Sunday, 13 April 2014

Temple 52-Taisanji; Temple 53-Enmyoji; Temple 54-Enmeiji; Temple 55-Nankobo; Temple 56-Taisanji

Well my stay last night at the Gen Guesthouse was interesting. It was a dorm type room with 6 futons for six people. It didn't really matter to me as I mainly just needed a place to sleep. At first, there were two other guys in the dorm. However, then there was a Japanese couple, a guy and girl who checked in the room. When they left to get something to eat, I asked one of the other guys and he said it was common to have mixed dorm rooms in Japan. I was just not use to mixed dorms in north american culture. It didn't matter as I planned to have an early start at 7:30 am.
In the evening, I went to the famous Dogon Onsen, which was a beautiful building inside with the old wood carved beams. I purchased the package which includes tea. The rain had stopped so didn't take my rain gear for the short walk to the onsen. However, it was pouring rain again on the walk back. Didn't need to get wet again. Ended up buying a small umbrella at one of the shops in the covered street mall. The only collapsible one was black with different shades of pink cherry blossoms on it. I thought I didn't care as long as it kept me dry.
Last night was a disaster. One of the guys in the dorm snored all night. I got up to go to the bathroom around 3 am and a Belgium guy in the same dorm asked if I was able to sleep and I said no. He said it was the same for him.
The good thing is the bath area is open 24 hours, if you want to have shower. So I ended up getting up at 6 am and having a shower. I found a hair blower in the bath area, so used it to dry out my boots, as they were still damp from the rain yesterday.
What a difference a day makes. Yesterday, I was singing the song I learned at a Swedish Scout  jamboree called "singing in the rain" making up new versions as I walked. Today it was blue sky.
Got an early start. At the first temple met a Japanese ohenro(Oumei) who spoke some English (had visited Canada 20 years ago). I asked if he was headed to the next temple and if I could walk with him. The problem was he was a fast walker. We came across this group of 16 walkers and he asked if they were part of a tour group. They said yes, but they were a walking tour, where they walk 10 days each year til they finish, not a traditional bus tour. Oumei said this was his second time. He just retired. He did it as a bus tour the first time and this time is walking it all. At temple 53, I said I was going to take the train , since it was 35 km. He understood and said he was only planning on doing 15 km more today. He said he wanted to spend some time sketching the temple on a post card. He like to makes sketches of the different temples.
I bid my farewell and headed for the train station. I am now able to use my JR rail pass.  When I arrived at the closest train station, I headed out, hoping I would find the markers again. When I did I was at a Sunkus convenience store. Since I didn't have breakfast, I purchased three tofu rice pockets (o-i-na-ri-san) I like, and what I think is a yogurt with fruit in it.
I went around the side of the building to find a place to eat. I could only find some plastic crates, so used one to sit on. After I finished eating, I came back around the corner and  there were two ohenros. One looked like a foreigner. He said he was from Austria and was his sixth time doing it. He said he did it like me the first time, and he said it was a smart way to do it, to get a feel of what it is like. He said, the next 5 times he walked it each time. His name was Ossi. His Japanese friend was Ken (the short name he likes to go by). He said he did the Camino de Santiago twice (and had the symbolic shell hanging from his pack) and this was his 7th time doing the 88 temples.
I asked if I could join them. Ossi was 6 foot tall and a fast walker. He said the next temple was tricky as he has got lost before. I said, I know the feeling, having been lost twice, so far.
He led the way and Ken was next. I brought up the rear. We made it to temple 54 OK, only after Ossi had a wrong turn and had to back track. We exchanged osame-fuda. I said I was doing temple 56 next then temple 55, as I was staying close to temple 55. Ossi bid his farewell and said he would probably see me between temples 56 and 55, as I was walking the opposite way. Sure enough, we did meet up, and it was like long lost friends.
On the way to temple 56, this teenager on a bike stopped, and gave me 300 yen and said osettai. I gave him a Canadian pin. I was moved that he biked pass me and then turned around and biked back to give me osettai. I used it to pay for my temple stamp in my book, which is 300 yen. At temple 54, I found another small Mokugyo I liked, so brought it. After paying the little old man, I was happy with my new purchase. I love how they are carved. As I was leaving, he ran up and gave me an orange as osettai. I thanked him. I had it at temple 56 and it was sweet and tasty.
I arrived at the Imabari Station Hotel, which was easy to find. The biggest decision was did I want. Japanese or american style breakfast. I opted for american, for a change. Went off and found s post office to mail my souvenirs off to Kaz, so I didn't have to carry them. I think I have it down pat on asking for a box. When it comes time to write what the contents are, I just show them it is a collection of free small towels and souvenirs I brought, which makes it easier for them to fill it out in Japanese.
All in all a good day. The 60's temples get a bit tricky and start to get out of sync. So, if the temple number looks wacky, don't worry, I haven' t gone bonkers, or skipped any.
Planning to get an early night sleep tonight. My eyes are getting heavy just typing this blog. Good night.
Picture 1: Temple 52-Buddha Hall
Picture 2: Temple 53-Buddha Hall
Picture 3: Temple 53-Gate & Washing Station
Picture 4: Temple 54-Buddha Hall
Picture 5: Temple 56-Daishi Hall
Picture 6: Temple 56-statues
Picture 7: Temple 55-Gate from outside
Picture 8: Temple 55-Un-gyo
Picture 9: Temple 55- A-gyo
Picture 10: Temple 55-Gate from inside

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