Life Onboard
In Pics V: The Ocean Dream Heads Home, Aug 18, 2018
A participant goes for a shot in the basketball tournament.
The Ocean Dream has hosted several sporting events throughout Peace Boat's 98th voyage, such as the tennis and World Cup football competitions. Regular fitness classes like body combat, tai chi, and yoga are also held; and of course, there is also a small gym available for daily use. At the basketball tournament held on the outside deck, participants and staff divided into 16 teams, and challenged each other in a two-part series.

Participants and staff view the memorial space for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
August is a particularly important month when considering issues of peace and conflict in Asia; encompassing both the anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the end of World War II, which led to the liberation of many countries in the region from Japanese colonial rule. During this month, a series of events were held onboard the ship to commemorate the tragedies, pay respect to the victims, and reaffirm Peace Boat's commitment to working towards a peaceful, nuclear-free world. In one event, an auditorium onboard was outfitted as a memorial hall on August 6 and 9, the anniversaries of the atomic bombings. This included an exhibition of posters, books, maps and information on the bombings, newspapers from that time, paper cranes, fragments of a roof destroyed in the Nagasaki bombing, and of course, a space to collect signatures for the Hibakusha Appeal to abolish nuclear weapons. Mr Ueda Koji, a Hibakusha travelling onboard the 98th Voyage, shared testimony of his family's experiences during and after the bombing.

Oshita Keisuke presents a model of a landmine during a talk in the Peace Boat's 35th anniversary series.
This years marks the 35th year since Peace Boat was started by a group of ambitious university students in 1983. A series of lectures were held in honour of this, sharing the history of Peace Boat and various projects it is related in. On August 10, Peace Boat staff member Oshita Keisuke gave a lecture on the global problem of landmines, and why supporting efforts to eliminate them has been an important part of Peace Boat's mission. Oshita presented the Peace Boat Mine Action Campaign (P-MAC), including information about partner organisations in Cambodia, photos of a recent study tour to a successfully demined area in Cambodia supported by Peace Boat.

The Chinese choir sings in Rainbow Ocean Fest.
On 10 August, musically talented Peace Boat participants presented their skills in the "Rainbow Ocean Fest" music performance. The event was named to reflect the diversity of the people and cultures represented onboard - as colorful as a rainbow. Fittingly, the Rainbow Ocean Fest included performances in multiple languages, such as a very well-received performance by the Chinese choir, led and conducted by participants, which has been meeting and practicing together since the very start of the voyage.

A participant dances in the Final Performance Show. (Photo: Wu Shih-yu)
As the voyage nears its end, participants and staff have been holding a number of events in honor of its conclusion. On August 13, participants involved in self-organized events gave final group presentations of their works and what they've learned. The exhibition included arts and handmade crafts such as paintings, drawings, dried flower decorations, figurines, sunglasses cases, and collections of an illustrated weekly Peace Boat magazine. Later, the onstage Final Performance Show included freestyle and salsa dance, hula hooping, theatre pieces, singing, a group ukulele performance, and a group magic show.

A GET teacher and her student exchange a hug at the GET graduation ceremony.
After three and a half months of hard work, the Global English and Espanol Training Programme (GET) finally concluded with a graduation ceremony on August 15. The Spanish and English students celebrated the conclusion of the program first with a series of project presentations including singing and dancing performances, videos, a photography exhibition, original poetry, and presentations of interviews done with people in ports. A speech contest was also held, where GET students each gave a two minute original speech in English or Spanish on a topic of their choosing. When the students finally received certificates from their teachers at the graduation ceremony, the ceremony was filled with plenty of hugs as well as tears from both students and instructors alike.