Saturday, 5 April 2014

Temple 34-Tanemaji & Temple 35-Kiyotakiji

Supper last night was good with sashimi, a cooker pot with different vegetables that were cooked while you ate all of the other pickles, tempura, rice, noodle soup plus other items that are hard to explain. They provided a small brown square of some jello for dessert. Not sure what the flavor was but it was tasty.
Forgot to mention yesterday I came across this old man pushing his walker down the road very slowly. So I stopped and gave him a small Canadian pin and said osettai. Not sure what he said but he reminded me of my dad, how he had to use a walker at the final stages of Parkinson's disease. It was a wonder this little old man, going ever so slow, on this narrow road, doesn't get hit by a car. I put the pin on his seat. I thought about doing this walk in memory of my dad.
A little later, I came across a little old lady as well, walking ever so slowly, with her walker, and gave her a pin. After all it is only fair. I figure when the pins are gone, they are gone.
The onsen bath was on the third floor of the hotel and overlooks the water. So nice to relax in the hot bath and soak my sore muscles last night. I checked my feet and looks like another blister close to the other one. Must be something with my hiking boot. Mind you, I didn't feel it til I was checking my feet in the hot onsen pool.
While I was having supper, the maid came in the room, and made my futon bed. Starting to get use to watching Japanese TV and trying to figure out the weather. I should have taken more weather lessons from Masa, while I had my chance in Canada.
Breakfast was at 6:45 am and had the choice of toast and jam for a change. There was a beautiful sunrise, which I tried to capture, with the mist in the hills but not the best pictures. So I included two below, since can't seem to be able to delete one.
Headed out for temple 34. When I arrived I met these two Japanese ohenros, who I had meals with at temple 26 accommodations. It was like old home week. They could speak a little English, so we chatted a bit. They said they still have their blisters on their feet and lots of bandages. The third picture is of temple 34.
I then headed for temple 35 leading the way, looking back ever so discretely, to see if they were following. I had the sense that one was having foot pain, as he walked with a limp.
After about an hour, there were markers leading up an embankment, with three possible ways to go. A Japanese man tried to tell me to walk on the big road, but it didn't seem the right direction. I waited for my two Japanese fellow ohenros to catch up and they pointed to the highway. I guess that is what the sign said in Japanese below that he pointed to. Sure enough up by the road was more markers. The road took us over a large river. We continued our way helping each other find the markers. At this point I didn't care if we got lost. At least  I was with fellow Japanese ohenros, who could easily ask for directions.
Again Kukai blessed us with a 200 meter mountain to climb to get to temple 35. I grunted Kukai must have loved mountains and the other ohenros understood my English enough to laugh.
It was nice to walk thru the rice fields and other vegetable gardens. Sometimes they tried to figure out the English word of what the vegetable was but no luck. One time I asked if it was onions. They said no. After about a minute one said garlic. The other agreed  in delight. I said very good English and they laughed. Yes, we needed some laugher to keep slugging along.
Finally, a bend in the steep hill path and there was the gate with the Un-gyo and A-gyo statues to greet us, along with about another 200 steps mind you, which is what it felt like to climb. Finally, we made it. There is a huge Buddha statue where you went down these narrow steps in the dark. No way to know where you were going. You just had to feel the sides and see where the next step was. Then the steps went up and around the bend where all of sudden there was this small alter of Kukai sitting in his chair which is on the osame-fuda nameslips. Then there were steps leading down. I am glad I had the time to explore it.
It is Sunday, so lots of people at the temple and bus tours. The fourth picture is of temple 35 and the huge Buddha statue I went inside in the dark with the Buddha Hall on the right and Kobo Daishi Hall on the left.
I took a nice break in a building where there are two tatami rooms where ohenros can sleep in a pinch overnight I think.. As well, a small kitchen and table. I must mention to Dara this looks like one of the temples with free accommodations where you need your own sleeping bag. There was a small altar in the building as well. I was able to use the building to rest, work on typing my blog and documenting my pictures, which I try to do each night.
There was a wonderful view from the temple of Tosa City. On the way up we walked thru rice fields waiting to be planted. I am amazed how the Japanese do such an excellent job of setting up the irrigation system to control how the water flow, so the rice fields are all covered with water. It looks so efficient on controlling how the water flows. Just like at the Bodhi Zen Centre where by just adding or removing a board you control where you want the water to flow.
As well, on the way to the temple we past a building  in the rice fields with six cats either sleeping or walking around. I commented on all the cats. Later on the way there was a Japanese sign in red and asked if it said the henro way. They laughed and said it says "do not feed the cats".
I was able to find the Business Hotel in Tosa OK. Since I was early, I decided to check out the Family Mart, which is only two blocks away, to see what kind of bento boxes they had for supper. Next to it was as a supermarket. I enjoyed just walking around. All the produce looked really fresh. I looked for my green tea matcha candies I brought earlier and couldn't find any. However I found green tea kitcat bars. Interesting to see the kids come up and say hello in English. I had one Japanese girl follow me around the 100 yen (dollar) section. Enjoyed spending the extra time while waiting til 3 pm check-in just exploring the stores. 
All in all, again a good day. While at temple 35 they had my hot royal milk tea for only 100 yen, which I enjoyed while resting after the climb. I noticed in the grocery store they also have it in the 1.5 liter size.  WOW.

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