Day 24: Going With the Flow (27 March 2019)

What you think or would like to happen, often does not regardless of how much you want it to be so. Several foreign ohenro have expressed this sentiment in so many words.

This morning, Marc from Switzerland decided to return home after reaching Temple 38 with blisters on his feet that were worse than Aoyama-san’s. Marc said that he was comfortable with his decision. He said that this is the current condition of his feet. Other than rest for an indeterminate amount of time, he would rather recuperate at home. It is what it is. I have to accept the situation,

“Accept the situation” and make decisions accordingly seems to be a general feeling among the ohenro. If you resist the current conditions, you may become angry and aggressive or sullen and depressed. Something that I have to learn during this pilgrimage.

The theme of going with the flow continued for the rest of the day. Aoyama-san and I had decided to take the bus from our minshuku to an end point about 8 miles down the road. From there, we would walk to Temple 38.

The plan was scuttled in the morning. Rather than wait for the bus, we decided to walk first, then take the bus, and finally walk the rest of the way. We changed the flow. A good outcome ensued when we met Miki whom we first met on day 13 at the Ozaki minshuku. She is on a break between jobs. She decided to walk the pilgrimage before her next job. A time for herself.

On the way to our next destination, we spotted a couple cycling ohenro. No motorcycle ohenro seen yet but I would not be surprised.

The big hero in this area is John Manjiro. In 1841 while fishing, he was caught in a storm and an American ship rescued him. The captain brought him to the US where he learned English. He returned to Japan around a decade later. He was the translator for the Edo government when Perry appeared in Edo Bay. His boyhood home has been restored and several memorials were erected to honor him in Nakanohama. We also saw a statue of him at Cape Ashizuri where Temple 38, Kongofukuji is located.

I also added in a photo of Nakahohama’s current main business, drying bonito that are added to miso soup. Aoyama-san said it takes several days for the fish to go from fresh to what you see on the ground. We stayed clear of the plant in order to avoid having our clothes perfumed with smoke.

The 88 temples run the gamut from ordinary to the spectacular. Kongofukuji is spectacular. The stones that create the earthly scene around the temple are stunning. The temple gained its wealth for being located where Kukai called upon tortoises to carry him around a reef where he furthered his studies for the priesthood. Kukai must have been a tough fellow because the winds were gusting and even on this sunny day. It was chilly. The images are of the temple, the lighthouse at Cape Azihuri, and a medallion marking the most southern point on Shikoku.

I had to end this day with images of the sashimi at Minshuku Hatto. Saba, my favorite kind of sashimi. I don’t think the saying, “Here’s mud in your eyes,” applies here.

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