Temples 14 – 17

Estimated distance walked this day:  17 kms

Cumulative distance walked: 92 kms

At our inn near Temple 13 we did our first load of laundry. Somehow, between the washer and pulling clothes off the line, I lost my red ragg wool socks. Ann believes that their unusual color and design were just too tempting for someone. I would hate that that was so, but it doesn’t matter, I was now down to two pairs of outer socks.

Also, at this point Ann made a declaration that she wasn’t walking any more. Not, “I don’t feel like walking” or “I don’t want to walk”, but an out-and-out declaration of a sit-down strike. At first I was taken a back, and, my instinct was to say something snarky, like, “what part of a walking pilgrimage did you think didn’t involve walking?” or “What is it that you thought you had signed up for?” and felt pretty distressed. But, look, the last few days had been pretty tough, so maybe it was time for modification and compromise.

What we came up with, and have continued to do, is this:  In cities where temples are clustered, we do a hub-and-spoke system of staying in a hotel (with WiFi! Wheeeee!) and use a combo of public transportation and walking to get to them all. Then we can leave the heavy pack in the hotel room. In some rural areas, the temples are relatively close to a bus or train, and are far apart, and we can use the resources to reach them. Some more obscure, rural or mountain temples can only be walked to or from, or both, and these of course we use walking for access.

So, there’s still lots of walking, and probably more than Ann is 100% comfortable with, frankly. But there’s also some looking out a train or bus window, and watching the countryside roll by. Because trains and buses run fairly infrequently, and because some time is loosened up for other activities (loafing, sight-seeing, blogging), our total time should run about the same.

Sooo…with this new rhythm in mind, we walked to the next four temples, all through flat suburbia. When we finished with Temple 17, Idoji, we walked to a conveyor belt sushi joint, as I was famished. And then, we got on the train and rode into downtown Tokushima, and checked into the nice Sun-Route hotel.

We could not just plotz, however, as we had errands to run. The critical item was getting cash. Japan is still largely a cash society, and other than big hotels in the big city, and one restaurant so far, everyone else only takes cash. Last time I was in Japan, the clue was the – don’t laugh – 7-11 ATM. The Seven corporation is a big deal in Japan, and the have an associated banking service. But, dang it, this time the 7-11 failed us because they couldn’t read our cards. Last time in Japan, the postal service bank’s ATM I couldn’t get to work worth beans. This time, it spat out ten thousand yen notes unhesitatingly.

Then, and really, this was my mistake, I worked on my first blog post. By the time we got out to walk the streets looking for dinner, my blood sugar was running pretty low. We also got a bit lost and our five minute away restaurant was more like 30. I had a near meltdown, and if it wasn’t for the ubiquitous nature of Japanese vending machines, it might not have been pretty.

Still, we did find the restaurant, we ate a huge pile of delicious food, and we made it back to the hotel without incident.

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