Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Temple 27 - Konomineji

Just checked the Route Guide and see temple 27 is a 632 meter climb. Definitely will be a hip flexor day. The plan is to drop my day pack at the minshuku I am staying at the bottom of the mountain. Then walk up and back down the mountain.
Breakfast was at 6:30 with the same group as last night. I noticed a cat outside the sliding patio door looking for food. I had some leftover fish and the skin, which if I was home would be for Hanako and Chibi. So I waited until everyone was leaving and wrapped it in a napkin and open the door and gave it to the cat. I was hoping I wouldn't get in trouble. Instead a bunch of the Japanese from the bus tour group came over with big smiles on their faces. I can only assume it met with approval, this gaigen was taking the time to feed the cat, instead of rushing off to start walking.
The walk down the mountain was a nice walk thru the forest. One had to be careful because it was steep and rocky and one can easily tumble.
I was able to catch the train and one ohenro gave me a bottle of ice tea as osettai. We took the train together. I was able to find the minshuku OK, I think. The phone number on the sign matched. When I rang the buzzer and opened the door saying the Japanese "excuse me", no one answered. I saw another day pack sitting there so took a piece of paper and wrote my name and I will be back around 3 pm. I used my phone to translate it to Japanese and tried to write the kanji version (not too good mind you). I figured it will either be there when I come back or gone. Who knows. It didn't have anything valuable in it. Just some clothes. If it is not there I might have to survive as Kukai did with just the clothes on his back. 
Needless to say, the hike up to the temple was a killer. I had to stop a few times. There was one rest stop with the most beautiful sakura (cherry blossoms). When the wind blew the flower petals would come pouring down like a snow storm in Ottawa. Mind you, I like the sakura snow better.
There were so many trees in blossom. A nice bright red one, like a hibiscus, but a tree. Beautiful pink and peach. A wonderful time to be in Japan. So glad I was able to get the time off work. Thanks to Kirsten for letting me take such a long vacation; and Linda and Ian for holding down the fort.
The temple was amazing and lots of steps to get to each of the Halls. At the parking area there was a small restaurant and gift shop. My friend who gave me the green tea osettai was there with a noodle bowl. I showed him the empty bottle and said arigato. I got up the nerve to order udon. Not sure what kind, but it came full of vegetables. Not sure what all the vegetables were, but they were all tasty. 
This woman came over and started to chat in some English. I said I could speak little Japanese and she said she could speak little English and asked to join me.
I gave her a Canadian pin, maple syrup candy and my name slip. She gave me one of hers with the heart sutra on the back and a colour picture of Kukai walking which I liked. She said you can buy at temple 29. I noticed the vending machine had my hot royal milk tea, so since I was finished my udon, I bid my farewell and paid for my udon. I was going to enjoy my tea under the beautiful sakura at a rest stop about a third of the way down the mountain. 
As I was sitting at this beautiful spot, she drove by and stopped and gave me this nice key chain as osettai. I thanked her. She asked if I wanted a drive down the hill and I said I was too early to check in at the minshuku, so wanted to just sit and admire the beauty. She bid her farewell. 
About 15 minutes later this Dutch woman came hiking up the hill huffing and puffing with this huge backpack. She spoke English, so we spent about 45 minutes talking about our pilgrimage. She is traveling with a friend who is a fast walker. Since she is a slower walker she uses train and bus and they meet up at an agreed spots. They were doing the camping option. I said you are brave souls with all this rain. They will be in Japan til May 30th, so have lots of time. I said I noticed at temple 27 looked like a building they could sleep in. She said they have their tent they use. I said I am staying mainly at minshuku.
After exchanging nameslips (osame-fuda) I gave her the cow Canadian pin Debbie gave me as the dutch have lots of dairy cows. She said it was very suiting. We said our farewells and I continue my walk.
After a bit, a car stopped and said in English "where are you from". Since they were a Japanese couple I said Canada. They said where in Canada. I said Ottawa. They said they were from Toronto, have rented a car and doing the 88 temple by car. Just then another car was coming so they had to leave and get out of the way before we could exchange more information. Maybe I will run into them tomorrow. My mind thought maybe I can hitch a ride with them, instead of this gruelling walking.
Then I met the other Dutch girl walking. I said I had a long chat with her friend and she will be waiting at the top. Small world it has become.
Here are some of the pictures I took. 
Picture 1: I think is a tsunami evacuation point close to where I am staying. It had markings in meters and has the tsunami sign I have been seeing along the way. Thanks Kaz and Masa for warning me of a possible tsumani. The building shows meter markings and it goes to 13.8 meters.
Picture 2: is my sakura resting spot where I met the Dutch lady.
Picture 3: temple  Fudo Myoo statue looking very fierce. In the right hand is a jeweled sword used to destroy delusions and evil desires; and in the left hand, a rope used to discipline restless minds. They have a fiery expression believed to scare away evil.
Picture 4 main Buddha Hall
Picture 5 Bell tower, stamp office and monks residence.
Before checking in I noticed a small shop close to the minshuku. I went to check it out and found this book I was looking for to put in the temple diety slip they give you. I asked her for a box so I could mail it to Kaz instead of carrying it. I had some other stuff I wanted to mail to get rid of the weight.
I checked in and my bag was still there. Whew, I have a change of clothes. I was shown my room and told I could use the bath since only one other set of shoes were evident. Just as I headed to the bath two women arrived and were asking when they could use the bath. The big thing is to have a bath before supper.
After my bath, which was short, because I knew there were people waiting, I packaged up the box and headed to the shop to ship it. It was interesting trying to covert my English version of Kaz's address to Japanese format. Time will tell if he gets it OK.
The minshuku is full and lots of phone calls, which appears to be people looking for a place to stay. Just glad I booked ahead of time.
It is going to be an early morning tomorrow as I have about 25 km to walk.

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