Day 5 of 2014 Peace March

Today is a bit sunny. The sun is already out and the glare is a bit intense.

We proceed to a very big overpass or a sky bridge where you can literally run around. Day5-1.jpg

I met with Mikio Suganuma from the Kanagawa Prefecture Peace Committee and Hirokatzu Ichikawa from Sagamihara Peace Committee. Mikio-san helped me a bit of the translations. There is also Kutunagi Takaji who is from Coop, he brings with him his tambourine.

We were introduced to 4 Hibakushas.  Mr. Maruyama gave some speech and
acknowledged one of them who is already 97 years old. The Japanese really have long life expectancy. That’s why there are many elder people here who are still active. It seems like there were a lot of supporters from Coop in the past few days.  I noticed a big banner from a women’s group and they belong to Shinfujin (New Japan Women’s Association). And of course Yabe-san’s group the JMIU (Japan Metal Industries Union).

There are 2 different courses for today. One is A course which is our location, and the other one is the B course which is attended by Takeda-san.

One of our marchers for Tokyo-Kanagawa pulled out from the march. Ms. Seto Haruka can’t finish her course because of health reasons. I think she was a bit stressed and her preparation might be a bit short. She might not have expected this challenging activity to be strenuous for her. I know she made a tough decision and it is right for her because only you yourself can listen to your body. That is why we keep on monitoring each other along with our through Peace Marchers if something is wrong. Maybe next time she will be back. We already miss her.

The good news is, Ms. Sando from Wakayama who is also from Coop somehow replaced Seto-san. She translates for me sometimes with the help of her iPhone.Day5-2.jpg

We reached the Sagami US Depot. It is a US base where the main function is for maintenance, health promotion, research and logistics support and storage area.

Before World War 2, this base is an arsenal base for the Japanese Imperial Army for their tank manufacturing, research and petroleum depot. It also played a big role in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Inside the base are almost 400 buildings in a 500 hectare land.

So that time I’m wondering why Japanese houses are small when houses inside the base is said to be 3 times the size of a normal Japanese house.

After the first base of the day, we proceeded to the Sagamihara Ward Office. We were greeted by the representatives and the mayor. They gave us the solidarity ribbon and some kampa or monetary support for the Peace March. We were also treated to some drinks and candies, and 2 women musicians provided us with a very lovely music from a flute and the piano. Along the way, we saw a masterpiece of a Japanese artist named Taro Okamoto, it is like a red hand with some pointed fingers.

We passed by the Yabe area where we joked Yabe-san that he owns the street. And we stopped at the JR Station Fuchinobe where we took some break and went to Zama eki and there we had our lunch at a western-style restaurant.

It was my first time in so many days to eat beef. I always go for chicken, and vegetables whenever I eat.  In the past few days, I feel a bit restless and always tired and sleepy during the day. And my blood pressure is a bit high. My first suspect is that, I am dehydrated. I drink a lot of water every day, and bottled tea, and sometimes energy drinks, but it’s not really making me feel better.

So I looked for some oral rehydration salt. Today when I drank it, I felt somehow relieved. And I hope that next days I will be better. Maybe it’s the cold wind and the heat that is taking away the fluids in my body. I drank a liter of OS1 today.

After lunch we proceeded to our meeting point at a train station in Zama. There were 2-way steep streets and a very sunny weather.

We passed by a dharma doll store and Sando-san said that the eyes of the doll are very important. Before an exam, you paint the eyes in white. Then after the exam and you passed, you paint the eyeball black. And she told me about the ginkgo trees that change its leaf color to green or yellow.Day5-3.jpg

As we crossed the tunnel, I was surprised that it leads to a US and Japan base called Camp Zama. You can see a warning with ‘Restricted Area’ sign in the cyclone wire fence, which is very very uncommon sign in Japan. This camp is part of Zama and Sagamihara.

There is a housing area and schools inside. It’s like entering a private subdivision in the Philippines where everyone is subject to identification. I don’t know why, in a society like Japan, they still have to do those identification verification things. Are they afraid of the Japanese or are they afraid of their own?

We had our share of Peace March chants and shoutouts in front of Camp Zama. We saw a lot of Americans, white or colored, old and young getting inside the camp.

There was also an on-going development of the area beside the camp’s entrance. They said it is also part of the camp and it looks residential type. Day5-4.jpg

And now we arrived at the Zama City Hall. It seems like some employees and the mayor went to work on a Saturday for us. He also gave us the solidarity ribbons and some kampa. I also did a short speech in Nihongo.

I don’t have a translator for today, so I don’t really have any idea what they are saying. Gambaroo!


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