2019

Day 20 – Typhoon No 18

If you struggle to get started in the morning try walking out into Typhoon No 18. Mercifully it is following the same course as No 17, skirting Japan and turning towards Korea. But that still leaves us with two days of driving rain. Somehow Sandrine and I managed 28Km today. We are staying in a ryokan tonight which is still tatami mats and futons but there is some traditional Japanese style about it. Dinner will be served in our rooms and then the futon will be made up. Normally, when we stay in a minshuku, the futon stays in the corner of the room and we have to make it up ourselves. A week or so ago I pulled out the futon to reveal the biggest spider I’ve ever seen.

Last night we stayed in yet another first class minshuku, Micchan. The map book shows it just off the main route but in fact it is in a small fishing village on the coast 150m below. There was a sign outside which said 4.7m above sea level. The elderly lady owner lived alone and her kindness and generosity transformed our stay into one of the endearing memories of this pilgrimage. I wish I could have found out a bit more about her life, how she came to be living in this most remote spot. Perhaps her husband or father was a fisherman? Had she lived in the house all her life?

She hand washed our clothes, cooked us a wonderful dinner of raw and cooked fish and made telephone reservations for our next two nights.

There were two rooms for pilgrims; one on the ground floor and the other upstairs. I thought about it for a moment and choose the upstairs room.

In the morning she kindly drove us back up to the scenic coastal route and there was a fond farewell as the wind and the rain battered us.

We continued on our way. The sports cars and racing motorcycles had gone but the thunder and lightning kept us focused. One more breathtaking view briefly opened up between the trees but the warning in the map book about no food or drink was wrong as a vending machine stood waiting for me. I put a 1000 yen note in and it jumped to attention, lights flashing and ready to serve. I pressed the button for a bottle of Aquarius and the bottle dropped down and my change was dispensed, followed by a cheerful arigatou gozaimasu. It won’t be long before these machines will have face recognition and then we’ll have a more targeted conversation.

A little later we turned a corner to see a large sign saying “coffee” and “open”. In we went. It was a wood turning shop and the owner spoke English, her mother loved coffee and we spent a happy hour with them.

On and on we walked. Lunch in Family Mart convenience store (it has seats so you can eat your purchases). Several road tunnels gave some respite from the weather; one was 996m long. In another tunnel which might have been rather dangerous, workmen were inside replacing broken light bulbs. They had closed one lane which we were able to walk along but then the chief led us past all their equipment and out to safety, waving his flashing wand at all the traffic. I will see if I can buy one in 7Eleven.

Soon afterwards we came to a works depot with a makeshift pilgrim shelter. On the table was a large chilled bottle of Aquarius, some cups and a box of sweets. I suspect a message had been sent from the tunnel to expect us.

It was a day of many kindnesses which make this 88 Temple pilgrimage so special. And there wasn’t even a temple.

In the lovely Micchan minshuku, the owner helps Sandrine make a plan.
Breakfast at Micchan: I am trying to get used to it. (Before)
Breakfast at Micchan (after). Little impact.
Nothing is too much trouble (and we are a lot of trouble)
Fresh coffee. I thought I was dreaming.

I wouldn’t have fancied walking through this tunnel with traffic flowing in both directions. We are led to safety.
A makeshift pilgrim shelter at the tunnel workers depot.
Nope I’m stuck on this

Today’s picture puzzle. What is it?

Our upper class dinner in tonight’s ryokan. Chopsticks at the ready.

19 comments on “Day 20 – Typhoon No 18

  1. Vikki Mclean

    Hello Tim,

    Well done for braving the typhoon. Is there really a tunnel 996km long?

    • Hi Vikki I thought I had corrected that mistake before anyone saw it. Anyway it felt like 996km

      • Vikki Mclean

        So how long was it?

      • 996m. I was going to say 1km but why be vague when you can be precise.

  2. Enjoying your blog posts every morning with my coffee! It is a lovely way to start my day.

    • Hi Jane. I’m delighted to hear it. But tomorrow skip the coffee and take miso soup instead. You’ll know what I’m going through…

  3. Tassie Kaz

    Wow… Tim, your best entry yet. Wonderfully descriptive, beautifully written still in your understated way but conveys a day clearly special you. The photos are just a bonus.
    I know the stage you describe (including the chemical manufacturing plant!) but you took me right back there…thank you. 😊
    Gambatte

  4. Tassie Kaz

    From what I could understand (relying on Google Translate) as told by the owner of my accommodation that night, the plant produces fillers which are a component of plastics.
    It was an ugly facility & such a contrast to its surroundings (rice paddies & lush, subtropical vegetation) but there was no odour when I passed.
    A big employer in the area & important with a dwindling fishing industry.

  5. Tassie Kaz

    Re: the sign.
    The first line says ‘here’.
    Don’t know the second line but the bottom two lines are saying ‘don’t go’ or ‘must not go’.
    You don’t mention being arrested or fined so I guess you heeded the warning…even if by accident! 🤭 😄

  6. What a great post. Glad it wasn’t me that spotted the spider!! I would have run a mile. Food looks amazing.

  7. It’s a steel works Tim.

    • Tassie Kaz

      Ah ha…thanks Mike! 🙂 I suspected there was confusion about the plant when I queried it. I Googled it at the time; there is a filler factory in the area so I assumed my host was right…but apparently which facility I asking about got lost in translation!

  8. Tim, thanks for the wonderful trip through pictures and words…I am envious of your photography and creative writing so now will have to go to confession. I hope to see the Primitivo with the same sort of vision you demonstrate each day.
    dave

    • Hi David I hear the Primitivo is a wonderful pilgrimage and I’m sure it will inspire you. I’m a lot envious, do let me know how you get on. Tim

  9. Vicky Williamson

    Kia ora Tim. I’m a New Zealander & walked the VF in 2016 and belong to the CPR (great association). Mary alerted me about your blogs. I’m planning to walk this trail beginning in March, 2020. I have loved reading your posts and they make me long to get going. I’ve noted your observations, accommodation comments, great pics etc. as preparation for me. Ki o tsukete, gambatte.

    • Hi Vicky, welcome. It’s great to hear from you. You will love this Shikoku pilgrimage and I think the spring will be the best time to walk it. No typhoons. I may write some odd things but you can ignore them and come to Shikoku with an open heart and be fulfilled with centuries of tradition and love which is the great pilgrimage to the 88 sacred places of Kukai

  10. David Rose

    Belatedly … the sign says (semi-literally): Here dangerousfrom do not enter.

    • Yes but I don’t think it means what it says. It sounds to me more like a proverb.

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