After a nice soak in the onsen ofuro (bath) last night, I woke bright and early as lights out was at 9 pm.
I enjoyed the morning temple service. Because Temple 75 is the birth place of Kobo Daishi, there are many students studying to be monks. At the morning service there were about 15 monks chanting. Afterwards you got to go under the temple where there is a pitch black passageway and you put your left hand on the wall and felt your way along. Then you came to a dimly lit alcove with a statue, then back into the darkness until the exit. In a strange way I wondered if this is what death was like.
At breakfast I asked the 79 year old ohenro his name using good old Google Translator. When all else fails get out Google translator. He wrote down his name as Kazushi in English. So from now on I will call him Kazushi. As I left breakfast, I gave the serving lady a pin as I said “goshesosamadishda”. I could see Kazushi sign he had one too.
Today was a wet and cold day. It was like a cold front set in again. So I decided to take it easy and take trains again. I had to dress in all my layers and the wind was still cold. Can’t complain as I just had a nice bunch of walking days.
At Temple 77, there is a place that sells statues. I showed them the small jizo statue I liked ( that I would like to bring back for the backyard garden). When the lady got the man, I think he said 10 million yen, which is either 1000 or 10,000 dollars. Not quite sure, so declined. The lady showed me a smaller one for 100,000 yen, but I said too heavy to carry.
I then caught the train to the next temple. As I was walking back to the station, I ran into Kazushi, and he offered a high five and a big smile. I told him I left my daypack in a locker in the station and was heading back to pick it up and take train to next temple.
As I got off the train to the last temple who did I run into but the Japanese ohenro who loves to chat but my Japanese not good. We walked to Temple 79 together. When we got to the temple and were washing our hands, she wanted something from her pack. First I thought tissue to dry hands, and she said no. Finally she pointed to unzip her day pack, which I didn’t want to do. So I took a leap of faith and when I unzipped it there was her stamp book. I pulled out the bag and she gave out a sign of glee. It was what she wanted and she didn’t want to take off her rain poncho to get the pack off since it was still raining. I found out later her name is Udasheba.
Here is her picture:
After getting our stamp book signed at the temple office, she wanted to go get something to eat, however, I said I had to catch the train to pick up my daypack and go to hotel. Since I was early for check-in I found a nice bakery with a sit in to eat so decided to stay there for an hour before check in. It was a cold day, so enjoyed having a warm place to sit.
What would be a pilgrimage with out some unexpected adventure. Little did I know I was in for a change in plans. As I was about to leave to check in my hotel, who appears but Udasheba. She chatted for a bit and she offered to share her banana. I tried to figure where she was staying and showed her my hotel in the Route Guide book. Before I knew it she said let’s go. As I followed there was a shuttle bus and she gestured for me to get in. I showed my hotel to make sure he was going to my hotel and everyone said yes.
Then I was asked if I could speak English to a woman to tell here to take the shuttle. When I spoke to her she was from Montreal and was supposed to stay at Temple 81. We figured it was the hotel in the mountain next to Temple 81. However, I wasn’t staying at that hotel and I would be dropped off at my hotel in the city. Well before I knew it we were in the mountain on the way to Temple 81. I knew something wasn’t right but would ask the shuttle to just take me back to the station.
The shuttle stopped at Temple 81 and was told we get our book stamped. So I left my day pack on the shuttle bus. One guy on the bus could speak some English so explained I needed to go back to the station. However, when we came out of the temple the shuttle bus with my daypack was gone. Panic struck as where was my daypack. I found out later the plan was to walk from Temple 81 to the hotel. When we got there, my bag was waiting in the lobby. After some discussion, it was decided I could stay there after the hotel clerk called the other hotel to cancel. At the end it was a bonus, because I would now be able to stay two nights (as I was booked to stay there tomorrow night anyway). Instead I will do Temple 82 and back tomorrow night and then down to Temple 80 the next day. This way no big climb. Kind of like a rest day. Sounds confusing, I know, but actually things worked out for the best at the end. I figure the moral of the story is to not to panic and things have a way of working their way out.
Since it was raining, I didn’t take many pictures. There was an interesting picture with a wonderful thought of the day.
There was a nice display of ohenro statues at temple 77.
The ohenro from Montreal is Marie Claude. Here is a picture with Udasheba.
All I can say, what a day………and the Sakura is still beautiful even though it was raining.