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Henro Pilgrimage - Day 36 - May 21 (27km)

A male nurse named Aoyama-san was staying at Bekku as well, and we walked together this morning until the foot of the mountain. There he turned aside for some food at a convenience store. From the lodging to the temple gate took me exactly 3 hours and I was there at 9:15. The way down felt longer. Somehow JC had beat me to the top, and he was standing near the gate when I got there. We hiked down together most of the way to the next temple, where he turned off to stop by a Mont-bell.

I visited today’s temples once already last year, and I remembered them. Being alone this time made it less enjoyable.

Tonight I’m in the parking lot of Maegamiji (64). Aoyama-san slid in at 16:45 to finish off the temple just before it closed, but JC was nowhere in sight. His detour must have desynchronized us.

There was an Onsen nearby, so I stopped by there first before settling down. On the way back I talked to a man who had lived in the states for 8 years. He was selling tacos and I’d say they were genuine.

With the sun nearly set, I finally got back to the temple and began to set up my tent. I don’t know how or when it happened, by a part of the single, long pole had broken, rendering the entire thing unusable. It took about an hour, but I fixed it. It required heating up the hooked tip of one of the tent spikes with my burner, bending-and-smashing it off with a rock to great cacophony, then jamming the now-straight stick of metal up the two ends of the pole to hold the connection point together. Thank god for Youtube. Also, good job man, you didn’t give up. You handled it!

Animals: 3 cats, 3 snakes, 1 mamushi.

Osettai: breakfast, water, a place to sleep.

Post-trip Addendum:

I had only slept in that tent 10-15 times, and I already had a pole failure? Not at all what I wanted to happen when the sun was already down and I had no help, but I figured it out.

I didn’t see Aoyama-san again after that. During our walk we had talked about what it meant to be Japanese. Japan has the somewhat rare convergence of language, culture, ethnicity, nationality, and geography being essentially entirely unified. Basically, Japanese-speaking Japonic-asian citizens of the country of Japan upon the Japanese archapelago. Yes there are dialects and yes there is something of differing cultural attitudes between the East and West, and no I haven’t forgotten about the Ainu or the Okinawans, but by and large Japan is “the same” throughout the country. This instills the people with an amusing assumption that everywhere else is like that too: unified and uniform. So the contrast surprised him when I described myself as an English-native, Japan-influenced, European-descent Caucasian citizen of Canada, living in Japan, but also that there are plenty of Canadian who don’t fit that description at all. For the rice-loving Japanese, to the question “So what’s your staple?”, the answer “I don’t have one” nearly doesn’t compute. Honestly it’s probably rice at this point for me anyway.

Original Japanese:

朝は麓の辺りまで青山さんと二人で歩いた。宿から寺の山門までは丁度三時間で9:15に着いた。下りの方は長く掛かった。また上で再会したJCと一緒だった。

夜は前神寺の駐車場。近くに温泉も在って帰りに八年もアメリカに居た男「マイ」にタコスをもらった。

テントを貼ろうとすると、棒が壊れている事に気付いた。一時間位掛かったが修理した。Thank god for Youtube. Also, good job man, you didn’t give up. You handled it!

動物:猫3・蛇3・蝮1

お接待:朝食・水・寝る場所

#japan #henro #buddhism

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