Temples: 1-59, 61-88, 1
Distance: 1200-1400 km, depending on who you ask
Weight: 66 kg
So I've managed to complete the circle and returned to Temple #1. The typhoon scare didn't really pan out, as it headed to the east and up into Tokyo. I'm not sure if the few days rest in Takamatsu helped much, but it was either sitting around there or sitting around here in Tokushima.
#88 had quite a festive atmosphere, as it marks the end of most people's journey (being the purist, I needed to continue and hike back to #1). It was also a holiday Monday, which made it even more busy then usual. Incense wafted in the air, as people burned off their final sticks. Pictures were being taken, final goodbyes said. I sat around for about an hour talking to a couple I had run into several times over the previous day.
After two more days, I arrived at #1 and made the short trek over to the train station to come back to Tokushima. There, I ran into my friend Hama from Osaka. He had just finished as well (after taking a wrong turn and losing the better part of a day). He was heading off to Koyosan, and then back to Osaka.
I've decided to forgo #60, in part as a symbol of my continuing journey. Also because of the hassle of getting there from here - either 4-5 days via bicycle or $100 via train. Instead, I'll wait for my bike to arrive on Saturday then head over to Wakayama and bike up to Koyosan. There lies the grave of Kobo Daishe, our revered pilgrimage founder. After that, it's on to Kansai, and flying to Bangkok. I figured I'm in need of new lands to not know, new languages to confuse me, and new customs to flout.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004