The Words of the Ladouce Family

Last days in Japan for the 84

Laurent Ladouce
November 18, 2003

Dear all,

Here are my notes of the last days in Japan. For those who follow my story, remember that I had a dinner with a Korean scholar. These notes follow that encounter of November 17. Please enjoy.

December 9, 2003
Laurent Ladouce

November 18

After Hoon Dok Hae and testimonies, we had a brief visit of Reverend and Mrs. Song, who had recently been assigned to the Eve nation by our True Parents. We then had our daily orientation for the activities of the day. This morning, I went to Kyoto by train with a few members and we arrived there at 9:00. One group followed Reverend Lee of team 5 to visit the Itto-En community, which is a sort of religious group living in Kyoto.

Meanwhile my group went to the former imperial palace. The Holy Ground of Kyoto is located in the park adjacent to this palace. We prayed at the tree, and then headed to the city hall. We had an appointment at 11 a.m. with a city counsellor who has been knowing our movement since the time of VOC activities. The meeting was about 25 minutes, and we introduced the rally in Tokyo and the goal of IIPC. Our host welcomed us in a large hall and humbly said that IIPC was a very ambitious program, far above his abilities. Moreover, everybody was busy in the city hall and it would be very difficult for the City Hall of Kyoto to be represented. He was suddenly called for another meeting, but as we were about to leave the building, we suddenly came across another city counsellor in the corridors. This one was much younger and apparently more powerful, but also very busy. He took the documents anyway.

Still ambitious to find important people in this building, we went to the reception and asked if there was a department of international relations. The lady answered that we had already spoken to two persons and that would be enough. We insisted, but she politely declined. As we left the city hall however, we noticed that some unusual scene was taking place on the right-hand side. A few photographers were getting shots of a man dressed in the traditional kimono for men. At first, we thought of some movie actor, or of a commercial being made for some product. But we soon realised that the man was none other than Mr Yorikane Matsumoto, the mayor of Kyoto!

We immediately realised what we had to do. We were to inform him about IIPC. The security told us that we would be allowed one minute and no more. It was Noriko who received the responsibility of presenting him briefly the brochure and the invitation. She surely did a good job, because the mayor suddenly asked the official photographer to come and take a picture of our delegation with him. We later found out that Mr Matsumoto likes to have pictures of him taken and displayed on the magazine of Kyoto city. He likes to appear with stars or VIPís.

We realised through this experience that God prepares situations, and a certain timing. It was good that we had prayed at the Holy Ground together and that we had showed our strong determination in the previous encounters with city counsellors.

We had our next appointment in the afternoon at Notre Dame University, and we decided to go to a Korean restaurant which is very near the campus. The food was excellent, and we could talk with the other group who had visited the Ittoen community in the morning. The leader of this group had met our True Father in the past, and his daughters have received the Blessing and are trying to influence him. But he keeps a somewhat dogmatic attitude.

While we were eating, our attention was attracted by something unusual in this restaurant: some books were on display near the counter. I took time to have a look at them and realised that they were written in Korean, but contained some words in English. The word "co-living" was recurrent and expressions such as co-living-ism or co-living-ity were also used. We asked the Japanese members if they knew about the author of these books which were available in this restaurant. They explained that the man was living just nearby, and that we had contact with him and his family. But he was currently sick. This showed us that Kyoto was rich in spiritual activities and that some of them had a connection to our True Parents.

At 2 p.m, we entered the Notre Dame University. A huge picture of John Paul II welcomed us in the hall. A poster exhibited the motto of the university: "Virtus & Scientia". We were soon introduced in the office of Mr Eiichi Raphael Kajita, the president of the University. First, he briefly explained the history of Notre Dame, a university founded by American Catholics after World War II.

"I have been the president of this University since 1998 and I am happy and honoured to welcome your delegation", he said with a very warm smile.

Prior to being assigned as the 5th President, Mr. Kajita has worked as a chief researcher at the National Institute of Education. He had also been the Director of Kyoto University research Centre for Higher Education. We later understood that he was a specialist of the psychology of self-consciousness and of all matters related to education.

He explained to us briefly the history of Notre Dame University.

"After the War, Japan was ruined economically, but also very damaged internally. American Catholics helped the population of Kyoto by building a primary school, which later became a high-school and finally this small university. About 20% of our students have a Catholic background, and I myself never fail to convey the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ in this building. I am an extraordinary person, he said with laughter, in the sense that I belong to the small minority of the Japanese Christians. The Catholics may represent 3 % of the Japanese population, but only 50,000 offer regular donations to the church and can be considered as regular church-goers."

