If you’re used to paying for your cappuccino with a slight flick of your Apple Watch you’ll struggle in Japan. Forget about Apple Pay or even your contactless credit card. This is the land of cash. Every night I peel off 7000 yen notes for my beer, board and lodgings and every 3 or 4 days I take 30,000 yen from the ATM in a convenience store.
Except yesterday. The ATM was not in a Settai mood. “Card declined – contact issuer”. Same thing today. I always carry a little emergency stash of cash and several ATM cards so I wasn’t too worried and the problem turned out to be a group of ATMs which didn’t accept foreign cards despite their English instructions.
Today I walked another 31 Km down the coast of the south west peninsula and tomorrow I’ll reach the very tip and Temple 38. I mostly followed the road but it was peaceful enough for Shikoku nature to intrude. Butterflies are everywhere. Giant juicy colourful butterflies. I wish I still had my Sony camera but I buried it with full pilgrim honours after it died in the first typhoon. Now I’m stuck with my iPhone and its old fashioned 4×3 sensor. Come on Apple, it’s a wide screen world.
Fortunately I had a very patient butterfly which didn’t seem to mind being almost squashed by an iPhone. Everywhere nature is on your doorstep. The birds in the woods make the most outrageous sounds as you walk along. Giant centipedes hide in the leaf litter and dragonflies are always fluttering about whenever there is water. And you soon become immune to the graceful herons, egrets and huge birds of prey hanging above you. I have passed several whale museums and whale watching points.
The Japanese have a very long and close association with whales. The wild boar is almost mystical here but the population is expanding and it’s being hunted. I hate to see the traps in the woods but I would also not want to see a wild boar either.
There was another long tunnel today, the Shin-izuta at 1.6Km. I generally love them, providing there’s somewhere safe to walk. It’s a break from the sun and easy walking. But if you prefer the open air, there is a path straight up and over the hill.
After some early shocks the accommodation has been really good. Tonight it is the Camellia Lodge. The owners are beach loving carefree people who only charge 3000 yen including a curry dinner and breakfast. I get a bed in a nice modern single room. I declined the breakfast but he produced a bag of croissants from the Lawson store opposite so I graciously accepted.
Tomorrow is another milestone, Cape Ashizuri, the most southerly tip of Shikoku. I may stay a couple of days if it looks fun. Or I might push on. Time is not of the essence.