Thursday, 3 April 2014

Temple 28-Dainichiji; Temple 29-Kokibunji; Temple 30-Zenrakuji

Breakfast was at 6 am for an early start.
Woke up a couple of times last night because of the heavy rain. Thought, I hope it stops before I have to leave at 6:30 am. Was very hard to open the sliding door quietly and walking down the hall to go pee during the night without making too much noise. Didn't have to worry about this at the Business Hotel I stayed at, as I had my own toilet and sink instead of sharing one. Oh well, when you have to go, you have to go.
The day started off cool and a mix of sun an cloud. On the way to the train station I saw a few tsunami evacuation signs and took note of the direction I should go just in case.
Was able to catch the 6:40 train for the 30 KM trip. Met another ohenro who gave me osettai snacks on the train. When I got off the train there were these black clouds in the distance and a very cold wind. It was hard to keep my hat on. I need to get some proper rope and set up my hat strap properly. Just as I thought things were going well, it started to rain. So I found a little building overhang to put on my raincoat and rain cover, for my pack. Well, it rained harder and my pants were getting wet. I found an ohenro shelter, where I was able to change to my rain pants. Just as I headed out the sun came out. Kukai is testing me, I thought. Then it rained while the sun shone, and the wind was crazy. I know now why the Japanese homes have metal shutters they can pull down, as many had them down due to the heavy wind. Wonder what typhoon season must be like.
What a job to keep my hat on. I need to buy the proper rope and tie in ohenro style I read in David Moreton's book.
With all the rain I didn't take many pictures for the blog. As I was leaving temple 28 I met a guy from Taiwan who spoke excellent English. He was cycling the route. We didn't chat long. Then on the way to temple 29, I was at a bridge looking at my route guide, to make sure I was going the right way, as I hadn't seen any signs. The Taiwan bike guy stopped and reassured I was going the right way. He is going to try and do it in 14 days by cycling. He said it was something on his bucket list. I said me too. 
Then disaster struck. As I was walking, following the markers, there was some construction and I took a right turn, thinking I was somewhere else. After going about 3 km off track, I realized I was lost and had this gut wrenching "I'm lost" feeling. Then the wind blew off my hat, across this busy four lane highway, almost into the rice fields full of water and mud. I wondered how much worst could it be, and was ready to quit. Darting across busy traffic, trying to rescue my hat, the locals must have thought "crazy gaigen" (foreigner). I decided to walk back the 3 km to the last sign I saw. I figured there was only one other way and sure enough I started to see the markers again when I went the other way. I came across a big bus depot and could see the Esso gas station sign, as there was a petro station indicated on the map. I figured if there was a river after that, which was shown on the map, I was back on track for sure. I was looking over the vending machines for my royal milk tea (which I really needed something to drink after being lost and upset with myself), when this car stopped looking for directions. I thought, what, me give directions, after just being lost. Are you kidding. I showed my English map and the gas station sign and petro station marking on the map. I said over the river and turn left. Well of course, they didn't understand a word and went to ask a phone installer who got his GPS going and couldn't find it either. I kept pointing straight ahead. I should have offered to be their tour guide and asked for a ride. Now that would have been a hoot, the blind leading the blind.
After a few detours through some rice fields I arrived at temple 29. Finally. 
I saw my lost driving ohenros, who just finished getting their books stamped and said to them "you made it OK". They smiled.
I took my time doing the temple routine and rested, while enjoying my royal milk tea. I would have liked it hot, but the vending machine only had cold, grande size. The next best thing to Tim Horton's steep tea I can find in Japan.
I stopped at the shop outside temple 29 and picked up some nice osame-fuda nameslips, the lady from temple 27 (yesterday) told me about.
The walk to temple 30 was thru these rice fields with freshly planted rice seedlings. At one point it looked like a dead end and I said "oh shit" am I lost again. Just as I would get to the end there was a 90 degree bend and I could keep going as there were no markers. My salamanders were croaking up a storm, as usual. At least they were enjoying the rain and trying to keep me sane.
I made it to temple 30 OK. The wind was still bitter cold and it kept spitting rain. Enough to keep you on your toes. Below is a picture of the temple 30 Buddha Hall on right and Kukai Hall on left.
I headed off to find what I thought was a minshuku Masa had booked for me. By looking at the map it looked like it was in the middle of a park. I thought a small minshuku. Well, when I got to what I thought was a park turned out to be an amusement park. I thought I don't see any lodging but when I went into this place, which I thought was an office building, to get directions, I was told this was it. A five star hotel. I was in heaven. I checked in and the room was excellent with north american bed, nice bathroom to myself. All for about $52 CAD. What a nice ending to the day.
I had a nice bath, washed my clothes and ate the bento box I brought along the way at a big supermarket like Loblaws. I was able to find the rope to better fix the strap on my hat at the shop outside temple 29. 
What will tomorrow bring? The good thing is the hotel has free WiFi, so I can check the news back home.

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