After the very much awaited baptism of Peace March for me, I slept like a log and dropped all my worries behind. I was worried if I can keep up with the cold wind as I came from a tropical country. And we don’t have this kind of weather except when you go to the Mountain Province. My eyeglasses are always dark even when there is no sunshine. So I might guess that the sun and UV light here is a bit intense.
We have 2 Through Peace Marchers. One is Mr. Igarashi Shigeyomi from Osaka Gensuikyo- 62 years old, and Mr. Takeda Akihiko from Yokohama – 72 years old. Takeda-san’s father is a war veteran, and he is also a veteran of the Peace March, he did it many times.
There is also Ms. Seto Haruka from Wakayama Prefecture. She is from Coop and she is 22 years old. She joined the peace march as part of her work and she is privileged to wear the old sash that other members of her organization used during the previous march. It bears a lot of pins and badges.
We started the day in Shiba Park at Minato Ward. You can see the Tokyo Tower from this park. There is also a temple beside the park.
It is still cold and windy. This is better than sunny and hot. Two representatives from the Minato office gave their solidarity message to us from the city mayor. They gave us a ribbon that bears the city’s name and the logo of the Peace March. Minato City is very proud of the fact that during 1985 this city was declared as a “non-nuclear city”. The city is a member of Mayors for Peace and they fully support the covenant of peace and the Article 9 (This is a clause in the National Constitution of Japan outlawing war as a means to settle international disputes involving the state). Armed forces with war potential will not be maintained. Japan only maintains self defense force for peace keeping.
Mr. Ishimura, the Sec. Gen. of Tokyo Gensuikyo leads us. We continued our march to the streets of Tokyo while our lead vehicle is being hosted by Okuma-san whose voice sounds very animated. He always calls the attention of every pedestrians and people in their shops and houses to wave their hands in acknowledgement. And they’ll also hear ‘arigatou gosaimasu’ or ‘heiwakoshindesu’ shout out from us.
Some marchers carry some information leaflets and fans to give away to pedestrians. We passed by the Philippine National Bank and I was a bit nervous to talk with them because they have that surprised stare. But they are still very accommodating. I explained to them about the Peace March, the route and our relay for this year. I think they are all Filipinos. Perhaps they were surprised to see a fellow Filipino who is not a typical tourist or an employee.
Together with Kajiyan-san, Tiro-san, Fumi-san, and Bun-san they help me in this Tokyo to Kanagawa course. Kajiyan is a very quiet man but come the Peace March he is very active in the chants and shout outs. His shouting voice is very energizing and loud that even pedestrians from afar can hear him. The same with Tiro who is very good in approaching people. He has the magic and charm of making people listen to what he is saying. Maybe that is what they are trained for in Gensuikyo to be assertive and creative during demonstrations.
Coming from a different culture, I somehow find the Japanese to be very law abiding and tend to hold back their words and feelings. In the Philippines, we could be a bit aggressive, straight to the point and unpredictable at times.
We stopped in a park near the Omorimachi station and we had our bento lunch. Bento is like a combination of meat, and veggies. Usually composed of 4-6 kinds of dishes in small servings. The color combination and how it is placed is important. It’s like the chef plating in a cooking show. That is how Japanese put their art even in food. Because they believe that you use your taste, smell and sight during cooking and eating.
We are also treated by Okuma-san with his guitar playing some music.
I am surprised to see Oi-san and Emiko-san from Zenroren. I also met them before in the Philippines where they toured the historic places in Luzon, Philippines.
I also met an old friend Ayano-san. When it was my first time to join the World Conference Against A&H Bombs in Japan, she was the one who handled foreign delegates. Back then she was like a wonder woman who doesn’t rest – always full of energy and smiling all the time.
Then we proceeded to Ota City where we were met by different women’s groups and 4 Hibakushas joined us. There you can see the large bridge that connects Tokyo and Kanagawa. I have been wondering how Kanagawa looks like. I don’t know anyone from there so I was excited and nervous at the same time.
At the entrance to the underpass we were met by Akira-san with his trumpet playing out his piece. It is very overwhelming because he’s always showing up at some random spots. Maybe this is not random because this is the turn over ceremony.
As we entered a small park under the bridge, we were met by the Peace Marchers, delegates and Kanagawa Gensuikyo. Mr. Ishimura from Tokyo Gensuikyo and Mr. Kasaki from Kanagawa Gensuikyo met and then we proceeded to the bridge that connects Tokyo and Kanagawa. Marchers from Tokyo joined together with marchers from Kanagawa so we became one big group. Under the bridge was a range where golfers can practice. We were welcomed by the Kawasaki City police to guide us to our destination.
We proceeded to the Kawasaki shopping mall and we walked the whole stretch. This is good because a lot of people can see us. Way back 2010, I was a curious traveller where I always want to go around new places. I saw a rally in Hiroshima before and they did something like this. So now I wonder if it was the Peace March that I saw back then. Maybe when I come back to the Philippines, I will review some of my photos way back 2010, and see if it really was the Peace March I saw. I hope so.
We passed by some red light district and saw a Philippine Pub. This area was featured before on Philippine television that is why it was quite familiar to me.
Our final stop for the day is in Kawasaki City Office. Ishimura-san and Kasaki-san led the turnover ceremony. So many flags have been ceremonially passed / exchanged from Tokyo Peace Marchers to Kanagawa Peace. It was also my first time to see such kind of event. It is also their time to see and greet each other. This is the proof that peace activists, labor unions, and many other groups are strong and helping each other. Solidarity always reigns in their hearts. They respect, care and love each other. And this is priceless.
At night we were treated by the Kanagawa Gensuikyo to a sashimi restaurant and there I met the Peace Marchers of Kanagawa. They are Ito-san, Kaneko from Shinfujin, Masako-san, Kamakura Ishizaki, Ms. Isagaya, along with Mr. Yuro Nakamura from Nihon HIDANKYO (Japan Confederation of A&H Bomb Sufferers Organizations), Yabe-san from JMIU, and of course Mr. Takashi Kasaki and Mr. Kenji Katano of Kanagawa Gensuikyo. Sashimi, oishii desu!