Blog note: The Peace March (Tokyo-Hiroshima Route) is now in Gifu Prefecture. AJ Taimanglo, our International Youth Relay Marcher from Guam started walking through Shizuoka on May 19 and he finished marching in Aichi on June 10. In the following days, we will be posting his insights about his march in Aichi as back posts. AJ-san, it may have been a physically challenging march for you, but your posts have been full of energy and insights. Thank you very much! Otsukaresamadeshita!
The International Youth Relay in Gifu Prefecture is then continued by Hiroko Hori-san from Japan. She is a volunteer worker of Gifu Gensuikyo and a second generation Hibakusha. She started working with the Gifu Gensuikyo last year and immediately participated in the Peace March. Last year, she helped a foreign marcher with interpretation and spoke over the loudspeaker inside the Peace March van.
See Day 40: A Hibakusha’s Story.
Her endearing voice enlivened the marchers as she led the chants over the loud speaker. It is great to see that this year she took on the challenge of being part of the International Youth Relay and write about her experience in this blog. Thank you very much Hori-san!
For the next days, you will be reading about the Peace March in the beautiful prefecture of Gifu through Hiroko Hori-san’s words.
June 11, 2014 – Peace March Handover from Aichi to Gifu Prefecture
Shortly before noon, we gathered at the square of Kakamigahara City Swimming Pool, ready to welcome the arrival of the Aichi Peace March. While waiting, I collected donations for the International Youth Relay Peace March. At first I felt nervous, but I was encouraged by the three people I managed to talk to, who were all very willing to give donation. Thank you very much!
In the distance over the fence, I spotted the Aichi Peace marchers approaching. Soon the group of marchers grew bigger and bigger in my sight, with all the banners and flags. The sight made me really feel that the peace march is now handed over to Gifu, my prefecture — it was the first time for me to take part in the handover ceremony. Thinking that such a handover ceremony will be repeated at every prefectural boundary until the march finally reaches Hiroshima, the long history and importance of the Peace March came home to me.
A dog was accompanying the march from Aichi. It was so cute and I could not help getting a snapshot of it. The dog seemed to be attracted by the fluttering of the banners.
After the handover ceremony, we moved to Kakamigahara Citizens Park to have lunch. I brought some rice balls with me, but they were miserably crushed under the drink bottle in my bag. I need to do something about it tomorrow…
Mr. Umeoka sharing his A-bomb experience
After lunch we started our march. In a little while, we heard tremendous noise of jet fighters in training, perhaps from the nearby Self-Defense Force Kakamigahara base. But our peace calls were even louder — they sounded as if challenging the fighter jets, shouting, “We need no more fighters nor Self-Defense Forces!”
Mr. Kido Sueichi, Assistant Secretary General of Hidankyo (Japan Confederation of A-and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations), gave me a special T-shirt (photo below) produced by Hidankyo. I will continue to walk with this T-shirt on.