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The Relaxed Henros - Seeing Life The Naruto Way

Day 12 - Naruto

sunny 22 °C

Temple 1-11

We woke up at 8:00 and slept for 7 hours, which was the most we have slept this past week. After a cheap and quick breakfast at a nearby convenient store, we started our pilgrimage. Temples 1 to 10 are all located in close proximity, so we finished all those by noon. The sakura buds have just started blooming; I can't wait to see it in full bloom.

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We had lunch at Sho-san's friend's house - okonomiyaki, onigiri, vegetables, negiyaki, and other small dishes. We finished our hearty lunch with some "R-1" yogurt and chai tea. During lunch, we talked about the pilgrimage, hitch hiking stories, differences in buddhist rituals in Japan and China, and various sights to see while on the pilgrimage. Apparently, hitchhiking is not a common thing to do in Japan, but it is possible, especially for foreigners. Since we are henros, female, and Americans, our chance of getting a free ride is pretty high. Let's just hope we can find a ride...

Since the weather was nice and the flowers were all starting to bloom, we decided to go for a small walk around the neighborhood. Toru-san taught me how to make noises with the duckweed! I've been trying to learn how to do that since I was in elementary school.

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Since there was still time left, we went to temple 11 to receive our last stamp of the day. We stopped by to buy some groceries for dinner at the Nameste house. Meagan and I decided to make cola chicken, a dish my grandmother would always make when we were little. The chicken was sweet, but we forgot to put salt to balance the flavor. It was not as great as my grandmother’s, but at least it was cooked all the way through.

Sho-san picked us up to Makoto-san’s house. Makoto-san also has a guest house for henros called the Nameste house. There was suppose to be a special perfomance from Atasa-san, a musician who has lived in India for the past 20 years and recently came back to Japan. He is the master at many different types of flutes and the Daruruba. He has a great sense of humor and looks kind of like Jackie Chan. Many "open secrets" (inside joke) and "Daramsama."

We first had dinner - Indian curry, bread/brown rice, salad, cola chicken, saba zushi, and fruit punch mixed with red wine. Atasa-san sang songs to us during our meal while playing his guitar. He made up a couple of songs on the spot - singing about going to the US, looking like Jackie Chan, Ichiro and the Mariners, and the henro trip. Junya-san also played the guitar and drums. I never knew everyone was so musically talented! Good food, good music, and good friends - all happening in the Nameste house.

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Today, I learned that life in Naruto is peaceful and relaxed. Spending time with friends and family around the table for a couple of hours during lunch/dinner is a wonderful feeling. Biking from morning to sundown, Meagan and I were always in a rush. We never have the chance to stop and take a look at the beautiful side of Shikoku. During our afternoon walk, people in Naruto notice the small flowers that grows on the cracks of the cement walls, the different types of flowers that were starting to bloom, the small details that makes the world beautiful. This is something I learned at Naruto- every once in a while, we must take a break and enjoy a cup of tea with our friends and family. It's something I lacked even when I was living in Seattle.

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Thank you Ashram - Toru, Hizura, Makoto, Atasa, Junya, and especially Sho - for changing my life and seeing it in a whole new angle. Arigatou.

KEY NOTES:
1) The country side is very relaxed and life goes by really slow.
2) The most important part of the meal isn't just food. It's the people you eat with, the stories you tell, and the wonderful things you learn from the others.
3) People in Naruto are very kind.

Posted by thewongway 24.04.2012 04:15 Archived in Japan

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