Day 3 Japan Peace March (July 19) 13,485 steps for Peace
Mr. Toru, the group director for Day 2 picked me up at the Business hotel near the big bridge and brought me to where the group stopped yesterday in Makiyama.
There, I met the new group, though the director Shimazaki Yoshihiro was in our peace meeting the night before. I saw some families arriving, kids and parents ready to take the long morning walk. There was no interpreter for the day but there are some marchers who knew a bit of English so they became my instant translators. One was Korean-Han Jeong Sook. First thing she told me was that Kitakyushu was the birth place of metal works in Japan. After which, I noticed the theme park to the far right, where a towering ride fronting an elaborate roller coaster lorded over the vast cityscape. When I asked what brought her to Japan, she told me it was her grandparents who migrated here before the 2nd world war. Sadly, they perished in Nagasaki when it was bombed in 1945. She walked with us to pay tribute to her beloved grandparents and just like the rest of us in the peace march, she wants to tell the world to choose peace rather than war. And to say goodbye to weapons of mass destruction forever.
Another marcher who helped me communicate with the others was Hisako Tanaka. She fondly recalls how she loves to play with her grand children when she visits them in Sydney, Australia. She reminded me of my tita Melen who does the same thing. Hisako’s father was a Japanese soldier who was assigned in the Philippines during WW 2. He never made it home. We talked about Fukushima, about the war and what I know about it. And about dolphins and whales. She was surprised to know that whale populations have dwindled critically over the past few decades and some species are threatened to be lost forever. She honestly thought they were unimagineably abundant.
We had the program and welcome meeting in Chuomachi. We were lucky to see a group of drum beaters on a float heading towards the ward hall.
The Sunday walk was short, only about 9 kilometers, ending at the Kurosaki Station where we held a closing program and signature campaign. I was brought to the Kinokuniya hotel by Mr. Shimazaki and dinner came after.
– AG Saño, 19 July 2015