Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 146- October 6

By Al

Today was the day for the dedication of the statue.  None of us had seen the location or the base where the statue is installed in Nagasaki.  We got to the location early.  The statue was covered in a sheet.  There was a seating area for us and Nagasaki Rotarians.  There were several city officials  and the American consul to Nagasaki.  The high point for me was when Naoko Sato arrived.  Naoko was an exchange student who had lived with us in 1998 and 1999.  We had lost touch with her and I had asked Shige if she was in Nagasaki.  It turned out that she had been working in Tokyo but that she was now back in Nagasaki.  He invited her to the dedication for us.  It was so good to see her again.  Her mother (who we had visited on our previous trip to Nagasaki) was with her.

At the dedication, the president of the Rotary Club of St. Paul spoke.  The president of the Rotary Club of Nagasaki spoke.  Most impressively, the Mayor of Nagasaki, Tomihiso Taue, spoke.  This dedication was covered by the local newspapers and television stations.

Preparing for the dedication.  The building in the background is part of the Nuclear Holocaust Museum.

President McKeown speaking at the dedication.

President Araki speaking.

Mayor Taue speaking

The shroud being pulled down.

The statue reveled.

After the dedication, we went to a local hotel for a reception.  There were speeches and presentations and really good food.  The mayor stayed around and talked with people.  He seemed to take a particular liking to Amy and spent some time talking to her about Nagasaki.

The Mayor speaking at the reception.

Sally and Amy listening to the Mayor.

District Governor Kovarik speaking at the reception

Bill Hueg, the artist who produced the statute.

The plaque at the statue.

Drew, Amy, Sally and me at the statue.

After the reception, we returned to the Nuclear Holocaust Museum and the Peace Park.  It is a very moving combination.  It really makes the devastation of nuclear war real.  

This is the St. Paul statue in the Peace Park.  It is called Constellation Earth and was done by Paul T. Granlund.

This is the main statue at the Peace Park.

That evening President Araki hosted us at the top floor of a Nagasaki hotel.  It was very fancy.

Sally's Comments

Here is the American Consul, Jason Cubas. A nice young guy, who brought his 7-year-old son with him.  He told me that his son attends the international school- which includes children from many countries.  The teachers speak English in the classroom.  Two problems have arisen.  First, the common language of the children is Japanese- so Japanese is the playground language.  In addition, the teacher needs to speak slowly in the classroom because that is the only place some of the children hear English.  This results in his son being bored- many times he finishes the assignment before the teacher finishes the instructions.  He has been able to convince the school to permit his son to be in the math class for the next grade so that he doesn't get bored.

The hypercenter of where the bomb landed.  The surrounding area was lowered by about 3 feet as a result.

The Peace Park is filled with statues presented from many cities and countries.  Many of them are figures of mothers and children. 
A few comments on the mayor.  The two previous mayors were shot.  The first survived.  The second died 5 days before the election.  The present mayor worked in tourism development for the city, and jumped into the race.  He defeated the deceased mayor's son-in-law by a few hundred votes, but there was no re-count or challenge to his election.
The prime minister of Japan visited Nagasaki this year on August 9.  The mayor gave a strong, ariculate anti-nuclear speech.  He has a philosophy of making the goverment very open to citizens and city staff.  I think our own Mayor Coleman and he would get along well.

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