26 April 2008

Days 17 - 19: Country roads & Saintly patrons

Just outside Nakamura city is a little town called Yuzushima, Mutsumi's father's hometown, a tiny hamlet back off the highway in the folds of the mountains. Before I started this journey I asked Mizoho to mark the place on my map and much to my surprise - and to Mutsumi and Mizuho's - it was quite easy to find. All I had to do was ask.

Next time Mizuho visits, he'll likely get an earful about the gainjin henro that visited their village this spring.

While I was reluctant to give up walking, hitchhiking has been an interesting and rewarding experience in itself. Since I last wrote I've been picked up by a young couple out for a day's drive in the countryside, a male nurse, a doctor, a business owner (who after hearing about my leg insisted on driving me directly to the next temple, instead of dropping me off along the way as he first offered), and this morning a mother with a child of 12 in the car who told me when she heard I was from Fukuoka that her 32 year old daughter lives there as well. This daughter herself has 3 children, making this woman both a mother and grandmother at the same time.

The area across I've been hitching is quite large but has few temples. I've visited only 5 since leaving Kubokawa.

The view from Ryukoji, #41

The bell tower at Meisekiji, #43

I met these 2 guys at #42 yesterday and told them about a place in the next town where they could spend the night, have a bath plus dinner and breakfast for only 2000yen (about US$15.00). I learned about it myself from a list of free of cheap places to stay compiled by former henro. The woman below lets out rooms in her house to henro only, perhaps as a religious practice. She didn't say that in so many wiords, but that she served vegetarian meals, offered no alcohol, and makes only enough to cover her costs speaks clearly of her intentions. She is perhaps Shikoku's patron saint for henro.

Time now to clear off for my next stop, the town of Uchiko.

Om namu Daishi henjo kongo.


1 comment:

remy said...

hey Jeff, you keep on the adventure... I hope your leg definetely feels better now. This pilgrim looks really interesting.

Now I am visiting the places where you went when you left Bodhgaya. I've been to Lumbini and Kushinagar, I'm back in Bodhgaya (it's about 40'C but meditation under the bodhi tree is very good) and I'll go to Sarnath afterwards.

There is an article about you on my blog :)

I hope everything will be fine on your way. Good luck :)