Kawasaki City Hall to Shinjo Park
We started our third day with full of excitement and body aches, as we are still adjusting to the weather. Today is a bit cold and sunny.
We proceeded outside the Kawasaki City Hall where a lot of people gathered. Igarashi-san showed me a newspaper from Tokyo Shimbun that bears our pictures. I can’t read Nihongo so I just assumed that the news is about what happened when we were still in Tokyo.
Members of the City Council, Coop and a Hibakusha expressed their support. I noticed a statue of a woman, which I believe symbolizes peace just like the paper cranes.
And so we walked from Kawasaki to Saiwai Ward office where we had our break. We gathered at the side of the building where it is not so hot and we listened to the government official deliver his speech. We just had a brief stay in the city office, then we proceeded to a local park.
On the way, I saw a lot of large buildings that seem to be some kind of apartment or condo. We also passed by a Shinkansen railroad and I am still amazed by the train system here. Kanagawa is a prefecture next to Tokyo and they still have very nice trains here. Well Tokyo is a lot better because it has subways which are also multi-levelled. And sometimes in one station you can see like 5 lines or more. It is every Japanese pride in having this infrastructure. You don’t really need a car if you have these trains in your country.
We proceeded to the Kawasaki Peace Museum. We were greeted by Akira-san with his trumpet. Katsuyoshi Tanabe-san approached me and said that he met my sister last year. He gave me a tour to the museum.
The museum was opened in April 1992, in time for the anniversary of the Kawasaki air raids. It exhibits not only the tragedy of war in Japan but also other countries who have been victims of war and nuclear weapons. You can watch the videos of different histories from bombing, Hibakushas and many more. He also noted that this area is a former US base. So it’s good to see that the local government made it into a something really useful to citizens of Japan.
Just like in Subic where the former base is already a tourist destination for its beach and mountain adventures. You can freely roam around without restrictions and barbed wire that says warning, ‘No Trespassing US Property.’
Kanagawa Prefecture has the most number of US bases in mainland Japan, second only to Okinawa. It seems like Japan has been a US bases hub outside the US mainland, because of the number of US bases or installations stationed here.
The Philippines, on the other hand, previously hosted some of the largest US basesi Asia Pacific i.e. Subic and Clark. We Filipinos have the experience of bases closure more than 20 years ago. That is why the Japanese peace activists look at the Philippines as a model in their struggle against the hosting and expansion of the US bases in Japan.
With the new US deal with the Philippines of Enhanced Defense Cooperation that would allow basing and rotational forces, we also ask for the Japanese peace activists and from other countries to support us in our struggle against the continuing US military occupation of the Philippines. We don’t want to be like Japan where US bases are almost everywhere.
After having our lunch and our museum tour we were treated by Akira-san with his send-off music. There was a lot of Hibakushas who joined us and from Shinfujin.
We reached Motosumiyoshi station where there is a shopping street outside. It is called Bremen Street. It is an old shopping district that started after World War 2. It also has a unique icon which is the donkey, dog, cat, cock. There is this Bremen story of these 4 animals that are victims of misfortunes and are runaways. They grouped together to become musicians. During their journey they were able to scare off some bad people by arranging themselves on top of the other and creating their music.
After Bremen we reached the nearby Coop store where we were treated with the chunks of fresh bananas and oranges, candies, sports drinks, tea, and water. They also provided us with blood pressure check. Mine was a bit high. I think I’m getting a bit dehydrated.
Our final stop was at Shinjo Park. And I can see all the happiness in their faces. It’s like we had a very long walk for today. And we are just starting. I hope tomorrow will be like this: A bit sunny and windy.
We walked to a Chinese restaurant where we had our Chinese dinner with Japanese beer. I think this is Yabe-san’s favourite. Yabe is a very jolly person and always has a smile on his face. The food here is absolutely delicious. It is run by a couple with their son who is I think a junior high school student. They are very accommodating and it seems like they really know Yabe-san and the Peace March.
I sometimes tend to laugh when they laugh and looks as if I understand what they are saying based on their reactions. I hope this helps in making them feel comfortable with me, because they also know I couldn’t understand. But they are very attentive to me. Hats off to them!