MAY 23, 2014
Today we started our march at Shinkabara station. I believe the town we marched through was known for fishing as it is close to the ocean. Okada-sensei pointed out the structure of many of the homes that were more than 50 years old. The town we marched through was quaint and for the most part pretty silent. I really enjoyed the change of pace. I think my body’s beginning to adjust to the intense walking. My knee started to hurt as we marched and at this point I was telling myself mind over matter. Takeda-san and Tanaka-san have been big time motivators throughout my days here. Tanaka-san is 63 years old and Takeda-san will be turning 74 at the end of this month. Both are walking the whole length of the Peace March to Hiroshima. Everytime I feel that my body aches, I tell myself that if they can do it, so can you. On our break, we stopped by the Honjin Temple that’s on the Tokaido Road. Okada-sensei told me that the Tokaido Road was one the most important of the five routes in the Edo period that connected Tokyo to Kyoto.
After an hour and a half or so of walking, we made our way to Shimizu city and had lunch. I got to know more about Okada-sensei and his stories are truly intriguing. He gave me permission to share one of his stories that I thought was amazing. During our lunch at the station, he told me that last year one of his friends committed suicide. He explained that he didn’t eat or sleep for several days and slipped into a deep depression. He realized however that he needed to do something to get out of this dark time. He decided that he would climb one of the mountains in Japan. If I’m not mistaken, he tried twice and finally succeeded. There are not enough words to express how inspiring this is. Like many of the peace marchers I’ve met thus far, Okada-sensei is extremely wise and positive. It’s hard to believe that he experienced such a tragedy. After lunch, we proceeded with the Shimizu course. Shimizu was a lot busier than the previous town we walked through in the morning. Again we received many generous donations with the help of one of the public figures that is well-known in Shimizu.
After about two hours of marching, our last stop was the Teshuji Temple where we had our ending ceremony. The New Women’s Association or Shinfujin of Shimizu were so kind as usual and presented me with a donation to support my journey to Aichi. There we also watched a short documentary about the bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The images were surreal and it was hard to believe what I was watching. It was definitely an eye-opener and it made me realize how deeply affected Japan has been because of this tragedy.
There has been so much bloodshed in the Pacific and the loss of many innocent lives. The bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is something I’m still having a hard time understanding. I know nothing about war tactics and I can’t fathom how anyone would be able to take the lives of many innocent people in a matter of seconds. Furthermore, it’s terrifying that anyone in this world possesses that kind of power. It’s hard to make sense of the many global issues that involve war. Perhaps we’ve been too susceptible to illusions and have failed to realize that we are all the same. While marching each day and learning about the history of the atomic bombings on Japan, it’s hard not to think about the nature of death. The finality of it perhaps makes it terrifying. From what I’ve observed, it seems that it has been used as a mechanism of control-obey or perish. It is unfortunate that throughout history, we’ve refrained from using diplomacy and instead have resorted to murder and death to make a point. It is clear that the peace marchers I meet each day completely understand the need to sustain peace. I believe all of them understand the pain all to well that comes from the tragedy of war. With that being said, I am truly honored to be apart of this march supporting them.