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Wanderings and Misadventures of The Toes Ramblings of a fledgling traveler...

A Shit? Why Yes I Am

JAPAN | Thursday, 22 April 2010 | Views [587] | Comments [2]

Okay, so the honest to God truth is that I hate writing in this thing. It's not that I don't like to update all you nice folk; I do like to let everyone know what's up. It's just that I already write in my journal old-school style... pen and paper, kids.

So it's been what, a few weeks since my last update? Wow, that's a shit-tonne of updating to do. I'll have to consult my journal and give a few quick notes on what's gone down. It'll be really low quality so sorry about that.

Also, I have this entry under "Japan 2010" but I'm not actually in Japan any longer. I just made it in to the smelly city of Busan, South Korea. It's much bigger than I expected and way more chaotic. I didn't realize they just don't bother with cross-walk lights in most intersections. You have to take your life into your hands if you really, truly need that coffee. I'll be heading out to a mountain tomorrow; rain or shine. I suppose I miss nature a little but I also don't know if I'll like this place as much as Tokyo.

I know, give it a chance, "ne"?

But Let's take care of Japan first. Where did I leave off on my story telling?:

  • At one temple I was invited to join a family in a special Buddhist ceremony. Afterward they treated me to an onsen, supper and a free stay at their home! The next day I went to some temples accompanied by their daughter; very nice girl. The ultimate "osettai"!
  • I wrote something about a dude in a pink cow suit dry-humping the air...
  • While praying at one temple a dude interrupted me mid-way. It seemed he was asking if I was going to get a stamp so I said yes and he farked off. Not long after I went to get my stamp and the dickus had gone off to an hour lunch. From that point on I stopped doing the prayers. If a monk feels it's ok to interrupt them, then I guess they aren't that important!
  • At this point in the journal I ramble about the pilgrims that don't walk at all. How can you achieve enlightenment in a nice comfy bus with some guy to carry your walking stick for you?
  • Oh, this part was gold. Torture is probably a better word. There was about an hour or two walk to temple 65. I asked the monk there how long it would take to get to 66. He said about 7 hours. Well I didn't have 7 hours so I turked it hard-core. I made it in 5 hours. 5 horrible, body and mind destroying hours along highways and up steep paths. I was in tears and hypervenilating toward the end. I was so worried I would miss the last gondola down the mountain as well as the stamp office. There was no way I was going to return so I would have needed to camp out. I was a wreck. I made it 10 minutes before everything closed! Either there's a horseshoe up my arse or I'm just damn determined. If ever you want the full story just ask; I doubt I can forget that day. The dude stopping his van on the road to take my picture was also gold. At least that made me laugh. So did the folk I met along the way "gee, you sure are walking fast" "yeah, I have to hurry to make it to temple 66" "blah, blah, chatter... incessanty" then I think "well I was walking quickly until I met you lovely folk". Eventually I escaped.
  • I left my pointy sedge hat on a mountain. It had become a useless wind-catcher and I couldn't wear it and my backpack at the same time anyhow.
  • After the mountain ordeal I played my "I'm a lost little foreigner" cards right and snagged a free ride into town to my hotel. Turns out my other henro buddy Erik also stayed there! Friggin' crazy coincidences abound!
  • I got a free towel as an "osettai". The dude stitched whatever I wanted on it. I chose "Always know where your towel is". I think he expected something deep. It's sorta deep...
  • Stayed at some real dives during the pilgrimage. I guess it's preparation for Southeast Asia
  • Anyone ever notice that most food at a drug store is junk food? I thought that was odd.
  • For the rest of the pilgrimage I used trains a lot. I did do a fair bit of walking too but I definitely was trying to speed it up. I just wanted to get to other places. I was invited home to a nice lady's place and she made supper for me. We chatted quite a while and there were some awkward bits: "you're very... manly" and "my husband, he doesn't like blacks". WOW! She was nice though, I swear. Just lacked some tact.
  • Several Japanese Christians told me they'd pray for me. They gave me their numbers in case I needed anything. I didn't keep those numbers.
  • Sometimes you buy a pastry thinking it's fruit and it turns out to be some sort of seafood.
  • I've been thinking about how much I like most youth hostels. I may consider opening my own one day... I even have some design ideas. Whee!
  • I was feeling mixed emotions when I got to temple 88, the last one. I had to leave my walking stick and I still miss it. Tradition is to leave it there and they burn those that have been left in a ceremony once a year. I was a little dewy-eyed that day. I was happy to be nearly done but nervous that I'd be on to new things. I got so used to the pilgrimage.
  • I revisited temple 1 and was a little disappointed that nobody acknowledged my hard work over the last month. I didn't have my stick anymore so I didn't look much like a pilgrim. I did get a free meal as osettai though; that was surprising. I thought the lady was going to give me hell about something when she called me over as I was leaving the restaurant.
  • I went to Koya-san. Gorgeous town on a beautiful mountain full of temples. I wasn't too interested since I had seen at least 100 already but I suggest anyone visiting that area should check it out and stay in a temple overnight.
  • I wasn't sure what to do with myself afterward until Al let me know he was free for a week so I could visit he and Yuki in Tokyo! I was so happy and headed over shortly after. The 9hour night-bus sucked but the city filled me with its intoxicating enegry.

I love Tokyo! I got to see a side I wouldn't have alone so it was an even greater experience. I am so grateful to Al and Yuki for taking me to their favorite spots and allowing me to crash in their spare room. What a blast. I think I'll go into detail in a separate entry.

Tags: busan, pilgrimage, south korea, tokyo

Comments

1

"Sometimes you buy a pastry thinking it's fruit and it turns out to be some sort of seafood."

LOL i love this statement, it seems so random and probably very true

  Sandra Apr 28, 2010 2:44 AM

2

Sadly, very, horribly true.

  Kitschey Apr 28, 2010 6:20 PM

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