It’s a very cold day in Hakone and we had our sumptuous breakfast here at Yamada-san’s house. It was also a bit sunny today. According to Takeda-san, Hakone is like 800 meters above sea level, so during our trip down the mountain, I was amazed at how the local community maintains the forests and the rivers.
We arrived early at Kamonomiya train station. We have a lot of marchers today and it is a Sunday. We were welcomed by Yamada-san from the local Gensuikyo. He has been the Gen. Sec of Nishisagami Gensuikyo – serving for almost 23 years, so we can see his love and dedication for the peace and labor movements here. This also show his efficiency and leadership.
We marched to the main street and we are happy to see a lot of people welcoming us and acknowledging our presence. I saw Yuki-chan with her niece and nephew. She is such a cool aunt!
While enjoying my Fuji Mountain sight experience, I was distracted by the cloud lines from jets that flew earlier. This is one of the frequent complains I hear from the locals here in Kanagawa. The danger of crash and the noise and emissions that the jets generate. It’s like, this becomes a practice area for jets coming from the base and land in the nearby USS George Washington which is an aircraft carrier and vice-versa.
Our walk thru the Odawara-ohashi Bridge is so much fun. I enjoyed having Ishizaki-san in front because he is very lively, enthusiastic and loud. He has been like that every day. We are also cheered by the kids passing by. Under the bridge there are a lot of fields that were allotted for sports like football and baseball. Ishizaki-san loudly greeted them and they happily responded.
Then we had our stop at Odawara city office where we were greeted by city officials. They still made their way to welcome us even if it was a Sunday. Since this is almost my last day, I did not cover my skin that much so I can really feel the Kanagawa sun.
We had our lunch at the Odawara train station. After lunch we headed to the Manazuru City Office where we had our rest. We were welcomed by the City Mayor Kazuaki Uga. He preferred to talk to us without microphone as he will just increase the volume of his voice. He gave us a very warm message of support.
A woman from Coop was in full mascot gear. Mr. Yugawara, who always talks with me in Nihongo, was in his pink robe and was very eager to have his picture taken. Mr. Yamada also had a lot of balloons as give-away to the people so they can also display this inside their houses. The balloons bear the peace message from Gensuikyo.
We walked along the streets of Manazuru and even if there are a lot of uphill and downhill, you will be amazed at the view. This is also a bay side city so there are small ports. It is very near some small mountains.
We also saw posters of the Peace March. Days before the Peace March we also did this poster campaign in Tokyo. We were led by Noriko Kuroiwa, who is the local assembly woman.
We ended our march today at the Manazuru train station. This will be my last afternoon stop. We had our short program and I met Michiko Shibata, who is also a Hibakusha who currently lives in New York. I thanked her for joining us despite her living abroad.
Today is our last night together, that is why Kanagawa Gensuikyo put us all together in a traditional Japanese inn. It has a hotel-like lobby, but the rooms have very traditional tatami mats. Expect for the onsen bath. We had our very delicious dinner and all of us were present.
I was happy to see them enjoy even if I can’t understand what they were saying. I can’t help myself from laughing when they laugh and somehow I understood the essence of what they were saying. They had their sharing of experiences while waiting for Kajian-san and the Peace Marcher from Guam, AJ Taimanglo. Everyone is happy to see them arrive and I’m also excited to share my experiences with my fellow marchers.
I was really happy to share with them my observations about each of them and I’m also grateful with their messages to me. What an unforgettable night. Tomorrow is my last day, so I savor the company and the beer! … Kampai!