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2008 June 2 Monday thru June 4 Wednesday.

2008jun04gokokujinjasai3

This week on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday is the 護国神社祭 here in Asahikawa.   

The GoKokuJinJaSai is held every year at this time, and for the purpose of remembering all of the Japanese soldiers and civilians who have died in times of war.   

Every year during this event, there is a rainstorm usually together with thunder and lightning.   

This is known as "The Rain of Tears" 涙雨 and is said to represent the tears of sorrow caused by the suffering of war.   

The main locations for the festival activities is the GoKoku Shrine itself which is located in 春光 right next door to the JSDF base.   

Also, there is a three day carnival in Tokiwa Park that looks something like the photo above/left.   

Wednesday morning I had no classes, so I was out driving around enjoying the sunny morning.   

I drove past the GoKoku Shrine and all around the perimeter of the JSDF base several times.   

Today was a special day on the base, and all of the troops were in full battle gear, driving tanks and every other vehicle they own, including small boats and helicopters.   

Of course, they were displaying the unit colors and other battle flags as well.   

I stopped along the public street just outside of the fence and watched for about 5 minutes.   

It was pretty cool.   

In fact, on Sunday June 8, the JSDF base in ShunKo will have an OPEN TO THE PUBLIC day between the hours of 09:00 and 15:00.   

I already have two events that I will attend on Sunday, but hopefully I will also be able to make it out to the base again before 15:00.   

I'd like to take a closer look at those helicopters that fly over my neighborhood several times a day, every single day.   

After watching the troops on parade, I drove over to Tokiwa Park to watch the carnies set up their stalls.   

They were just getting started when I got there at about 10:40.   

The library doesn't open until 11:00, so I had a lot of time to just wander around the park, and observe their work in progress.   

Tokiwa Park, by the way, is recognized as one of the 100 most beautiful parks in all of Japan.   

There is even a small stone and bronze plaque at the entrance of the park that says so.   

It truly is a wonderful park, both during the day and also at night.   

From 15:00 until 20:00 I had straight classes at my classroom, but right after that, I took a taxi to Tokiwa Park and wandered around among the huge crowd for about 2 and one half hours, sipping on a big bottle of 男山笹おり, as I always do, and taking many photos.   

During my time there this evening, many young people, mostly college students, called out to me and I talked with them for a few minutes each time.   

I even ran into a group of four girls who go the the Kosei Nursing School, and they all gave me a big hug.   

Confirming once again, that the best things in life are,.........   

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