We met this morning at a place in Shimizu City. We sang a couple of songs to boost the morale of the group and then we proceeded with our usual introductions. I try my best to introduce myself in Japanese to the crowd using basic sentences explaining that I’m from Guam and that I’m marching from Shizuoka to Aichi. However limited, I’m finding that I’m using Japanese more often trying to make conversations with everyone I meet. After our introductions, we proceeded through another part of Shimizu.
Today I was extremely astonished. A woman who is 92 years old joined us in our march. To honor her, she led today’s course in Shimizu. I felt extremely privileged to march with her and I was truly amazed by her pace and enthusiasm. At our first break, I talked to her for a bit and I told her that she was incredibly strong and thanked her for joining us. I still can’t believe how healthy and energetic the people of Japan are. I think a large part of it has to do with their diet. Every meal that I share with the peace marchers is healthy and we tend to eat a lot of fish and vegetables. I’ve also observed that eating healthy is inexpensive here and you can grab fruits and vegetables at just about any convenience store. In comparison to Guam, it costs an arm and leg to eat anything organic. You would assume that eating anything fresh would be affordable. I have also noticed that the people of Japan have a great concept of portion control. I think this has to do with the several small dishes served during one meal. After about an hour of marching, we took another break and had lunch at a community center. We were served onigiri and lots of vegetables. There I was interviewed by a news reporter who asked several questions like where I came from and why I chose to participate in this march. After lunch, we marched for another hour or so and took a break a beautiful park called Kyomizu. Like many of the parks we frequent, it was really clean and relaxing but this one had a waterfall. Since we had about a thirty-minute break, I ran to the top of park to look at the amazing view.
Our last stretch of today’s course was through Shizuoka City. This area was more congested since it is primarily a shopping district. The demographic of those we passed were mostly young adults. Not many of them were responsive and some of them looked puzzled. Still, we did not let this discourage us and we made as much noise as possible and were friendly. It was fun to drum a beat in the shopping district since the acoustics were great and it echoed really well. I enjoyed watching the reactions of the crowd as some were into it while others seemed apathetic. After we made our way through the busy shopping district, we had our ending ceremony at a nearby square with a huge water fountain. Again the New Women’s Association presented me with a parting gift and a donation expressing their support. They truly are an amazing group of women. As always, the peace marchers that I meet everyday have been extremely hospitable and I enjoy meeting them and learning about their perspectives on nuclear abolition and a peaceful Japan.
Minasan, mata ashita!