On August 6th, I visited Aizu-Wakamatsu for the “Platinum Future Leaders Seminar at Aizu” (in Japanese) for junior high school students, in their first to third years (7-9th graders in US). It is one of the projects chaired by Hiroshi Komiyama, former President of Tokyo University.
During the car ride from Koriyama station to Aizu, I visited the areas where I was evacuated during the war in my childhood. The places included the area south of Sekito station on the Ban-etsu West line, with Kaneda-kanemagari to the side and Tenjin-hama, where I used to play when I was little. Next, I visited the house near Inawashiro where Noguchi Hideo (in Japanese) was born.
The venue of the Seminar was the university campus, where I had visited a few times. Most of the students who participated were born after 1999, as they are currently junior high school students. Many changes in the world have been taking place since they have reached this age.
I was able to hear only the latter half of Ms Tamako Mitarai‘s lecture, which was right before mine, but I felt that she had many points that we had in common (please forgive me if I am wrong). We had an energetic audience and everyone asked lots of questions.
After our talks, the students came on the stage and we all took pictures, shook hands and then took a group picture together. We had a very good time.
Afterwards, I visited the famous Nisshinkan of the Aizu-han (1) (in Japanese). Visiting hours had already ended but they were kind enough to guide me this old school. There is a statue of Kenjiro Yamakawa (1) (in Japanese) (built in 2004), whom I respect deeply. The Nisshinkan looks similar to Yushima Seido and also has a statue of Confucius. Even when seen today, it is an amazing school.
Later, I met with Ms Hachisuka, who was a Commissioner at the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission. She still resides in temporary housing.
Many people evacuated to Aizu-wakamatsu from Okuma village, the site of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The Okuma town headquarter is still here at Aizu-Wakamatsu since immediately after the accident, many evacuees from Okuma village stayed in a business hotel in Aizu. Ms Hachisuka and I had dinner at the restaurant above this hotel, where we met the owner of the hotel, had sashimi and tempura and spent some time talking.
My heart goes out to the evacuees of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.