Please start at Day One

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Day 20 - M&S mini Brolly, Fish 'n' Chips

The rice-balls I bought last night and put in the mini-fridge for today`s breakfast were frozen solid so went in the bin, instead I had a packet of toasted rice-cakes, some peanuts and a coffee. The hotel was next to the train station, and so also next to the bus stop. The bus timetable had changed and it arrived 10 minutes earlier that I expected, but luckily I generally arrive early for everything. I boarded the bus which would take about an hour and a half, and stop virtually outside Temple 38, saving me about two day's walking. I had been in contact with my partner who would be waiting for me in Tokyo once I finished the pilgrimage. I was still absolutely determined to visit all 88 temples and even see a few tourist sights on the way, but I was now balancing this with a desire to spend more time with my partner in her home city, and be introduced to her family for the first time. 

On the bus was a young girl who sat staring at me then giggling and whispering to her mother until eventually she came and sat in front of me and practised her English. She asked my name, and if I can write it in Japanese (which I did), where I am from and where I am going. She told me that she is 13, her name is Kanna and she is on the bus to visit her father who is in hospital. Her English is good, but like my Japanese. I have set questions that I can ask, but I can only understand the answer if the other person keeps to the set 'script'. When I attempted to chat normally to Kanna she gave me a blank look, the same blank look I think I have been practising for the last three weeks.


Temple 38 car park was packed and the temple complex itself was busy, it was a scenic sea-side temple and attracted a load of visitors. I took a couple of photos but did not hang about as I still had a way to walk to my hotel for the evening, and it started to rain. There had been some light rain on my second day of walking, and then snow on my third, but since then it had been clear everyday; bright and sunny on most days. In fact I have not been wearing that hat, or moisturising enough. I have "caught the sun", but I don`t have that healthy glow which comes from a week in the Mediterranean. I have more of the look of a prune-faced Arctic explorer, although I think I look quite dashing and rugged.

Once it had started to rain it did not stop; it merely paused occasionally. The wind was so strong that my wet clothes were blown dry in minutes during each pause. Most of the day`s walking was on coastal roads, being buffeted by wind, but a short stretch of the walk was through a forest. Among the wet trees it was sheltered from the wind and there was a lovely moist earth smell. This was certainly a difficult day, I did not walk particularly far, and it was mainly level ground, but the wind and rain made this quite challenging. Initially I couldn't be bothered with the hassle of getting my poncho out. It would involve stopping (which is difficult enough to do when one is keeping up a good pace) taking off my small bag, then my rucksack, unfolding the poncho, putting on the poncho, putting the rucksack and small bag back on etc. I kept my mini Marks & Spencer umbrella in a convenient easy-access position in my small bag, so I just held up my M&S brolly, supported by the walking staff. Eventually it was completely mangled beyond repair by the gales, I was forced to relent and took out the poncho.

Despite the poncho, I was dripping wet from the neck up and from the thighs down when I arrived at the hotel.  I am starting to thoroughly enjoy simple pleasures, like hot green tea and a hot bath, after a cold wet walk. This was called a hotel, but was like a cross between a business hotel and a ryokan, with the best aspects from each. I was in a large comfortable tatami room with a tea set for green tea, and a yukata to change into, but I also had a TV, a separate balcony area with chairs looking out to sea (similar to the Ryokan I stayed at in Murato on 11\03\2011), but I also had a private toilet and bath - which I could use whenever I wanted, there was a fridge on the balcony - with bottles of beer inside.

When I asked the chef at what time dinner and breakfast were, he asked me what time I preferred to eat at, and even asked what I wanted to eat :-) I was getting a taste for fish by now and so he made me fish, fried in breadcrumbs. I was halfway through this fish with some rice - which is of course standard fare in Japan, but then the chef came back out of the kitchen grinning with a small plate of chips that he had made especially for me, Fish 'n' Chips as a concession to the English traveller abroad. It was good comfort food, and only the second time I have eaten Fish 'n' Chips in the last 17 years.

  • Distance walked today =  23k
  • Distance walked so far = 402.3km
  • Temples visited today = Temple 38; Kongoufukuji.
  • Koban visited today = nil
  • Accommodation = hotel with two meals ¥6700, Hotel Nangoku, Tastukushi, Tosa Shimizu City, Kochi-ken 〒787-0452
  • Expenditure today = bus from Nakamura to Temple 38 ¥1900, one Temple Stamp ¥300, can of coffee and can of lemonade from a vending machine ¥250, bottle of Kirin Japanese Lager from hotel mini-fridge ¥500   
  • Settai = special personal treatment received at the hotel

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