Here are more snatches from the diary I maintained of the Training programme in Japan:
On the 19th evening we reached Fukuoka to a very warm welcome by the locals members. It was very moving the way they waved and cheered .Many of them would have had to take a long journey back home in the city from the airport, at least 11/2 hours. In spite of this they where so warm in their welcome.
The next day we went to the Fukuoka Cultural Centre .It was a wonderfully maintained Kaikan .Very taste fully decorated with flower arrangements, wall posters, exhibition of traditional dolls, etc etc. One can go on and on, the Centre was a superbly maintained place. Again we received a very warm welcome from the members. We did morning Gongyo along with some of the Leaders & Fukuoka members.
The WD Chief of the Kyushu Region , who comes from Nagasaki , told us that Sensei had not visited Nagasaki for 12 years .They are all fighting hard to welcome Sensei there. The WD Chief had collected articles about India from the Seikyo Shimbun covering the last year in preparation for our visit .Such was the extent of her dedication and sincerity in meeting us.
In the afternoon we practiced the song “ Dil Deke Deko “ which we were to sing at the Asian Music Festival at Fukuoka , in place of Toyo Kofu.It seems that Sensei was keen that we sing a joyful song in our own language and not a Japanese song .He was particular we should sing joyfully and confidently.
Every day we received messages from Sensei enquiring if we were in good health and whether we were enjoying ourselves .The WD Chief of SGI, Mrs Akiyama told us that Sensei was constantly praising the Indian members and telling every one, that ours was a Mystic Group and that each of us has an important mission to perform. The care that Sensei was taking of us through the Fukuoka members was outstanding in every way .The eye for detail was always visible .We even had two nurses and a doctor station ed at the Hotel to take care of any illness. Besides being showered with gifts, food packets were constantly being sent to us so that we just didn’t need to go out any where to have food.
From that day onwards the Group Leaders, in our case Dr Java, began to hold group level meetings every night to help us focus on the deeper significance of all that we were experiencing. An important i8ssue we discussed was making determinations based on our experiences at the training course so that we may work in a concrete manner to change our lives. Just coming for the training course and even meeting Sensei was not enough. What we do with our lives after the programme was the most important thing. I began to reflect a bit more deeply on all that I was experiencing so that I could understand what Sensei is trying to teach us and make my determinations accordingly.
The Exchange Meeting – 21/11/’94
Today was to be another major step in the training programme.We were divided into three groups with each group visiting a different centre for an exchange meeting with the Fukuoka members. I was in Group A lead by Naveena. We had a most memorable meeting with the Higachi members. Fukuoka alone has 15 Kaikans.
The day however had other excellent events. We started the day with a wonderfully vigorous Gongyo performed by all the Asian countries present for the Cultural Meet … India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Korea, Indonesia, besides representatives of the Kyushu region .There where over 200 members at that Gongyo which was very powerful and invigorating.
After Gongyo members of each country dispersed .We had a guidance session, for the male members with Dr Kawada and for the female members with Mrs Asano.
The music for the song Dil Deke Deko was now ready thanks to the tireless efforts of Mrs Ouchi and some of the Japanese members .They had worked till 3.00 am the previous night to get the music ready .It was just right and every one was pleased with the music.That afternoon we practiced the song and also the movements and order in which we would stand. Although with very short notice our performance for the Asian Youth Music Festival was taking shape. The tireless work and dedication of a few members do go towards making a very large number of people happy.
After the music practice sessions we moved to Higachi to participate in a most memorable exchange meeting. As usual we were given a most rousing welcome, as we walked through rows of members greeting us with huge smiles, waving flags and warm hand shakes. It was so moving to see all these people do their very best to make us all feel happy and take back pleasant memories .Many of these Japanese members had tears in their eyes and we felt like Kings and Queens and yet it was a very humbling experience. The Japanese members were showing us how to look after visitors. We ourselves don’t put in 1/4th of the effort and sincerity these members were putting in for us.
We were taken to the Gohonzon Room where we did evening Gongyo and thereafter went for dinner that the Japanese members had prepared for us .The Japanese members had taken the pains to prepare Indian food for us and even served Indian tea.
After dinner we were escorted to the Gohonzon room where the exchange meeting took place .There were about 700 members in the hall, and as we walked in to the tunes of the SGI song all the 700 clapped in rhythm .It was a truly stirring experience. Many of the Japanese members had tears in their eyes and we were left wondering just what we had done to deserve such warmth and compassion from so many people. At the close of the meeting we left the hall to the song Toyo Kofu song by all the members present .It was really touching.
The next day at the Ikeda Auditorium, which was packed to capacity with about 5000 members, we walked into the hall to the SGI Song and rhythmic clapping by all the members present. We performed Hoben Jigage and chanted for a while with President Akiya .To do so along with 5000 members was a mind blowing experience. Then Sensei walked in to thunderous applause for the commemorative meeting, where he was presented a Professorship by one of China’s leading Universities.
That afternoon we had the first glimpse of the magnificent Fukuoka Dome, with its retractable dome, where the Asian Music Festival was to be held. The effort needed to put together a music festival of this scale was apparent for all to see. Our own efforts for the Dil Deke Deko song seemed inadequate for the occasion and the grand scale of the music festival.
The next morning we drove down to the Fukuoka Dome for the Music Festival .Although the festival was to start at 2 .30 pm every one including the 100,000 strong audience was seated by 0900 am for the rehearsals including a full dress rehearsal.
The music festival itself was one of the most memorable events I have had the good fortune to participate in .I will never forget the great dedication of all the members who were present on that historic occasion. Every one of the 100,000 members present was a participant .Every one had a role to play and it was clear to us that every one present, with one mind was performing magnificently for Sensei. What also moved us very much was the large number of members waiting outside the Dome, who could not participate but still came tc the Dome to support this event.
The vibrant and joyful performance by all the member countries was moving. The song Ode to Joy with a chorus of 50,000 members was an unforgettable experience .The song has always remained in my heart since then and has a very special significance for me when ever I hear it.
The Asian Music Festival showed to us what beauty, what precision, what harmony and what joy was possible when all the people are united by a great ideal and work single mindedly to achieve that ideal.