2019-04-25: Kobo Daishi comes to Canada

I am happy to report that my Kobo Daishi walking stick arrived safely in Canada along with my box of Japanese sovenirs. I was surprised to find a tag added by the Tokushima ANA check-in agent with the following picture and note:

When flying back to Canada you arrive earlier than you leave Japan because of crossing the international date line. I like to say you get to relive part of your life over again.

When I arrived in Toronto earlier than I left Japan, the customs procedure is my luggage (my box of Japanese souvenirs) and Kobo Daishi walking stick didn’t have to be picked up and cleared thru customs in Toronto but would be shipped right thru to Ottawa.

Since I arranged to have a scroll made of the temple Buddha slips, I declared it as unaccompanied goods to be received later. This meant customs had to fill out a form, so when customs and duties are charged when it is delivered to Canada, I can apply to get a refund as part of my personal excemption of my trip.

The fun part was trying to get the customs officer to understand what a Japanese scroll was or to understand the word “scroll”, even though I had a picture from the company brochure in Japan. She asked to see the slips that I was getting mounted on to the scroll. Thankfully I had some extra ones ( since in some cases I received two) to show her. She wanted to know what the image was and I explained the temple Buddha enshined at the temple.

I explained I was also bringing a walking stick, which I explained was allowed per the customs regulations. I was happy to see it appear in Ottawa with a “Cleared Customs” tag on it.

It was nice to see the snow gone in Ottawa, the grass turning green and the tulip leaves starting to appear.

Now, it is just to deal with the jet lag. Instead of trying to make it through an afternoon at work, falling asleep at my desk, I decided to extend my vacation two more days, so combined with the weekend I would have 4 days to recuperate from the jet lag.

I was glad because at 9 am (which would be 9 pm in Japan) I finally crashed and was able to sleep until 1 pm after almost 2 days with little sleep.

Reflecting on my ohenro experience, I thank Kobo Daishi and all the wonderful people from around the world I met to make this another wonderful and memorable journey. I count my blessings and all the kindness I received from so many people and new friends I met along the way.

Time to adjust back to my routine and plan for my next journey.

Thanks everyone for following my blog and for your support/ comments. This will probably be my last entry for this ohenro journey. Arigato and a big THANKS.

2 thoughts on “2019-04-25: Kobo Daishi comes to Canada

  1. Dear O-Henro Arnold,
    The best part of this blog was that you ended it with expectations for the next pilgrimage to Japan. How could it be any other way? The note on your Kōbō Daishi walking stick was a very kind and thoughtful act. It’s nice the recognition it received. I could just imagine the Canadian custom agent thoughts as you’re explaining Temple Buddha slips. I’m glad to learn you’ll use it to make at scroll. Mine are neatly tucked into a Temple Album book with personal prayer slips added to the corresponding Temple where it was received. Your slip has its proper home in the album. R&R…rest and reflection. The conclusion of your blog makes me feel like my Shikoku journey has had two endings. Thanks for all your kindness to others. Finally, did you manage to bring a bag of crisp sweetened ginger slices home? Kindest regards, ~linda-san


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