Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th (June 13, 2008)

We started the day with a Peace seminar. We heard from the survivor of the bombing in Nagasaki, Keijiro Matsushima,a hibakusha (A-bomb survivor)and the daughter of a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing, Tomoko Yanagi who teaches high school in Hiroshima.

The stories they shared were very moving, and the main message they wanted to deliver was the importance of peace and to remind the world that atomic weapons have no place in our world. whose father was a survivor of the atomic bomb, and also by . Tomoko-sensei spoke first, sharing her father’s experience as a hibakusha, telling stories of how people blamed themselves for surviving when they felt that they should have died with their families or friends in the blast. After Tomoko-sensei finished, Matsushima-sensei, a retired junior high principal, began to share his experience. He said that people in Hiroshima have a deep anger toward the atomic bomb but not toward America. When the A-bomb was dropped, he was a 16 year old student at a school inside of Hiroshima, 2 km from the hypocenter of the blast. He was in math class at the time of the explosion, and he saw two American bombers high in the sky. At this point in the war, American planes usually just did reconnaissance, because there weren’t anymore Japanese fighters or anti-aircraft weapons. So, he didn’t really think much of them while he daydreamed out the window. He finally looked back at his book, and the explosion occurred. He said it was a bright flash and a lot of heat together. He finally got out of the destruction of the school even though he was covered with glass and bleeding. He noticed people were terribly burned to the point where their skin was sagging off their body. He felt badly because he left to find his family who lived outside of town, because they had been evacuated. His father had been killed in the war. Although he called himself a baby for wanting his mommy, he also feels that getting out of Nagasaki so soon probably kept him from getting serious effects from the radiation. When he finally reached his mother’s house she was so happy to see him, because she had told herself that he had been killed in the mushroom cloud she had seen from her home. Again the main message was that atomic weapons are not a good thing, and we must work together to make sure they are never used again.

After another fabulous lunch buffet, we learned about the history of Japanese theater, more specifically, kabuki. We were treated to a dance as well as instrumental and vocal music. We then met with our group to discuss our week in Inagi. I am delivering a short welcome speech at the elementary school. We've also been told we'll have a mini Japanese language lesson so we can introduce ourselves in Japanese.

Tonight a group of us went to a nearby Shinto shrine where a festival was taking place. We got there late, so we just caught the end of it. I'll have to do some research to see what festival it was. Then we went on the Metro to the Oriental bazaar and a shopping district. It was more just an adventure on the Metro! Tomorrow I'll be up early to go to Kamakura.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are having a good time. I'm so glad for you. We had more rain last night but not like Sunday or like some other places in southeastern Wis. the retirement ceremony at school was very nice - your song was very impressive.