Please start at Day One

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Day 37 - Wooden Fish, Temple Sketches, Almonds & Fish

 At Temple 82, a Japanese man called Tsuneishi asked me in careful  English how long I had been in Japan, but without thinking I replied in Japanese, he fell about laughing as he was surprised to hear gaijin (a foreigner) speaking Japanese. He was also surprised - as are most Japanese people that I speak to - when I told him that I am Buddhist. I explained that I had been reciting the prayers from an English language guide-book, which he also found hilarious, but that I intended to start reading them from a Japanese book now, in order to practise reading Hiragana quickly. Hiragana is one of the Japanese phonetic alphabets, I think the technical term is a "syllabary".
He used a Mokugyou to lead himself and his two friends when they prayed. A Mokugyou (literal translation = wooden fish) is a small wooden fish-shaped drum used  to strike a rhythm for each syllable. He asked me to join him and his friends in reciting the sutras, which I was happy to do. He kept up a fast pace with the Mokugyou and I was stumbling over the hiragana, but I made a valiant effort.
At Temple 81 I saw Masaoka Shigeru-san who had stayed at the same Ryokan as me two nights ago, he was sketching the temple in a small sketchbook. I met a chap called John in London almost exactly a year ago at a Japanese `arts` festival, he gave a small presentation on the Shikoku Pilgrimage that he had undertaken previously, I was already planning my trip so was very attentive. John showed us his sketch book during the presentation. He had also drawn a picture at each temple rather than taking photos, I thought this was a excellent idea and I had made "learn how to draw" a priority on my list of things to do - which I never got around to doing. I saw Masaoka-san again at Temple 82 and he gave me some chocolate as O Settai; then, as I was leaving Temple 83 I saw him sketching again, and he said if I could wait for 15 minutes he would give me the sketch as O Settai - of course I waited. The photo above is Masaoka-san sketching, while I am patiently waiting. Below, Masaokasan's sketch, and also my photo of the same scene, his sketch is easily a more preferable souvenir of Temple 83 than my photo.

On my blog, I have been writing "Expenditure: ¥1269 for evening snacks and sake etc". My typical snacks here are very different from what I would have eaten back home, but seem quite familiar to me now, This is a typical selection: 
Ume-shu (Japanese plum wine) with plum inside the bottle. 
Packet of Almonds & Fish. 
Green Tea Old Fashioned Doughnut, on the packet it says in English, "Please eat at breakfast and the tea-time. Surely you will be satisfied."

  • Distance walked today =  25.8km
  • Distance walked so far = 756.6km
  • Temples visited today = Temple 81; Shiromineji, Temple 82; Negoroji, Temple 83; Ichinomiyaji.
  • Kouban visited today =  nil
  • Accommodation = Hotel and breakfast ¥7,860, Royal Park Hotel, Takamatsushi, Kagawaken 〒760 0048
  • Expenditure today = three Temple Stamps ¥900, Tempura Udon noodles and bottle of Kirin ¥1600, evening snacks / lunch tomorrow ¥936 , train from Ichinomiya Station near Temple 83 to Takamatsu City for the hotel ¥340, bottle of Vitamin C Lemon drink and bottle of `Amino Vital Body Refresh` drink ¥300.
  • Settai = A female Buddhist Priest, Rev. Bisho Saito, who is leading a bus tour of Henro spoke to me yesterday at Temple 78 - in good English - and I saw her again today at Temple 81, she is Japanese but based in Australia, she gave me ¥1000 for lunch. Masaoka-san, gave me chocolate at Temple 82, and his sketch of Temple 83. A female Henro also stayed at the same Ryokan as Masaoka-san and me two nights ago, has been walking at a similar pace to me and I keep bumping into her, she gave me biscuits at Temple 83.

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