We gathered at around 9am at a city building in Kurashiki, and after some speeches we briefly looked around the lobby at an exhibit about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The images and reactions that they invoke seem to get more powerful each time I see them, as I realize that the shock doesn’t go away no matter how many stories I hear or pictures I look at.
We began marching at around 9:30, and it was pretty warm and muggy! Our group was a bit smaller that it’d been, but there was still a lot of energy, and it’s great to be joined by Manisha, another international marcher, from India. Toyota-san, who had studied for 11 months in the south of Britain, interpreted for us in the morning, and Matsumoto-san and Ben-san interpreted in the afternoon. It’s so helpful to have folks around who can facilitate conversations with fellow Peace Marchers, and who also provide great insights and conversations, as well!
During our first rest, our hosts greeted us with applause (as they always do – it’s very motivating!) as well as umeboshi – delicious, sour pickled plums – and frozen bananas which might be one of my favorite snacks so far! This stop was at a food plant where they make manju. Takeda-san (a through marcher) bought a few and shared them with us at the front of the March – oishi (delicious)!!
After a bento lunch, we set back out, this time with Fukuda-san leading chants in the spirited way he always does!
We stopped by a Medical Coop, where we were greeted outside by a number of mostly very elderly patients, who gave us beautiful gifts of peace cranes, and sent us off with a lot of encouragement.
It’s wonderful to be so nearby such lush and green hills, and I’m really starting to get the sense that we cover a lot in just one day of walking, as I can see the types of neighborhood and scenery change before my eyes!
We finished for the day at 4pm, and upon returning to the hotel Manisha and I enjoyed a dinner of potatoes and squash that Fukuda-san gave us. I’m so grateful for the generosity and caring of these local hosts, and understand that Fukuda-san could relate to our experience through his own travels and participation in a march in New York City, where he learned the importance of substantial, healthy, and tasty food!! What a gift to be making such friends along the way!!