Gujo is famous for its three-day all-night dance festival during the Obon period (around August 13-15) in mid-summer. It’s also known for its beautiful mountains, rivers and clear water. Today we marched through the city with traditional houses and shopping streets. The photo was taken at the city hall.
We were worried about the rain, and it indeed rained in the end today. During the starting ceremony in the morning, the sky was light and I was hopeful that the weather would hold. But as soon as we started marching, it began to pour. All through the march, it continued to rain, and just when we reached today’s destination, it suddenly stopped. And when I reached Gifu station after the march, again it poured in such large drops with thunders and lightning that I could not see anything ahead….
The people of Gujo shopping street welcomed our peace march so warmly. They came out on the street, waiting to cheer us. They were not just a few, but many. It was so heartwarming that I even did not feel wet or cold from the rain. A woman, who runs a local inn (sorry, I don’t know her name) was making announcement of the peace march using a loudspeaker. Her voice was so clear and beautiful that I first thought it was a recorded voice of a professional announcer.
After we visited Gujo City Office, the deputy mayor and the speaker of the city assembly were kind enough to join our peace march and walked a short distance together through the parking lot. I was very moved to feel strong support from so many people to the peace march. I cannot find good words to express my gratitude.
On my way home, a member of the New Japan Women’s Association, one of the through marchers within Gifu Prefecture, invited me to go to her favorite restaurant, where they served delicious Okonomiyaki. It was a small shop at the corner of a parking lot of a Chinese restaurant. The owner of the restaurant was an older woman. She saw our PR vehicle with loudspeakers and said, “Are you just driving that car without making any announcements?” So we explained what we have been doing today. She listened to us and said, “I see. Recently I fear that the government might start the conscription system again. I am worried about my grandchildren, so I feel I have to speak up.” Her words made me realize that it was not only us in the movement who were worried about what Prime Minister Abe was trying to do.