Today is a sunny day. We gathered at a park near a train station where a lot of people are also passing by. We have a lot of marchers for today. Igarashi-san, who is one of our Through Peace Marchers (Tokyo-Hiroshima Course), is on the Route B for today. The Coop representatives presented dance number. It is a dance and song for the deaf.
Today I was joined by Mr. Iwami Toshikatsu who works in the Yokohama Waterworks Bureau and a very good friend of our Through Peace Marcher Takeda-san. He is an architect and he helped us in holding our Peace March banner. While we are walking, he showed to me some of the old buildings and the new constructions that are happening in Yokohama. He also showed me the area where he usually hangs out when he was still young and bachelor. He said he usually hangs out there after work to drink some beer because his office is just nearby. It is some small streets and those restaurants are still in those areas.
The common alcohol that they drink here are beer, sake, shochu. There are lots of beer flavors too. When you drink in bars or ryokan, they usually serve the beer in a bottle. But in convenience stores it’s mostly in can. Drinking beer is one part of the Japanese tradition. They usually drink while eating their dinner. In the Philippines, we usually eat our dinner, rest, and then drink beer occasionally.
There is also one tradition where your friends will pour the drink to your glass, then you fill their glass too. Before eating, there is the traditional ‘kampai’ where everybody’s glasses are raised for a toast. Cheers!
We also passed by a road construction where they rehabilitate the sidewalks and make new drainage. Sidewalks here are very strict. You have to provide an accessible sidewalk and there should be no interference. I observe that sidewalks here are for pedestrians and bicycle riders. Sidewalk ends are prefabricated and its surface is smoothly finished so the job of the carpenter is just to line those prefab cement blocks into place and put some little cement, and that’s it.
We also discussed about the asphalt. The material that Japan uses on its roads are very high grade and expensive. Asphalt here is not smooth, it has bigger grains that is why it is more resistant to sagging and cracks.
We made our stop in a shopping mall for toilet and refreshments.
I also noticed the Coop’s banner or placard. Its handle is made of old badminton rackets. How creative of them.
While approaching the Yokohama City hall, I felt a bit tired maybe because it is too sunny. We passed by their downtown and business areas.
As we approached the City Hall, we were met again by Akira-san. We were also welcomed by Hibakushas from Yokohama who enthusiastically waved at us. We had our rest outside the City Hall while waiting for group B to arrive. Iwami-san who used to work for the city, showed me what is inside the City Hall. It is an old building that has a very big wall inside with an artistic piece.
Then came Group B. We welcomed them and proceeded to the Kanagawa Prefectural Office in the other block. Kanagawa Prefectural Office is a classic style building. I think it is Art Deco. Built in the 1920s, with a European influence. It is part of the 3 towers of Yokohama. The office building is ‘The King’, while the Customs building is ‘The Queen’ and the port opening is called ‘The Jack.’
We had a very short program to introduce the Hibakushas present. There were about 10 of them present. Then we had our lunch at the adjacent city building where I ate a popular Japanese meal: curry rice.
Outside the Prefectural Office, there is a sign that bears the welcome speech of the governor written in different languages.
The name Yokohama is very popular in the Philippines because it is a tire brand that most cars have. So Yokohama=tires, like Kawasaki=motorcycle. Hokkaido, Hakone, Hakata=sardines.
I also noticed some tricycles going around the area.
We gathered again at the Kanagawa Prefectural Office and we were serenaded by Akira-san’s trumpet piece. We then passed by the commercial or business area of Yokohama, on to Isazaki Street Mall.
People responded to our greetings and they also waved their hands, especially the students. Some were very shy but still they waved their hands after some eye contact and head nodding the Japanese way.
Then we had our little break at Maita Park where I met with the members of Shinfujin. This year they visible with their shirt that bears the print of ‘love, peace, article 9, no nukes’.
We ended our day at Kamiooka station. I also feel like we had a very long walk for today.
Yokohama is a very old port city. A lot of areas in Kanagawa were damaged by the air raids and carpet bombings of the allied forces during World War 2. Despite this, it is nice to see Yokohama today – very prosperous and very busy next to Tokyo.