Today the sky is very clear.
We arrived at the Hiratsuka City Office earlier than scheduled so I had my warm up exercise (running and stretching). I also went around the park beside the city office and I noticed a lot of sculptures. And there is a youth hall. Sugoi!
Today we were led by Mr. Takano from Kanagawa Gensuikyo. There were a lot of Hibakushas present on this day. Also present is Ms.Yuro Nakamura from Hidankyo. Hidankyo is a group of Hibakushas or A-bomb sufferers and survivors.
There are lots of groups today and the spirit is high when they pose together for some pictures. It’s like they are having a reunion. Especially the women’s group, there are lots of them today.
Before we started the march, a police officer asked Takeda-san again if he is walking all the way to Hiroshima. He was the same police officer from yesterday who asked if it is true that this march is going all the way to Hiroshima. He was amazed.
We have a lot of participants today. It might be because it is a Saturday and traveling here is easy because the cities are not that big and are very accessible by train lines.
We passed by the city’s art museum building. Maybe this city is home to some good artists. It’s good to see that the city itself values these talents and even put these works of art in their parks and signboards.
We passed by the Bellmare Shopping Area. It is still a bit early and not much pedestrians around, but when we reached the main road there were a lot of people in their houses that waved back at us. People here are very appreciative of the peace marchers.
I noticed some cloud lines which is also a sign of jet activity here.
We had our stop at a local park which is near the main road. We usually have these stops after an hour and a half to two for toilet breaks. This is also a good time to make some inspiring messages to the marchers and acknowledge the participants.
We also watched the croquet game they play there. It is a fun game and I hope I can play that too.
After some long, moderately angled uphill course, we reached the Oiso town. It is a fisherman’s town and also a favorite spot for vacation from Tokyo because of the nearby train line. We passed by a lot of hills and the weather is a bit hot with some winds.
We usually go to the Route 1, which is one of the old main highways of Japan, just like the MacArthur Highway in the Philippines where you expect the roads to be not that wide because of the small volume of cars many decades ago. The Peace March has been around since 1958, so probably this is the very old route that they passed.
I also noticed a lot of cyclists in their full gear. Every time they pass I play my tambourine as hard as I can. I made it sound like the race bell that they ring when it is the last lap.
We arrived at the city office and were welcomed by the city officials. We also had our bento in their meeting room where we had a view of the coastline. The sound of the wave was very relaxing.
I hope the Peace Marchers also enjoyed this scene, because lately we have been walking along the urban areas or the mountain sides.
I noticed that the city office has an electric car charging station. I also saw some along the way. It’s nice to see the city’s effort in promoting clean energy especially in cars.
As we walked our way to Ninomiya, we passed by very old pine trees. We were still in route 1 so you can imagine how old this road is. Takeda-san told me that the trees are like 300 years old that dates back from the Edo period. We also passed by the Joyama Park. I hope we have time to go there, haha! Wishful thinking…
We stopped by Koyurugihaitsu where we had our rest and water and toilet break. I noticed that a lot of us looked very tired. I think it has something to do with the slightly elevated road that we go through, plus the heat of the sun.
I also noticed the Shizuoka sign that says I’m just 107 kilometers away from it. I’m excited to reach Shizuoka. but sad to think that I will be leaving for the Philippines in the next few days.
When we reached the Ninomiya Station, I was a bit tired. This may be one of the most challenging day for me.
There is a monument of a girl with her crystal or glass rabbit in front of the station. It is a story of Toshiko Takagi. Her father died of the bombing when she was 12 years old. They own a glass factory that was also damaged by the bomb and she was left with the glass rabbit on her hand to honor her father. It became very popular. The city honoured her as a symbol of peace.
A lot of people also died here in Ninomiya. Some died while inside the train station. I was very thankful to Yumi-san for giving me the story of Ninomiya. Yumi is working as a medical and social worker.
We ended our tiring day in the Ninomiya City Office where we were welcomed by the City Mayor. We sang songs with the mayor gamely joining us. Nice! Subarashi!
Today we were lucky to be hosted by Mr. Tadashi Yamada who is the Secretary General of the local Gensuikyo. We were fetched at Kananomachi by two gentlemen, Iwata-san and Yutaka-san; and rode a luxury car. Haha! sugoi!..
They drove us to the mountain in Hakone area. We were welcomed by his wife, and their very cute friend Yuki. I said cute because her height is a bit small. And she looks very young.
Yamada-san is also an English teacher. Together with Ms. Mai Kozono, they provided some the help for me in understanding the Nihongo conversations we had and my usual excitement to talk to someone in a bit longer in English.
We arrived at Yamada-san’s house a bit later than scheduled so, right away,we were served with a treat Hakone style of fresh vegetables and a very big platter of sashimi with 13 different kinds of fish and shrimps. It’s really a feast-like atmosphere where I had a hard time in choosing which dish to eat first. There is also vegetable tempura which I also liked. And of course, we had some of Japan’s best beers.
We were all amazed at how the house was built. There are no big nails or screws that were used in this house. It came from a very old house in Saitama and it is approximately 140 years old. Then they moved that old house here in Hakone and retained the old beams and pillars. There are lots of old things here, like the samurai altar and the toys near the staircase. We really had a lot of interesting talks especially with Yutaka-san who is also very familiar with the Philippine politics. Mai-chan gamely interpreted our conversations. It was a very delicious and fun dinner that we did not notice it was getting late. So we called it a night and rested well for tomorrow.