My speech in London by Taro Aizu
May 1, 2017


みなさま、こんにちは。日本から来た会津太郎です。
Bonjour, tout le monde. Je suis Taro Aizu du Japan.
Hello, everyone, I am Taro Aizu from Japan. 
I am very honored to make a speech in English to you, the UK’s people because I am a retired teacher of English in a Japanese high school and I studied British English for six years in my high school days. When I was a high school student about 40 years ago, I had a dream to make a speech in English in front of an audience of the UK’s people in the future. Now the dream has come true at last, owing to you, the UK’s people. Thank you for attending this Global Reactive Art Exhibition today.
Learning English is a little difficult for Japanese people as Japanese language is different from English language. For example, we Japanese use three kinds of characters such as kanji, hiragana and katakana. But English people only use alphabet. (I envy you!) We, Japanese people write Japanese characters vertically but UK’s people write alphabets horizontally. But even though they are a bit different from each other, we can communicate easily because we have more in common as a human language. As a matter of fact, I speak English here and I can communicate my feelings, my opinions and my thoughts to you now. This is the first evidence of our easy communication between Japanese people and UK’s people. Take a look at this book. I wrote a poetry book titled “My Fukushima” in English and lots of people all over the world were moved to read it and drew a picture about each of my poems. They sent their pictures to this gallery and I can see them here with each of my poems. This is the second evidence of our easy communication. As a result, we can bridge the differences between English and Japanese. Last year I wrote a five lines poem like this. The title is “Our differences”. 

 

Our differences

I’m different from you.
You’re different from me.
Let’s enjoy not only our similarities
but our differences
like a man and a woman.
Once again.

Our differences

I’m different from you.
You’re different from me.
Let’s enjoy not only our similarities
but our differences
like a man and a woman.

Now, let me introduce myself as a poet to you!
I was born in the Aizu region of Fukushima prefecture, Japan. My first name “Taro” is a very popular first name in Japan. My family name “Aizu” means my birth place, the Aizu region in Fukushima prefecture. 
As you know, Fukushima nuclear plant exploded on March 12, 2011, six years ago, after a huge earthquake and tsunami on March 11. That summer I went to my hometown, Fukushima, for the first time since the disaster. There I happened to see my nephews with dosimeters hanging around their necks. The scene gave me a great shock. That sad experience inspired me to write “My hometown, Fukushima” in Japanese in 2011. Moreover, I translated it into English and French the next year, in 2012. When I announced it across Facebook, Dutch artists were moved to read it and formed a group “GAPI” meaning “Gogyoshi Art Project International” in Facebook. They held the exhibitions of GAPI five times in the Netherlands in 2013. 
At that time, ”My hometown, Fukushima” was translated into 20 languages by my Facebook friends all over the world and a gogyoshi of Takizakura was translated into 35 languages by my Facebook friends. In 2013, I published, ”Waga Fukushima” in Japanese, “My Fukushima” in English and “Mon Fukushima” in French with German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese translations by Amazon Kindle. At last in 2014, I published a poetry book “Waga Fukushima My Fukushima Mon Fukushima” written in three languages, Japanese, English and French.
European, Brazilian and Korean artists have been holding Gogyoshi Art Project International Exhibitions inspired by my poems in Holland, Germany, Portugal, Spain, France, Greece, Macedonia, Belgium, Brazil, and Korea from 2012 to 2017.And today UK’s artists are holding the exhibition here at this gallery in UK. Thank you, every participant from all over the world!
But now we Japanese people can’t solve the problem of nuclear accident in Fukushima. The nuclear fuel has melted down already under the ground of Fukushima nuclear plants. But we can’t remove the nuclear debris yet from there because the radioactive contamination is very high there and workers can’t enter the buildings for the risk of nuclear radiation. Besides, about 35,000 residents can’t go back to their hometowns near the nuclear plants. It is said that Japan needs about 140 billion pounds for the abolishment of Fukushima nuclear plants, and about 40 years for the complete abolishment. Japanese government has a plan to bury the nuclear debris deeply underground. But Japanese government can’t find any places yet in Japan because most of Japanese residents don’t want to live near those dangerous places.
Now, both Japan and UK have many nuclear plants in their countries. Let’s consider banishing them from our beautiful countries. I recommend we use solar energy, wind energy and wave energy instead of nuclear energy in the future. Let’s enjoy living a happy life on this blue planet, our lovely Earth! Finally I dedicate this gogyoshi to you! The title is “Our Earth”.

 

Our Earth

We have some places
where ugliness rules,
but more places
where beauty rules
on this blue planet, our lovely Earth.

Once again.
Our Earth

We have some places
where ugliness rules,
but more places
where beauty rules
on this blue planet, our lovely Earth.

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