We started this day on a very sunny morning. Not much of the wind, but still cool. Peace Marchers gathered in the City Office near Fujisawa Station, where I met Ms. Akiko Watanabe who works at Japan Communist Party (JCP). She will also help me with my Nihongo. She went to Canada before that is why she is very good in English.
We started at the Fujisawa City Office. Before the opening program started, Yabe-san hurriedly asked us to follow him, and we went to a flame memorial. It is a flame that came from Hiroshima.
On our first stop, we were joined by kindergarten students from a nearby school. They do this every year. It was like a children’s walking exercise. They also have some art pieces they draw that were displayed on their front and backs. There is also Article 9 on some kids’ back. And this is another fun day. They gamely posed behind the Peace March banner. The school teacher’s husband is also from JCP.
As we walked on, we passed by a lot of factories. I saw some ads in the hotel that says ‘Shonan lifestyle’. Shonan is the region that runs through the Sagami Coast. I think the ‘lifestyle’ here refers to living near the beaches where you can surf and do some cycling.
A lot of passengers from passing vehicles are smiling especially when they see the kids walking with us. We even saw the kids’ moms cheering for them on the sides.
We had our break in a park where the big tract of land was once a large factory. The local government converted it into a park with some commercial buildings and a private hospital.
As we had our break, we were joined by a very cool guy with a skateboard along with his friend. He has a shirt that bears a no nukes sign. The kids were also having a great time eating their snacks like taking a picnic. Their mothers are there very proud that their kids joined the Peace March.
We reached Chigasaki City where there are second hand stores that you can also sell your used clothes. This city is very famous for the beaches and surfing. There are also lots of factories here. We had our lunch at a sports center near the Chigasaki train station. We were welcomed by the city officials and a woman who is a member of the JCP. She wears very colorful clothes.
On our way to Hiratsuka City we crossed the Banyu Bridge that runs across the Sagamigawa River. The river drains through the Sagami bay. Hiratsuka City once housed the Japanese Imperial Army ammunitions depot and aircraft factory. This city is in a very strategic location and has wide beaches. That is why it was heavily damaged during World War 2.
Akiko-san told me that the roads here are wider than those of the neighbouring cities because when it was rehabilitated after the war, they had the option to build the roads wider. We passed by the Hiratsuka City Office which is under renovation. We ended our march for the days at the Hiratsuka Library.
I met Mr. Yamazaki, who was our designated navigator. He drove the Peace March van in front of us through our course for the past days. His wife died due to the beating she suffered from a drunken US serviceman outside the base. He tried to steal 15,000 yen from her but she resisted. Imagine a drunk-trained-to-kill US soldier put a price at your life. So senseless. That is why he vowed to fight against the US bases by devoting his time in joining the march as the navigator.
Along with Azuyama-san who knows very well the roads here in Kanagawa they were very helpful and reliable.
I also thanked Akiko-san for staying with us in front and had some never ending chat with me. My fellow Peace Marchers are happy because at last I had someone whom I talked with the whole day. That is why I need to at least study some Nihongo someday.