Japan Peace March Day 15…17,445 steps made for peace today. 34°celsius with little or no clouds to cover us made the 12 kilometer walk seem like 24. It was a small group of walkers today that went to Arita, a very beautiful and artsy town. It is popular for pottery and ceramics. The main street was filled with pottery shops and scenic streams..In one of our water breaks, Mr. Tanaka-san asked me to share to the group the stories about the death march. It was very intimate extemporaneous set up as we huddled in a wooden shed along the high way. I boldly told them that together with Germany and Italy, their country caused probably one of the worst events in human history. I also said I remember seeing a shrine in Saga that had a picture of about 8 or 9 very youthful kamikaze pilots and that i pitied them more than feeling angry at them because although they killed many innocent people in their stint as war fighters, deep in my heart i know that they are victims as well. The pilots of the US planes that dropped the A bomb on nagasaki and hiroshima are not much different. They were all objects and victims of war.
I told the group that coming from a country that was severely hurt by the Japanese in WW2, i come to support them in their quest to never let peace slip away. It is important that people from their country to pro actively keep peace. TPBP always believe that the absence of war does not mean peace is optimum. We must learn to build peace in the most ordinary things that we do everyday. For Gensuikyo, who organizes this Peace March regularly…great job! It is an example of a pro active undertaking to campaign against wars and nukes even in time of peace. WE can not wait for another war before we start shouting again.that might just be too late…
We ended the walk at the town hall where we were welcomed by the staff. After a brief ceremony, we thanked each other and one of the seniors of our group thanked me for my sharing. She said she teaches home economics at a special needs junior high school here. It reminded me of my former stint as asst to coach norman garcia who managed the special olympics football team of team Pinas. It also reminded me that anyone who desires for peace, can walk for peace and be an activist and defender of peace…like a special needs teacher, of all people.
– AG Saño, 31 July 2015, Saga Prefecture