My First Travels for Peace Education to East Asia: Korea, China, & Japan

My First Travels for Peace Education to East Asia: Korea, China, & Japan
Peter DuMont - Mon Sep 29, 2014 @ 10:20AM
Comments: 17

[Update edit at 2014-11-17, from Berkeley]

Dear Readers,

Writing from Nagasaki, Japan, on an inaugural peace planning and promotional voyage to Asia for the STAR ALLIANCE • FOUNDATION FOR ALL! Not without challenges; but altogether a very, very good, very positive and progressive experience for peace education as we prepare for STAR ALLIANCE CAMPAIGN 2020 • FRIENDSHIP EARTH!

Meeting everyday people is one of the main benefits of traveling, in addition to sightseeing and making special contacts. To date I have given out over 500 colorful STAR ALLIANCE foundation business cards — to common folks and a few VIP's — seeding the idea of Good Will Ideals and Civic Peace Principles™ wherever I go. Invariably I show how our foundation symbol, The Arc of Rainbow Stars™, fits nicely in the palm of the universal human hand.

It never fails to give me a charge of energy and inspiration for peace when I show the correspondence of diversity and unity in both examples — the hand and the logo. Deep down I see once again how this particular connection — a stimulus to learning the natural principles that allow for peace in day-to-day life, demonstrated so well by our own bodies — is a gateway for everyone to live in greater harmony and enjoy a life of more joyful and sustainable society together.

Good news! I now have a nice MacBook Air notebook computer to write on, purchased at the Apple Store in Weihai, China.  Many thanks to all who have made this possible!
* * *
After landing in Tokyo 2014 September 14, I was guided the last, important bit of walk from the local train station to my hotel by a marvellous young couple, just bursting with hospitality and enthusiasm.  I showed them the STAR ALLIANCE FRIENDSHIP HANDSHAKE for peace, and learned that the woman is happily pregnant with their first child.  During the pleasant Asiana flight to Seoul the following day, I sat next to a Professor of Economics who was going to attend a dinner that evening hosted by the Ambassador of Japan.  I gave him not only a card but a STAR ALLIANCE summary Pledge of Ideals for peace.  His wife is a Professor of American History, with special interest in Native American affairs.  Seems fortuitous!

We had a good conference in Seoul Korea, sponsored by a developing "World Alliance of Religions for Peace."  I attended in the spirit of representing Civic Values for Peace, as distinct from religious beliefs.  A kind invitation and hotel sponsorship from the conference organisers [www.WARPsummit2014.org] was the necessary extra stimulus for my trip at this time, adding to a lucky win last February in San Jose, Capital of Silicon Valley, of the grand prize round trip to Tokyo on Japan Airlines sponsored by JNTO • The Japan National Tourism Organization • at their JAPAN SHOWCASE. Thank you, JNTO, JAL, and all involved in supporting this trip, including my personal sponsor/liaison at the conference, a fine University of Southern California student of economics named Aarin Tang who proved to be a great friend. 

After meeting some terrific people in Seoul (including some key media contacts at the conference) and then separately signing a STAR ALLIANCE Pledge with a just few, historic members of the public at the fabulous WORLD PEACE GATE at OLYMPIC PARK in Seoul (legacy of the 1988 Olympic Games) — I took a restful overnight ferry ride from Incheon Terminal suggested by STAR ALLIANCE Founding Director/Advisor Jerry Tsai to WEIHAI, China.  Thank you, Jerry! 

I have to say it was interesting to mix it up with common folk taking the ferry.  For myself, I had a private stateroom and managed rather easily with my lightweight luggage.  But I had plenty of opportunity to observe people struggling to take what seemed like much or most of their worldly goods with them in giant boxes and bags on the trip.

Weihai is a dynamic coastal city of China on the Yellow Sea, where I had the good fortune to meet a marvellous couple: Xu Hui, right off the bat at the ferry terminal, where he works for one of the big companies, and later his wife Wang Lin. 

Xu Hei, or "Harold," his English name, helped me with an amazing friendly energy and focus, and we immediately recognised something special in each other. He and his wife are outstanding natural Citizen Diplomats who made my trip altogether more successful and enjoyable. With their dynamic help "out of nowhere," after arriving on Saturday night I was able to meet Monday morning with the Director of the Foreign Ministry Office of the Municipality of Weihai.  The meeting was held at the office of a prominent businessman who is also a renowned calligrapher-artist!  

These fine people, in turn, then set me up with appointments the very next day at one of the two Universities in town, where I received important strong encouragement for our peace philosophy of Good Will and "Responsible Freedom" from three distinguished faculty members.  THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO ALL including my TWO fine interpreters!!

After my flight on China Eastern from Yantai to Shanghai, I enjoyed a thrilling taxi ride through central Shanghai, between connecting flights at the two international airports.  I had to put my foot down with the taxi driver, who at first just wanted to "get me there" and skip Central City.  After some terrific sights and photo opportunities, we got to the airport in plenty of time!  There I had the good fortune in the lounge at the gate to meet Dr. Jie Fan, a friendly Professor of Chemistry at Zhejiang University who specialises, of all things, in catalysis!  (That's what we're trying to be, in effect, with world peace.)   Apparently Dr. Fan was the youngest person to be appointed full professor in China, at age 31!

From Shanghai I flew to Fukuoka in southern Japan, a major port city, and enjoyed a trip to the historic Port Tower, which gives a great overview, and had a brief unannounced greeting and photo op with two very nice planning people at City Hall, presaging a scheduled meeting at Nagasaki City Hall.

I had a fabulous, short, but no less memorable cruise in the "99 Islands" National Park at Sasebo, Japan.  This is two hours by local coastal train from Nagasaki, and the inexpensive tour package from the train station in Sasebo included a fascinating visit, which I found very important, to the Japanese Naval Museum there.   Similar to seeing Takashi Tanemori's art exhibit in San Francisco, I once again gained much understanding of HOW and WHY things got to the point they did in World War II.  (To oversimplify, I'm sure: nevertheless the Japanese military machine was originally stimulated by repeated historical interventions from the outside from a variety of sources.)

September 28th I had a stirring, first visit to the Atomic Bomb Memorial here in Nagasaki, where I will go again today after posting this interim report.  Then I will take a night train back to Fukuoka and connect on to Hiroshima by Shinkansen, or bullet train.

At this writing I have just confirmed an appointment with City Officials in Hiroshima, which will occur on October 2nd, Gandhi's birthday.

Before signing off, let me repeat again my thanks for such a warm reception on my first visit to the great country of China by the City and Citizens of Weihai.  On my farewell evening we stopped again at their impressive LUCKY PEACE GATE.  As a testimony to harmonious exchange of global cultures: the park plaza at the gate includes an impressive statue of... among other great artists and Chinese figures... Frederick Chopin of Poland!

[A shout out for Hershey Felder's tour-de-force biographical master class as Monsieur Chopin at Berkeley Reparatory Theatre back home!]

In closing, I should mention that outside the Atomic Bomb / Peace Museum in Nagasaki on my last night in town, I had the good fortune to meet none other than Mr. Noboru Tasaki, a distinguished Citizen Diplomat for Peace, who is recently retired from twenty-three years' service at the museum (during which time it was remodelled.)  He now serves as volunteer Secretary for the Nagasaki Global Citizens' Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.  

Thank you for your service, Sir, for the higher benefit of all!
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