture. Several prefectures make up a region in Japan. Tokyo and its neighbouring prefectures make up the Kanto region. Aichi, Gifu and Shizuoka are part of Chubu region.
The Kansai region has a different dialect from the other regions. A dialect is called hogen in japanese while language is called go, hence we say Nihongo. From what I understand, Kansai hogen is generally similar to the main language. There is just a difference in accent and some words.
I remember Keikochan and Takuyakun demonstrated to me the Kansai accent by sampling on Konnichiwa. They told me, by the way, that Kansai people are the friendliest in Japan. I think I agree. 🙂
Because of this, our iine and imadeshoo call in Kyoto is adapted to suit the Kansai style. I call it the Peace Call Kansai Style. 🙂 Members of Utagoe singing group from Kyoto taught me the Kansai way last night and this morning. Instead of ‘iine’, we say ‘Eiyan’ – with emphasis on the first syllable. The imadeshoo reply will be like ‘iMAdeshoo!’ – with emphasis on the second syllable. I wonder if we will have to adapt to another accent when we reach the next region. 🙂
My announcing stint is now extended for a few more sentences since I must also introduce myself and cheer up the marchers before I start the Eiyan and Imadeshoo calls. Hahaha. The opening line is like this:
Minasan ohayou gozaimasu / konnichiwa.
Watashiwa Malaya Fabros desu. Firipin kara kimashita.
Minasan chikara ippai Peace Call wo shimashou.
(Good morning / good afternoon everyone!
I am Malaya Fabros from the Philippines.
Let us do the Peace Call with full energy.
The closing line would include saying Subarashi (fantatic / wonderful) or Bravo and then Thank you!
Since we had free time after lunch, Hattasan taught me how to make action cranes! Action cranes are different from the orizyrus (paper cranes). You can pull the tail of an action crane and its wings will move. Some peace marchers make many action cranes and give these away, especially to kids, as we march. Hattasan also told me that origami was born in India and developed in Japan.
Above: Orizyru (left) and action crane (right).
We also talked about the weather. She told me that the rainy season was quite late this year – which was good for the Peace Marchers. She asked me about the weather in the Philippines and UAE. She was quite shocked when I said that mid-day temperature can soar past 50 degrees Celsius in Dubai during July or August, hahaha. For my part, I was shocked when she told me that some people died last week because of heat stroke.
Attendees of Peace March in Kyoto Prefecture seems to be a lot everyday. There were around 140 participants in the morning and I saw even more at the march after the handover 2 days ago. I look forward to seeing more people in the next few days. My mother told me before that Kyoto, Osaka, Aichi and Hyogo are usually the prefectures with many participants.
I also met an old friend, Fumichan today! She and her mother joined the march after lunch. She toured me around Kyoto for around two days during summer two years ago. She brought me to Kiyomizudera, Sanjusangendo, Toji, and Arashiyama.I will always remember that time because each time we visited a tourist spot, Fumichan would show me what the place would look like in autumn. 🙂 It definitely is more beautiful in autumn. Kyoto and Horoshima are quite notorious in Japan for having the hottest summer. So dear Peace Marchers, if you are reading now, I greet you a strong Gambaroo!
Lastly, I would like to share that the Hokkaido-Tokyo Course of Prace March is currently in Fukushima. Takasan and Bunchan from Nihon Gensuikyo are marching with people in Fukushima today. As many of you might already know, Fukushima had a tragic leak from a nuclear power plant in its area due to the tsunami in Tohoku region two years ago. Sadly, news about the current situation of residents are not getting a lot of coverage lately. Many of its constituents still have not recovered and many of them are still in fear of exposure to radiation.
The bigger challenge is that the government is not giving the nation a real picture of the damage in Fukushima. The residents have monitored radiation levels in their areas and saw alarming results in contrast to what is actually published. The victims of radiation in Fukushima are beginning to be the new batch of hibakushas. Many members of the peace movement in Japan, especially the Hibakushas from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, are expressing their support to victims in Fukushima. This is why our popular plea in the Peace March and World Conference has been revised to this:
No More Hiroshima.
No More Nagasaki.
No More Fukushima.
No More Hibakusha.
Clockwise from top left: 1) Yoneshidesan speaking during opening ceremony at Mukou shi, 2) Peace Marchers taking shelter from the heavy rain in the morning, 3) The Peace Marchers on the street, 4&5) Practicing the Eiyan and Imadeshoo Call after lunch, 6) Supporters waiting for us in the sidewalk.
Clockwise from top: 1) Closing ceremony at Hachiman City, 2) The main announcer in the van, 3) Tosh Koshin (through peace marchers) posing with participants from Coop with costumes!, 4) Hattasan showing our finished action cranes’ 5) center image: peaceMarchers arriving at Hachiman City Hall joined by kids.