Day 1 & 2
I went to Hannover city, Germany, together with the mayor of Hiroshima city and delegates for 1 week from May 8th until May 14th.
Since this January, I’ve been one of the 2013 Hiroshima Messengers, and am in charge of Hannover city, Germany. This is kind of volunteer work from Hiroshima Peace and Culture Foundation, and its purpose is to give support when Hiroshima city holds the promotion events about the partner cities. Although the delegation period of the Messenger is an entire year, it’s said, therefore, the volunteer work eventually ends right after the event for the agreement anniversary between the cities.
As for the Hiroshima Messenger of Hannover city this year, however, I’d say we are extraordinarily lucky. We’d have the promotion event this August instead of May 27 – the real anniversary day for the partnership agreement, and before that we were able to visit Hannover with the mayor of Hiroshima city as delegates, to attend and commemorate the 30th anniversary of the partnership agreement between Hannover city and Hiroshima city. For this sake, we have enjoyed the volunteer quite a long-term since this February.
For the trip to Hannover, we left Hiroshima on May 8, and overnighted at the Hotel Nikko Kansai Airport for our flight of the following day. It was a very long journey to Hannover, taking 21 hours as a whole, but I wasn’t tired at all because I was so happy to be back in Germany, my favorite country.
We arrived in Hannover in the evening of 9th, and had a welcome reception by representatives of Hannover city at that night. I enjoyed speaking German with them 🙂
to Hannover, Day 3: Annual Conference of German-Japan Associations, Visit to Sprengel Museum, Meeting with Mayor Mr. Bernd Strauch, Visit to Herrenhaeuser Garten and the reception by the ambassador of Japan to Germany.
On May 10, I woke up around 4 a.m. and went out for a walk to the back of the city hall. The hotel where we stayed is located just in front of the Hannover city hall, which is known for the beautiful outlook of its architecture with a pond behind, so I went there to enjoy it.
Actually, it was also the first day that the members of the German-Japan associations over Germany gathered in Hannover for their annual conference at the city hall, so we attended it from the morning. It was also a great opportunity for me to hear the lectures by a ministerial aid of Japan and the former president of Germany.
After the conference in the morning, we went to the Sprengel Museum located nearby. What impressed me the most was lots of oil painting exhibited there. The curator meant that they collected many of them which especially described moments of history. My colleague, another 2013 Hiroshima Messenger, who’s actually from Hannover, also said that many European artists like to draw a moment of History for a theme of oil paintings. I just wondered this could be also a part of difference between Japanese and European oil painting art. I see many oil paintings that Japanese made when visiting museums in Japan, and I remember the these are often ones that Japanese drew their images in mind or the views they saw. I don’t really find ones that remind a part of history. Well, Japanese artists also draw those kinds, but probably museums in Japan do not really like to exhibit them. One museum in Hiroshima also has faced a dispute of exhibiting a work that describes a moment of WW2 for long.
Then, we went back to the city hall for a lunch reception and a meeting with Mayor Mr. Bernd Strauch. He kindly gave us a presentation of Hannover city’s main facilities, industries, structures etc… During the meeting, the delegates made a lot of questions such as the system of city council and election, current agendas of the city, management of transportation, cultural and sports facilities. After the meeting with Mayor Mr. Bernd Strauch, it was already in the evening, but still Hannover was in light of sunshine. In Germany the hours of daylight is quite longer than that of Japan, so it was very bright even in the night. The next program for this day was to visit Herrenhaeuser Garten that was made in the 17 century and covers 135 hectares. As the allotted time was unfortunately quite limited, we visited just a part of the garden. It was so beautiful, but yeah, too large to shoot a very nice photo lol.
The Day 3 was concluded by the reception by the ambassador of Japan to Germany. During this reception, I had even a chance to get to know a president of German-Japan association of Duesseldorf.
to Hannover, Day 4: Visit to Hannover Messe, AWD Stadium and Marienburg Schloss
We had a special tour to Hannover Messe and The AWD stadium in the morning, May 11. The scale of the Messe is very large, covering 466,000 square meters and providing 26 huge halls. They just finished one of the messe fairs, RIGNA that exhibits and sells machines for woodwork industry, and were little busy for tidying up for the next fair. Later we headed to AWD stadium, where is the home base for Hannover 96 Fussballmanschaft. This stadium can contain up to 49,000 people, so it’s as large as Hiroshima Edion Stadium.
After the tour in the morning, we went to Marienburg castle. The castle was built in the southward of Hannover city, taking ca. 10 years in the mid 19 century. A very nice german guy welcomed us and conducted an hour castle tour. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos inside the castle so I can’t show how splendid the living of the royal family at that time was… The perspective from the castle was also awesome.
to Hannover, Day 5: The 30 year anniversary of Hannover-Hiroshima partnership, tea ceremony and farewell party
On May 12, we assembled at the city hall for the 30 year anniversary of the partnership agreement between Hannover city and Hiroshima city. There were so many attendees: the mayor, the former mayor and staff of Hannover city; members of Hannover city council; and members of German-Japan associations. What a surprise, the ambassador of Japan to Germany also attended this ceremony. It was very honoured for me to follow a moment of their memorandum settlement as one of the attendees in such scene. Following the representatives‘ addresses and memorandum signatures, the time for Hiroshima Messengers finally came. The main reason for us to accompany the other delegates is to give a presentation about the Hiroshima city for promotion. We told the history, tourism, specialty, industries, sports, culture and festivals of Hiroshima. From time to time, we got applause and laughter during the presentation, and found the audience really enjoy it after all.
Thereafter, we moved to the ruins of aegidien church in the city. This church got demolished during the WW2 but still the ruins remain as a monument not to forget the evils of the war. Following the testimonies from the representative of Hannover Protestant Church, the mayor of Hannover city and the mayor of Hiroshima city, 6 school pupils read messages for peace and the incidents of Fukushima nuclear plants. It was very impressive that school pupils, who live 14,000 km away from Japan, are concerned about not only peace but also Japan and Japanese people.
In the afternoon, we went out to the city park where a small tea house stands. There the Sado – Japanese art of tea ceremony – is lectured by a delegate of Ueda Wafudo group. We joined their tea reception with the mayors of Hannover city and the president of Hannover German-Japan association’s Sado group.
After the tea reception, we went to Maschsee for the farewell party. The Maschsee is a lake just few minutes away from the Hannover city hall, and as large as 6 square kilometers. We can see a lot of people enjoy taking a walk, cycling and even skating when the lake is iced up. As for the delegates from Hiroshima city, we enjoyed the farewell party on a cruiser. It was just awesome to enjoy the last moment in Hannover at such place, after succeeding in a promotion presentation about the Hiroshima city.
to Hannover, Day 6&7: departure – Die Zeit vergeht wie im Flug
All told, my trip to Hannover came to the end so quickly. We left Hannover in the morning on May 13, and arrived in Hiroshima before noon on the following day. It was just one week, so very short, but the stay with full of programmes gave me lots of opportunity: getting to know members of German-Japan associations over Germany; following very important moments of official ceremonies; speaking German a lot, and interpreting at some unofficial occasions etc… Also, I found this country so cozy, yeah, rather cozier than I expected for this second visit, and admitted how much I missed this country. I will for sure come back to Germany in near future.
I thank Hannover city for fantastic memories, Hiroshima city for such a fabulous opportunity and my boss and colleagues for a great deal of understanding toward this activity. In a short moment of pause, we will start working on the ceremony that takes place in Hiroshima this August. Stay tuned for a sequel 🙂