Yesterday was 「土用の丑の日」 (“The Day of the Ox“).
This is a day that occurs once or twice every summer. It always falls on a date in late July, and when there’s a second date it’s usually in early August.
Last year was the first time in 213 years that this event occurred twice in July.
This year there won’t be a second date.
It is tradition in Japan to eat うなぎ (freshwater eel) on 「土用の丑の日」 (“The Day of the Ox“).
Eel is said to give stamina to withstand the grueling summer heat.
So, as we usually do on 「土用の丑の日」 (“The Day of the Ox“), we ate 「うな丼」 (grilled freshwater-eel on rice).
Every year on August 6 in 広島 (Hiroshima) and on August 9 in 長崎 (Nagasaki) there are peace ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the nuclear bombing of those cities in August 1945.
And every year, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki invite the U.S. president to attend or at least send a representative.
The reason for this invitation is in hopes that America will attend the ceremonies as a statement against war and nuclear arms.
It is extended as an ally to America not necessarily to attempt to get an apology from America…just an acknowledgment that war is bad and should be avoided.
Every year America declines the invitation.
But last year, U.S. President Barack Obama made a speech in Prague in which he expressed his desire and plans for a world without nuclear weapons.
He always said that he would like to attend the peace ceremonies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
His words made the survivors of the nuclear attacks in Japan happy. It was quite the opposite for the statements Washington has always made in the past that the bombings were necessary to end World War 2.
Well, it seems that this is the year that America has finally accepted the invitation from Japan to attend the peace ceremonies.
Next month will mark the 65th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and, although U.S. President Barack Obama won’t be attending the ceremonies himself, it has been announced that the U.S. Ambassador to Japan will attend the ceremonies in his place.
Also, Britain and France will be sending their ambassadors as well.
It will be the first time anyone from the governments of those countries have attended these events.
When I came to Japan in 1990, it had been 45 years since the bombings. I remember the fiftieth anniversary in 1995…it was a big event and it was hoped that then-U.S. President Bill Clinton would attend, but he declined just as every U.S. president before and since (until Obama) has.
It has been twenty years since I first came to Japan and now early next month will mark the 65th anniversary of the bombings and I’m sure it’ll be a big event again…especially since the Allied ambassadors will be in attendance.