I set off for the mountains this morning with a packed lunch, my pilgrim staff and Blanca. She is a Danish girl who is on Shikoku only for a month and walked with some pilgrims from Temples 1 to 31 and then came to the north to tackle the closing strait. Except, being alone on the mountain trails in the pouring rain with low cloud can be a little daunting so she was pleased to see me preparing to set off and I was pleased to have a new walking partner.
We soon arrived at Lawson convenience store and this one has the distinction of being the “last store until page 81”, according to the map book. In other words we will be in the wilds until tomorrow evening. I bought a large bag of croissants and a small box of chocolate covered almonds. We had a final coffee before leaving civilization behind and heading straight for the hills.
It was the sort of rain which soaks right through you but with new conversation the time flew by and we suddenly arrived at a long flight of steps leading up to Temple 65. What a beautiful temple. For me, the perfect Buddhist temple is in the hills and surrounded by ancient trees and this was it. Blanca lit her candles and incense while I tucked in to the chocolate covered almonds.
Several days ago when I stayed in that most wonderful of lodgings, Mahoroba in Hoji, the other pilgrim was a Japanese man called something like Nobody san. He didn’t say very much but rather strangely we’ve stayed in the same accommodation almost every night since. Finally a couple of days ago he came up to me in a temple with a greeting and now that the ice is broken we are firm friends. He even showed me a short video of his dog rolling around on its back and kicking its legs in the air. It was the Sony v2 pet dog. Nobody is here again tonight so hopefully he’ll show Blanca the clip because she would like a dog and this Sony dog would be ideal for an apartment in Copenhagen.
Tonight’s accommodation is the much sought after Okada inn. We have some Japanese pilgrims staying as well. It’s sought after for its location right at the base of Mt Unpenji, 912m and home of Temple 66. It’s rustic but it has a large washing machine and dryer. All our clothes are now clean and dry and ready for the big one tomorrow morning.
At 6pm we’ll all sit down on the floor to eat whatever the lady of the house prepares for us. I’m hoping for a memorable evening.
Tonight’s accommodation Okada