Day 15: Muroto
05.04.2012 - 05.04.2012 23 °C
(Now in Japanese and English!)
Kazu-san made fluffy pancakes for breakfast. We also ate sweet kiwi that Junya-san bought from the farmer's market and the leftover soup from last night. Afterwards, we walked Junya-san out to the boat and said our farewells. Shanti gave his last dog humps to Junya-san and was howling his sorrows when he left. It was so cute... I mean, a very sorrowful love story indeed.
We took a short walk together and went back to Kazu's place to get ready for the matsuri. Since there were no cars on the island, Kazu-san brought all of his equpment on a wagon and transferred it to his boat. He went to the temple, did a short prayer which consisted of drinking sake, and went back to his boat. We rode to the other side of the dock and he drove us to Kanoura in his 'moving cafe.' We started our official hitchhiking there. We held up our cheap sign that we made the night before, hoping some kind, good-hearted people would drive us to the next temple. After 30 minutes of holding the sign under the blazing sun, a car stopped and picked us up! It was an old man and two old women who were also heading up to temple 24. They also drove us to temple 25, (or we kindly begged them to), and gave us three bananas as parting gifts.
We walked to temple 26. Let me tell you, RESPECT WALKING HENROS. They're faced with the scorching sun that burns their skin during the long days. Their feet and ankles are sore from all that walking. They're about to fall over from their heavy luggage. I mean, henros pretty much bring their entire house with them - clothes, tent, sleeping bags, food, and other essentials. If I had more time, I would do this entire pilgrimage via walking since I think the pros to walking this trip overrides the cons.
We found a couple in temple 26 who was willing to let us ride with them to temple 27. The way to temple 27 was beautiful. Have you ever seen a mountain filled with pink sakura trees during sunset? Utterly breathtaking. We arrived at the temple 10 minutes before it closed - another close call! The couple was originally from the Kansai region and planned on doing up to temple 35 before they leave tomorrow.
We called our henro guide sheet, which told us someone provided housing for henros. The couple drove us to Niori sation where someone was there to pick us up. We waited for another 15 minutes until this old grandpa (ojiisan) showed up on his motorcycle. He had a very thick, country accent and was very... PUSHY. He originally worked at the temples before, so he learned to be very kind to henros.
We ate ramen and melon bread given to us from ojiisan. He let us take a bath and wash our clothes as well. He went to bed at 7:00, while we watched reality shows on tv until we fell asleep. He was kind in every way, except he was very bossy.
"You MUST eat the ramen now. Eat the melon bread. Hurry and eat it!"
"You must take a shower now."
"You must do this. Do that. You must..."
It drove us insane! (Gladly, I couldn't speak much Japanese, so he was afraid to speak to me. He mainly bothered my sister and told her to tell me to do stuff.)
- Ferry / boat rides are VERY CHEAP! Students on Temajima ride those to school everyday!
- People are very nice to henros, so it's easier to get picked up.
- Walking with all your backpack under the blazing sun is VERY HARD! (Especially without a bike.)
- You can actually sleep inside one of the train stations! Well, technically you can't, but there's a roof to cover you when it rains.
*** UPDATE: Thank you, Yoshi-san, for correcting my Japanese! You are the best!