Sunday’s march was a very interesting one through more suburban areas of Okayama, and again we had a large group of marchers with lively songs and chants led by young members, mostly representing Peace Piece Okayama.
We began walking around 9:15, and totaled about 6 or 7 miles throughout the day. One of the chants that really began to hit home was the calls for: “No more Hiroshima! No more Nagasaki! No more Bikini! No more Fukushima! No more Hibakusha!” While it’s basic and to-the-point, this repeated slogan drives home the long line of nuclear catastrophes that will only grow tragically longer until these technologies are abolished.
Through the March we rested with breaks of watermelon, cold tea, and lunch at a Co-op, where Toyota-san of Okayama Shinfujin shared smiles, laughter, and a homemade rice ball to supplement my lunch of soba noodles and yogurt drink.
My interpreter for the day, Miuki-san, was absolutely wonderful company, and we shared great conversation throughout the March. After a marcher introduced himself and asked how I felt about the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama, Miuki-san and I discussed the current political climate in the United States, and the role of the balancing act that the president is expected and forced to play. We reflected on the meaning of balance when so many people’s lives are on the underside of the balance – people who are hungry, who are targeted by bomb and drones, people who are deported after years of living in the United States.
At around 2:45 it began getting windy and the skies were very overcast and beginning to open up with rain, but the timing was perfect and we got to our destination right in time to avoid a downpour.
We closed the day with a dinner of some of our hosts and other marchers in Okayama, where we each shared short speeches and good company. One of the things I appreciate very much here in Japan is the tendency for people to share songs at these types of gatherings. The evening closed with a couple of Japanese songs being presented, and then I joined at the front for renditions of “Imagine” and “We Shall Overcome,” which the whole group sang with a lot of feeling! What a wonderful song and message to be so shared in this struggle for peace.
Miuki-san and myself at the end of the day’s March
Singing some Japanese songs at dinner
Kind hosts from Shinfujin!
The group at dinner