Japan 21 September: Kyoto

United Nations International Day of Peace

今日は国際平和デー

The Kyoto Peace Run started the International Day of Peace at the Jingo-ji Temple, a fitting setting for this day.

今日は国連の定めた「国際平和デー」です。ピースランは高雄の神護寺からこの日をスタート。ロシア、イタリアのローマ、など数カ所でもピースランの特別イベントが行われています。

Jingo-ji holds a number of National Treasures of Japan, as well as Important Cultural Property of Japan. Tucked in the lush mountain Takao, it emanates deep calmness and mystical beauty.

国宝と重要文化財を多く所蔵する神護寺は、緑深い高尾山に位置し、静寂な美しさを放っています。

Abbot Taniuchi met us and took the Peace Torch, blessing the Peace Torch and gave a soul-touching chant.

京都ピースランの無事を願い、谷内弘照貫主(かんす)がピーストーチを金堂の薬師如来立像前に置き、お経をあげてくださいました。

The Abbot then lit the torch to start our day.

いよいよ出発です!

The team was met by the 6th grade students of Takao Elementary School to be a part of the blessing ceremony at the temple.

近くにある京都市立高雄小学校の6年生も来てくれ、一緒にお参りしてくださいました。

Then sending the Peace Run team and 6th graders on our way.

Arriving to meet all the 1st to 6th graders of Takao Elementary . About half the students then performed a routine for us, which gave us all so much joy and it showed the work they put into it.

高雄小学校に到着。全校生徒約100名が迎えてくれました。

Akanda from Mongolia, Homagni from Portugal, and Pushpendra from India do two funny skits to show peace and not peace.

Kanyaka from Bali has been a big fan of Japan and is very happy to finally come and visit!

バリ島のホテルで働くカンヤカは、日本人のお客さんと接することも多く、ずっと日本に来たいと思っていたとか。今回やっと来日が果たせて嬉しそうです。

Abhejali from Czech Republic gave our Certificate of Appreciation to Principal Tsubouchi of Takao Elementary.

坪内校長先生は、何ヶ月も前から本当に熱心に協力してくださいました。チェコのアベジャリから感謝状贈呈です。

All the students and the team after ceremony.

After lunch students from Takao Junior High came.

お昼休みに高雄中学校の和太鼓部の皆さんと交流。

They first performed the Peace Run song for us with what looked like metal rods that produced the sweetest song and captured our hearts immediately.

まずワールドハーモニーランのテーマソングを素敵な音色で演奏。

Shortly after that the drums started and the power of them blew through us that we could not do anything else but sit transfixed on the drummers.

太鼓演奏の二曲めは、「送り太鼓」。外まで鳴り響く力強い太鼓に、ランナー一同感動です。

Their third and final piece was a piece to farewell us, rising we took our leave, lit the torch and continued on our way down the mountain.

送り太鼓は、去る方が聴こえなくなるまで鳴らし続けてくれるものだそうです。素晴らしい出発となりました。

Omuro Elementary School was the third school the Peace Run team visited today. We made our way into their large gym.

今日3校めは京都市立御室小学校。

みんなで一生懸命練習した、組体操を披露してくれました。

「平和は自分から始まる」

Children showing us the different countries we represent.

ランナーの出身国はどこにあるかな?

The teachers were invited up to run one lap of the school hall with the torch while all the students cheered them on! The Principal loved it so much that he did a second lap with all the teachers following behind with great enthusiasm.

山田校長先生を先頭に、先生方も全員でピーストーチと一緒に走ってくださいました。生徒さんもみんな大喜び!

Salil trying to learn how to say 1 to 10 in the Japanese language from these students.

As the team departed the students lined up grasping hands that we ran through on our way out of the hall.

アメリカのオーティスを先頭に、生徒さんの作ってくれたトンネルを走り抜けて退場です。

Giving us all much joy.

As the team departed, younger children of the school had just finished for the day and the team got to meet some of them before they went home.

Teachers at the gate to farewell the team.

先生方が門でお見送りしてくださいました。

With not much time to spare the team ran off again making our way to meet students from two Track and Field Clubs.

休む間もなく、次の交流先へ走ります。ニュージーランドのステイシー(左)とチェコのアベジャリ(右)を先頭に。

These athlete-students from Katsura-gawa Junior High and Katsura-Higashi Elementary ran us the final distance to the final school for the day Katsura-gawa Junior High School.

今日最後の交流先は桂川中学校。学校の少し手前で、同中学と桂東小学校の陸上部有志がランナーを出迎えてくれ、最後の1km弱を一緒に走りました。

Here we meet with students from Katsura Higashi, Kawaoka and Kawaoka Higashi Elementary Schools and Katsura-gawa Junior High School.

今日は桂川中の他に、校区にある3小学校、桂東小、川岡小、川岡東小の陸上部の皆さん計約80名と合同交流します。

These students, along with being fantastic track and field competitors in the shorter distance, also compete in Ekiden, which is a distance road relay. Their teams and members often make it to national-level competitions.

駅伝など陸上競技で全国レベルの記録を誇る学校の皆さんです。

Students trying to guess which country, they got it first time!

ランナーの国あてゲーム。

Representative from each school receiving a certificate of appreciation

各校にランナーの名前と出身国のサイン入りの感謝状を贈呈します。

To finish our activities of the day the students gave us a demonstration – on a somewhat smaller scale. 6 students would run together with the Peace Run torch and their tasuki – a sach they wear and have to pass to team members during Ekiden, instead of a baton. Tasuki is a sign of friendship.

後半は、小中合同で、駅伝で使うたすきとピーストーチを両方つなぐリレーをしました。

They invited the Peace Runners to join the teams – and had even been practicing for a few hours to run slower for us!

ピースランのランナーも何人か混ぜてもらいましたが、なんと今日は私たちのために、いつもより遅く走る練習をしてくれたのだとか!

To finish, their two top runners came up to thank us for coming. Both have Kyoto records in their respective distance. The girl in the 3km, in a time of 9:46 and the boy in the 800m in a time of 2:00. Once we heard their times we understood even more why they had to practice to run so slow!

この二人は京都記録保持者です。男子生徒の方は、800mを2:00、女子生徒の方は3000メートルを9:46という記録です。すごい!の一言です。

What's surprising about these schools is that they are all public schools, and not special schools made for elite runners. So all the children are from the local area. The teachers told us that the biggest challenge is often to compete in the regional preliminaries, as this is where some of the strongest schools are concentrated. In fact, At Katsura-Higashi Elementary, the main organizer of today's event, their Track & Field Club has 80 members, from national level athletes to complete beginners, showing oneness among students of all levels.

なぜか強いチームが揃う桂地区。激戦地区のため、実は地区予選を勝ち抜くのが大変だ、というお話を先生方から伺いました。桂東小の陸上部では全国大会レベルから初心者まで、幅広く受け入れ80人ほどの部員で陸上部を運営されているとか。いろんなレベルの子同士のワンネスですね。

The students all then lined up to send us off.

ハイタッチで見送られます。

Much gratitude to all the wonderful Monks, teachers, students and all the people we met on the Peace Run today.

今日会ったたくさんの皆さん、本当にありがとう!