Thursday, May 5, 2016

Day 25: Imabari to Saijō

...and then you fall asleep, and when you wale up and turn the page you find yourself in a new chapter. Today my feet felt fine and it was like a walk in the park.

When i turned on the weather report this morning it said it was raining on Kyūshū and in western Shikoku. Not just rain, but hageshii rain, which i suppose would translate as violent, or terrible rain.

When i set out, though, it was overcast but no rain to be seen. Around 8:30 it started to drizzle. By 9:00 the umbrella came out. At 10:30 the rain pants had to go on. But that's where it stayed; i never had to dig out the rain coat.

Walked along Highway 196 all day.

Never would have chosen to do that in previous years, but it let me see another side of Imabari and Saijõ i haven't seen in previous trips. The only problem was it got me to my lodging too quickly so i had to find somewhere to kill a couple of hours.

The practice of Osettai never, ever ceases to amaze me. I stopped for a bowl of curry udon this afternoon and as i was eating one of the girls from the kitchen came out and, after confirming that i was a walking henro, gave me a bag full of candy, a small hand towel, and other stuff i haven't looked at yet. When i thanked het and told her it would be dinner tonight, she told me i couldn't do that, it was all candy. :-)

Or the older lady yesterday, and by older i mean in her 70s, who went out and bought a dozen small cans of V8 juice, then peddled her bike to the local henro rest hut and sat there all day until she had given them to passing henro.

Or an older guy i met on the walk to Temple 39, on the outskirts of Mihara. There is a rest hut out in the boonies and six years ago he adopted it. Now, whenever he can, which sounded to be most of the time, he sits in the hut from 9 to 5, taking care of passing henro. He has a small refrigerator stocked with several kinds of cold drinks, a hot pot so he can make hot tea or coffee, chocolate snacks, Japanese snacks, cup ramen, and more. It's like stopping at a convenience store. And it's all free to the henro, nothing is expected in return 

How does one ever repay such kindness? Only by offering that kindness to others yourself, of course.

Matsushita-san must be a henro junkie as much as me, or worse. Turns out he's back on the trail. He's climbing to Temple 60 today and will join me at my lodging tonight, then will walk with me through the weekend to get me to the base of Temple 66 on Sunday afternoon.

I look forward to his company again. This northern stretch of the walk is the least interesting, maybe bordering on boring, and having someone to talk to will be nice. 

The walk gets interesting again during the climb to Temple 65, Sankakuji. Speaking of which, it will be a long walk on Sunday. Not only do i walk about 30 km, but part of that distance is the climb up to Sankakuji and then the walk over and through the hills to Bangai Temple 14 and then on to the lodging. 

Had to chuckle when i saw this statue at Kokubunji, Temple 59, this morning.

It's the Daishi with his right hand stretched out. You are supposed to make a wish while shaking his hand. All very clear, and that's what i did.

But, the sign next to the statue makes it clear: "Don't go on wishing for this and that, even the Daishi is a busy man." I wonder if the Daishi himself told them to add that to the sign of if the temple priest saw too many people standing there for hours on end and just assumed that we were being too demanding?


Les Heap said...

How are you getting your Wi Fi connections, only from the Hotels or have you been using a hired pocket Wi Fi?

Lao Bendan said...

Most convenience stores now have free wifi. I'll post all the details on the website when i get home.