Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I grew up in a military family and joined the Air Force in 1971 during the Vietnam War. It was there that I became a peace activist.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

WALKING KYOTO

I take the train in the morning from Kyoto to Hiroshima. It is a two-hour trip. In the afternoon I will join the other speakers from the International Symposium for Peace for a tour of the Peace Memorial Museum and the famous A-bomb Dome. I will speak on August 1 at the conference.

Today I spent several hours walking the back streets of Kyoto, just wandering through the neighborhoods. I ran into one temple that had the biggest carp I've ever seen swimming around in the fountain pool. It is fascinating to watch all the bicycles, walkers, and cars navigate their way through the narrow streets that were not built with the automobile in mind. One of my favorite sites was the people riding along with one hand on the handle bars and the other holding an umbrella over their head. Kind of like a circus act.

Tonight Atsushi Fujioka took me out to dinner again, the fourth night in a row. I'm sampling my way around Kyoto trying out the various types of Japanese cuisine. I'd say about 10 different dishes are brought to the table, each very delicate and finely decorated. Raw tuna, eel, octopus, river fish, salmon, sea snake and the like. I eat all of it. A small bowl of rice always come last, just before the dessert. A big mug of beer washes it all down.

Last night I was told that I was to be interviewed today at 2:30 pm and to wait at my hotel room. A nice young man showed up with four large cases of video equipment and set it all up in my small room. He is a lecturer at a nearby university and was interviewing me for a progressive community media TV program. He said that public access TV is rare in Japan and wanted me to emphasize the importance of developing alternative outlets during this time of corporate dominated media. I gladly did as he asked.

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