Please start at Day One

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Day 17 - Big Bridge, Wild Dogs.

The business hotel receptionist had quoted me a price for breakfast, but she then quietly recommended the bakery next door. The bakery menu had a photograph of each breakfast which made life simpler for me, I pointed to one, checked there was no meat in it and ordered. I couldn`t understand the five different types of coffee on offer though, I had started to translate the first one and my dictionary came back with "charcoal burning" so I asked the waitress who said "European Style". I chose European Style, the Japanese style might have a raw egg, or some fish in it. My 'Egg Toast Set' breakfast consisted of a scrambled egg in a toast sandwich, miso soup, a salad, a single slice of orange. After that I chose a raisin bun and a banana & chocolate & cream waffle to take as my healthy nutritious lunch.
It was a cold windy day, walking over this bridge was not fun, it is called Usaoohashi, which means "something big bridge". I am not good at heights, I failed miserably as a telephone engineer: I was absolutely petrified everytime I had to climb up a ladder or telegraph pole. This bridge did not have much of a railing or pedestrian footpath and my traditional (but annoying) Henro hat was flapping about in the wind, threatening to take me with it of the side of the bridge. I still get butterflies in my stomach just looking at this photograph.

The Stamp Office at Temple 36 was warm so I stayed inside for a while and chatted with the calligrapher, she gave me "candy", and a lady working with a bus tour came in to the office. She had a pile of books and vests to stamp, for all the group on the tour. She said she recognised me from the stamp office at Temple 20, as I had been loitering and chatting in there too.
I stopped for rest on the way to my ryokan, on a cliff point looking out over the calm Pacific. This was quite an isolated area, but suddenly a dog was standing next to me, then three more, then two cats skulking in the background, I shared some snacks with them and they seemed happy. Hisami-san and Suzuki-san then appeared, but they did not have Oka-san with them. Apparently they had left him behind because he had a 'bad leg'. This conversation was held more in sign-language due to my inadequate Japanese, and so I am still not sure whether he just has a blister, is resting and will catch them up later, or whether he is completely lame and lying in hospital somewhere.

Hisami-san and Suzuki-san were staying at a Ryokan near mine this evening, so we walked together from the cliff point. As we neared the Ryokan, Hisami-san accepted a lift from one of the 'Okaasan' (female Ryokan owner, lit. Mother) who had come out to meet us in her jeep, but Suzuki-san and I walked the last couple of kilometres, he did not talk so much, but chanted while he walked, which was hypnotic.

At the Ryokan this evening I was served fish. Luckily for me (but not for the fish) the head and tail were missing, I did not have to look the fish in the eye, it was just a slice of something that did not appear to be something that used to be alive, so I completely sold out on my vegetarian principles and tucked in. It was very good. I was also served a couple of things in shells, but could not face eating them and had to leave them, I hope did offend the Okaasan by rejecting an expensive delicacy. After I left the dining room, I saw Okaasan sitting in my seat and pulling the dish towards herself.
  • Distance walked today = 27.7k
  • Distance walked so far = 343.9km
  • Temples visited today = Temple 35; Kiyotakiji, Temple 36; Shouryuuji.
  • Koban visited today = nil
  • Accommodation = Ryokan, dinner and breakfast ¥7000.  
  • Expenditure today = Egg Toast Set Breakfast, and raisin roll and banana waffle ¥950, can of milky tea (horrible) ¥120.
  • Settai = sweets from the calligrapher in the stamp office at Temple 36

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