Please start at Day One

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Day 6 - Railway Track Safety

For last night's dinner at the Ryokan, all of the other guests had a whole fish; head, eyes tail and all, and I had two lovely big juicy steaks - of tofu! I am one of those very fortunate vegetarians that genuinely adores tofu. I apologised to the Ryokan owner this morning for being vegetarian as it meant more work for her to prepare a separate dish for me, at breakfast this morning everyone else had fish again, but for me she prepared tamago rolls (kind of a rolled up omellete), this was on top of the usual miso soup, rice, seaweed, vegetable, pickles and green tea. The breakfasts are much larger and richer than what I am used to, which is maybe a banana, bagel and coffee, and my body is taking time to adapt to the food - I have had an upset stomach since yesterday midday. After breakfast I strode out briskly and soon overtook some of my fellow Henro who had left the Ryokan earlier than me, however, I had to stop for numerous toilet breaks, and became dehydrated so then had to stop for drinks (I have become addicted to Pocari SWEAT) so I was playing a game of cat-and-mouse with the other walkers. I also used a proper Japanese style toilet for the first time, I didn't have any choice.

My camera packed in yesterday (I have found out that it is only the batteries) so I was not able to take any photos of the scenery as I descended down the mountain road, I tried instead to have a pause occasionally to really take in the view and appreciate it. The only similar place I have been to in terms of scale, is parts of the highlands of Scotland, but this was much more lush and greener - and not so cold. Surprisingly the Shikoku countryside also seems to contain much more man-made 'stuff', I could see electricity cable pylons, man-made river embankments - even on the smallest rivers, and wind turbines; still, that's progress.

After yesterday`s slow progress I had only planned to go about 19km as far as the next temple then stay in a Minshuku (a smaller version of a Ryokan) near the temple. However, I arrived at Temple 13 and had my book stamped by midday, I still had plenty of spring in my step, so I went into the Minshuku to apologise and cancel my booking (stopping briefly to check the vocabulary for "cancellation" on my dictionary before I went in), and I strode on. After another four temples I was on the outskirts of Tokushima city, so decided to take a train into the centre where I would have a better chance of just walking up to a hotel and finding a vacancy. I asked a lady to confirm if I was on the right path the train station, and she changed the direction she was walking in, and said "Follow me", in perfect English. She told me that she had majored in English Literature at University but thought she was not so good at English now. As we approached the station, on a small path through a vegetable patch - I think she was showing me the short-cut - we had to walk right next to the tracks to step up on to the platform and I felt a bit uneasy but she was perfectly calm. She then told me I needed the other platform and said I should just walk across the tracks to get there, I wagged my finger at her, tutted, and said, "Abunai!" meaning 'dangerous', I thanked her for the escort and walked down the platform to the overbridge.

I had bought some new batteries before I reached Temple 13 and had started to take photos again, but when I got to the hotel in the evening and started to flick through them, I realised that I could not differentiate between them at all. Luckily one of my shots included the temple name on a signpost at the front gate, so I attempted to put the other photo's in order from that point.

  • Distance walked today = 26.3km
  • Distance walked so far = 83.6km
  • Temples visited today = Temple 13, Dainichiji; Temple 14, Jourakuji; Temple 15, Kokubunji; Temple 16, Kanonji; Temple 17, Idoji.
  • Koban visited today = nil, but my map says that I should pass one as I walk from the hotel to re-join the pilgrim route tomorrow morning.
  • Accommodation = Stay in Business Hotel, no meals ¥5250, Hotel Asutoria, Tokusima-shi, Tokushima-ken 〒770-0833
  • Expenditure today = 4 bottles of Pocari Sweat ¥600, 5 Temple Stamps ¥1500, rental of a laptop in the hotel room ¥500, evening food ¥856 + can of Asahi Japanese Lager from a vending machine ¥300, it must be so easy for underage people to buy alcohol here.
  • Settai = escort to the train station
昨日の旅館での夕食は、他の客たちは魚を丸ごと 頭、目、しっぽまで全て− だったが、僕は大きくて汁気たっぷりのステーキ二つも戴いた豆腐のね!   


昨日のゆっくりペースを考慮して、僕は次の寺まで19km歩き、近くの民宿に泊まろうと計画していた。しかしながら、お昼頃、第13番目の寺(大日寺)に到着して朱印を押してもらってから、僕はまだ歩く元気が十分あったので、民宿に行って謝って予約を取り消してもらい(「取り消し」する為に、立ち止まって辞書で必要な単語を調べた)、また歩き出した。それから4つの寺を訪ね終わるとそこは徳島市の周辺だったので、電車で中心街まで行き、そこでホテルの空き部屋を探した方がいいと判断した。僕は、通りがかりの女性に電車の駅までの道を確認したところ、彼女は元々行く方向を変えて、完璧な英語でフォロー・ミーと言った。彼女は大学で英語を専攻したのだが、英語力はそんなにないと思っていると話していた。小さな野菜畑の隣の駅に近づくと 女性は僕に近道を教えてくれようとしていたんだと思うが 線路のすぐ隣を歩いてプラットフォームに上がって行かなければならなかったので、僕は少し危なっかしいような気持ちになったが、彼女は全然動揺した様子もなかった。それから彼女は僕に、向こう側のプラットホームに行かなければいけないから、線路を横切って向こうに行けばいいと言ったので、人差し指を横にチッチッと振って、彼女に「危ない!」と言った。僕は彼女に連れてきてもらったお礼を言い、歩道橋を渡って向こうのプラットホームまで行った。
歩いた距離=26.3km 歩いた距離合計=83.6km
接待= 駅までの案内今日の支出= ペットボトルのポカリスエット4本 600円、寺の朱印(5寺分) 1500円、ビジネスホテル(食事無し)5250、ホテルでのパソコンレンタル代 500円、夕食 856 自動販売機で買ったアサヒラガー 300 日本で未成年がアルコールを買うのは簡単だろう。訪れた交番=なし。でも僕の地図によると、明日の朝ホテルを出てから遍路ルートに戻る途中に一つあると書いてある。訪れた寺合計=17訪れた寺= 第十三番 大日寺、第十四番 常楽寺、第十五番 国分寺、第十六番 観音寺、第十七番 井戸寺

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