I ordered chicken for dinner last night but it turned out to be chicken sashimi. I sent it straight back asking for it to be cooked but the chef refused and sent me some pork dumplings instead. But all was well because I bought a banana in the convenience store.
I had to take a train and taxi back to Temple 9 this morning to continue the walk. The taxi dropped me right outside the temple so I went in to say my prayers. I’ve made up a short prayer to KD “please no blisters on this one”.
It was just 4Km to Temple 10. The temples seem to be flying by but there will be days with few or no temples, you will be pleased to hear.
Temple 10 is another beauty. It’s high in the hills and approached by hundreds of steps through the woods. I tried counting them but lost track, saying konnichiwa to pilgrims coming the other way.
It’s still very hot and humid, 32 degrees today. There are no cafes or bars but plenty of vending machines selling energy drinks. Lunch was an apple cake. I declined the option of a large bag of dried sardines but who knows, it may come to that. I’m walking through rice paddies. They are dry and the mosquitoes have moved on.
I ate my apple pie on a bench provided by some kind person. I wasn’t alone. Next to me was a beautiful mannequin who probably graced some fashionable boutique on the King’s Road in the 1960s. But now she just sat there staring out across the fields as if the trip hadn’t quite worn off. We had a good chat though.
As I walked, I could see mountains looming ahead of me. Tomorrow is mountain climbing day. I started reeling in a little white spot in the distance which turned out to be a Danish pilgrim, Christina. We walked the rest of the way to No 11 and then she departed for her flight back to her job in Tokyo. But not before she showed me how to take a selfie.
This is my first night in a ryokan, a Japanese inn. I have my own room and they provide dinner and breakfast. Plenty of food but I wish I’d packed some cereal bars.
About the temple stamp:
A Temple stamp like the one you saw yesterday is given at every temple in exchange for a donation of 300 yen, about £3. The book is called Nokyocho and the paper is handmade Washi. The 3 red stamps are Temple name, number and the Temple deity. The calligraphy is the following: a Sanskrit character for the Temple Deity, the Temple name, the Temple Deity and a respectful offering or dedication to the Deity. It will be a lasting souvenir of the pilgrimage and it’s very satisfying watching the process. I’ve been tempted to take a calligraphy evening course for some time and now I’m even more tempted.