Please start at Day One

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Day 22 - Posh Laundry, Temple Etiquette

My right ankle joint had been sore for a few days, and I was limping on Day 20, so gave myself a short walk yesterday. Only 15km, but a painful 15km. I planned another fairly short walk today, just 22km to Temple 40, with a short break at one of the Henro Rest Stations, and I planned to stay at the Shukubou - Temple Lodgings. However, my ankle pain had completely disappeared today, maybe it just needed an easy day like yesterday to rest. So I arrived at Temple 40 before 2pm today, much earlier than expected and decided to go on a bit further. I spoke to the man at the Temple Stamp Office, which was inside the main hall, I apologised for cancelling the accommodation, but he was very helpful and gave me a map of  Uwajima City - where I was planning to get a bus to - and marked a couple of hotels on the map that were near the bus station, he also gave me a bundle of leaflets with information on all the temples in the last two prefectures Ehime and Kagawa.

I caught a bus to Uwajima City and found a posh hotel to stay in. I needed to do some laundry today, but this hotel was far too posh for one of the convenient "coin laundries" that I had been using so far. Instead it had a personal laundry service, but each item of clothing was individually priced: socks ¥210, underpants ¥262, undershirt ¥262 etc, I did some quick mental arithmatics then resorted to hand-washing my socks and pants in the basin, I will dry them with the hair-dryer later.

This is a 休憩所 Kyuu Kei Sho between temples 39 and 40, it is a Henro Rest Hut, for walking pilgrims to rest and answer the call of nature etc. I visited just one temple today, Temple 40, and I have settled into something of a routine. The booklets that the attendant at Temple 40 gave me, show a recommended etiquette to follow at each temple, in brief:
Step 1 - bow at the main entrance gate
Step 2 - go the water basin and wash
Step 3 - ring the temple bell
Step 4 - light a candle and incense
Step 5 - go to the temple`s main hall and pray - there are various recommended prayers and sutras to read
Step 6 - go to the temple`s Daishi hall and repeat Step 5
Step 7 - go the Stamp Office to stamp your book

I have been following Steps 1 to 4 as these are not too dissimilar from the routine that I have been following for years in the UK before beginning to practise meditation or chanting. For Steps 5 and 6 I am replacing the sutras and prayers with my own practise, which has been to meditate silently for a short while, either one of the meditation practices I have been taught at the Western Buddhist Order centres, or simply to take time to `connect` with myself, my thoughts feelings and emotions. I feel uncomfortable with the Japanese prayers, they are too unfamiliar.

I then proceed to Step 7. The temple stamps are only ¥300 each, but when you multiply this by 88 temples it comes to ¥26,400 and add to that the ¥3,000 I paid for the Noukyouchou (stamp book) at Temple 1, and that is ¥29,400 which is about £237 UK Sterling. This makes it quite a valuable book simply in monetary terms, in other terms it will be priceless when it is complete. One cannot bypass the pilgrimage and simply buy a complete book of stamps. A buddhist priest warned Rex, Rachael (how are those guys?) to keep an eye on our Noukyouchou (stamp-book) near the end of the pilgrimage, as they would gradually become more valuable, and more likely to be stolen. Surely there aren't any thieves in Japan?
  • Distance walked today =  22.1km
  • Distance walked so far = 439.4km
  • Temples visited today = Temple 40; Kanjizaiji.
  • Koban visited today = nil.  When I first received contact from the President of the Japan Section of the International Police Association he asked for my detailed itinerary so that he could organise meetings, but I was not able to supply any detail at all. Because I need to stay flexible to allow for slow painful walking, or brisk trots like today I simply don`t have any itinerary extending more than an a day at a time. Therefore I have not been able to organise any arranged meetings with Japanese Police, my original plan was to buy two stamp books, one for the temples, and another for the Koban, but I decided against this. I have chatted with police from Tokushima and Kochi Prefectures so far, and had my picture taken with them, I have two more prefectures to walk through, so I will try to stop in at least one Koban in each prefecture but, as already mentioned, I feel that all the authorities are understandably busy at the moment given the current situation in Japan.
  • Accommodation = posh hotel ¥8407 (which includes a big Japanese style breakfast for ¥900), Hotel Clement, Uwajima City, Ehime-ken 〒798-0034
  • Expenditure today = can of coffee ¥100, bottle of Pocari Sweat ¥150, one temple stamp ¥300, bus from Temple 40 to Uwajima City ¥1350,  food for evening and snacks/lunch etc ¥1775   .
  • Settai = use of one of the Henro Rest Stations (picture above), assistance from calligrapher in Temple 40 Stamp Office

1 comment:

  1. こんにちはHenro。 私は旅行の残り〔差〕のためにあなたが元気であることを願うと言って、あなたにあなたのウェブログを楽しんでいることを知らせることを望んでいました。 私が精神であなたと一緒にもいる 私が 妻が昨日車を持っていたので、店に1マイルの4分の1以上で歩かなければならなかった時 である 非常に あなたとのempathetic 今回。 同様にはがきに感謝します。 あなたを愛していてください!