Day 25: Ichigo, Ichie (28 March 2019)

Our day started at 5:30 because we had to catch the 6:15 bus. I was awake, packed, and ready to go. To my surprise, the host came by to check that I was up.

She was a pip. Always on the go with a high volume voice speaking Japanese that I understood. Although breakfast is normally served at 6, she had it ready for us at 5:30. What a lady.

The bus stop was right next door to Minshuku Hatto. How convenient. Before we got on the bus, Sunano Itsuko, came out to say goodbye. Because he was only walking, the chances were slim that we would see him again. Aoyama-san said, “Ichigo, Ichie,” one life, one encounter. Indeed, we have one lifetime and throughout it, we meet many people only once but who have in some way affected us. I think of all of the people whom I have met on this trip who have helped me enjoy it, have smoothed the way, or have taught me lessons. Here was Sunano-san taking time to thank us for being part of his life.

We made our transfer to the bus bound for Sukumo City. The bus driver was very helpful in making sure that we got off at the stop we wanted. Ohenro and the occasional tourist do not get off where we did. What a professional. Notice the white glove? Bus and taxi drivers wear white gloves when they are operating their vehicles.

We found the part of the ohenro trail where the children from one of the local schools had left messages of encouragement to the ohenro. Since these were 3rd graders, they wrote in hiragana. When I get home, I will work on translating these messages into English. Messages are added each year. What a wonderful class project.

We finally made it to Sukumo City and the jumping off point for Temple 39, Enkoji. We walked there and thus our day’s total was 15 miles. An amazing feat for Aoyama-san. No pun was intended.

We deserved a nice dinner after today’s early start and amount of walking. But before, we went to the ofuro. I have mentioned the Japanese bath so why bring it up again? As Aoyama-san and I entered the bath area, members of a high school baseball team were toweling off. They bowed to us and made room for us. As they left, the most senior boy turned our slippers around so that pointed away from us. That way, we could easily put our feet into them when we were ready to leave. How thoughtful from a high school student.

Back to dinner at the izakaya. I included several images such as the amuse bouche from the chef, saba ( my third time today), homemade rakkyo (pickled scallion heads), roasted garlic, and grilled ika (cuttlefish). Loved it all. We said kampai. The Asahi beer tasted so good. This bottle has its special spring label commemorating Sakura.

Here is our server at the izakaya.

Tomorrow Temple 40, Kanjizaiji, the furthest point from Temple 1.

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