Mr. Kajita was proud to offer us a book containing the proceedings of a symposium held in Notre Dame University in 2001, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of this institution. Then Reverend Lee introduced briefly the purpose of our visit and asked me to explain the meaning of IIPC, as well as the background of its founding. Professor Kajita showed a genuine interest, which grew in intensity when Staffan Berg eloquently preached about his trip to Jerusalem. Having visited the Holy Land, our host was in a position to appreciate the importance of the interreligious march of September.

Unfortunately, he was not free to attend the rally in Tokyo. We took a picture in his office and took time to look at the architecture of the university. Since it was only 3 p.m., and we had no other appointment for the day, we had time to visit a most beautiful temple of Kyoto, the Heijan Jingu shrine. We were back in Osaka at 5 p.m. and then our van took us to the famous area of Dotombori, home of Osaka Entertainment. The atmosphere there is very similar to that of Times Square. We entered one of the most famous restaurants of Osaka and were offered a magnificent dinner, with sashimi and nabe, which consists of pieces of fish, pork, mushroom, cabbage boiled in soup. I was sitting near Sachiko Nishimoto and we talked about the good old times in France.

The dinner was excellent and we then reached the final destination of the day, a place called Spa World, just near the Tsutenkaku tower of Osaka. Spa World recreates the various spas from around the world. We were offered rooms to spend the night there, and after a 30 minute time of reports of the day, most of us tried the spas. Some brothers and sisters even stayed until 1 or 2 a.m.

November 19

We had Hoon Dok Hae individually in our rooms until 6 p.m. and then many decided to rest more, but some enjoyed the spa once more. We left the Spa world at 9:30 and a bus took us to a very nice hotel of Osaka, from which we could see the beautiful Castle. This was the final stage of our campaign in the second city of Japan. Mr. Komiya served as MC and Mr. Hammada interpreted in English. After the opening prayer, I was asked to offer a report of our activities. Since I had done it already two times, it was rather easy. We all received presents during the banquet, and then a bingo game was organised. I had a very good start but I ended up with one of the last prizes, which happened to be a green umbrella. Reverend and Mrs Song had good fortunes and both won splendid items.

The reception ended with karaoke from different people and Reverend Kang finished with soft rock. At 1:40, we left the hotel for the Shin-Osaka station, where the shinkansen to Tokyo arrived at 2:30.

When the train arrived in Nagoya, we were extremely happy to greet our brothers and sisters of the team 7, who had been working in this city. Their spirit was very high. They had all received a digital camera and a CD-ROM of all their activities was already available. But the greatest source of their satisfaction was the victory they had been able to obtain with Mindan and Soran, the two conflicting groups of Koreans. During their rally in Nagoya, the leaders of both groups had been able to embrace each other on stage.

At 5:10, our train arrived in the huge station of Tokyo, while night was falling. A bus was there for us and we took about 40 minutes to reach the training centre of Kawasaki where we would spend the last nights in Japan. We were so glad to see the members of teams 1 to 4 whom we had been missing for a couple of weeks. They apparently had been working very hard with amazing results and breakthroughs, particularly with political leaders. We were all very excited to tell our stories and to hear the stories of others as well.

Compared to our provincial teams of Nagoya and Osaka, the 4 teams of Tokyo appeared more professional and better organised, but under a much heavier pressure.

November 20

We had the Hoon Dok Hae on the Philosophy of Education and we practised our two songs. After breakfast, we all put our best clothes and left the training centre to reach the conference hall for the inauguration of IIPC. It was a rainy day, and the rally was organised in a beautiful conference centre 30 minutes from the downtown of Tokyo.

The program started at 1:10 p.m., and there were speeches of Rev. Oyamada, a Buddhist priest, a congressman, then a video presentation. Chantal Robertson and William Peat both offered brief speeches and finally Reverend You read Fatherís speech in Korean. About 10 ambassadors had come and quite many diplomats of a secondary rank, despite the very short notice.

We came back from the inauguration at 3:30 p.m. and had some personal time before the concluding banquet. After Reverend Sudoís prayer, Rev. Oyamada gave a very brief speech and two other people spoke. The hall was beautifully decorated and the food truly delicious. The biggest surprise was yet to come for all of us. In a very moving moment, we all received a splendid diploma, an envelope containing 300 US$ for each participant, a digital camera and a big box of ginseng. We were very deeply moved by the incredible generosity of the Mother nation. Reverend You spoke with his usual peacefulness, as a man of deep wisdom. We were all enchanted when his wife came on stage and we closed our eyes when she sang the songs that have made her one of Fatherís favourite singers at Hannam Dong. Reverend and Mrs. You are among the most beautiful couples one can see in our movement and everybody will long remember their parental heart for all of us.

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