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Monday, October 12, 2009

White Rock Meeting : "Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Beyond"

Last week all members from Canada had a reporting event on Hiroshima/Nagasaki trip in Roundhouse community centre and it was a huge success. I'd like to thank you again- thank you for having come and supported our event.

In October 10th, we got another opportunity to share our experience (in Japanese). Meg Serizawa (SFU) and I (Shoko from SFU) gave speech in White Rock meeting.
Meg's presentation focus was on Hibakusha's stories and mine was on peace museums we visited during the trip, and the contents of our presentations was the same from the last event. However, since this time we shared our stories in a lot smaller scale - there were five audiences-, we had a lot more involvement of audiences in discussion during our presentation.

One of our audiences shared a story about her relatives who also experienced A-bombing in Hiroshima. She told us that her grandmother didn't talk about her experience of A-bombing at all, like Ayako Okumura ( a hibakusha whom we met in Nagasaki) who used to avoid talking about her experience for 46 years.

In her speech, Meg said that one of the most important things we can do now is to spread our words to friends who are close to us. We are not hibakusha and we haven't experienced war, so that there is a difference between hibakusha's testimony and our (people who are not actual hibakusha) trying to tell what we hear from them. But, still, we believe it is very important to pass stories we heard from them to our friends and then younger generations.

AT the end of our presentation, we were asked one question from our audience, which I thought it was getting the crux of the matter: "What do you think you can do/you will do from now?"

Personally, what I think I can do and I should do as a student is to continue "learning and sharing". As a Hiroshima local who have undergone so many opportunities of getting 'peace education' during my childhood, I used to think that I had learned enough about Hiroshima and I used to believe I knew everything about it. However, obviously, I was wrong.

One of the most remarkable changes in myself was to have realized my total ignorance about non-Japanese people's voices. I used to think "hibakusha" was only the Japanese victims who were in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; but it's not true. There were non-Japanese victims who were forced to move to Japan and exposed to the bombing.

One of the reasons why I could realize my ignorance of many aspects around the history (such as people's sufferings inside and outside of Japan, current political issues, and so on) was because of the encounter with Peace Philosophy Center and with people I have met through it. "Person to person" is the most essential way of learning, and it does bring us life-changing experiences. I believe the international peace exchange seminar, "Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Beyond", was a great example to me.

By having another opportunity to talk about our experience in Japan, Meg and I could learn more and think about our future - how to put our experience this summer to future use- once again.


By the way we took a photo with a quilt of patchwork members of White Rock group have been working on together. (I made one too!)
Isn't it beautiful?

Love and Peace,

Shoko

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