Day 21, 22 & 23 of Iva C.A.R.E.S. Fund Raiser


Tokaido trek: day 21, 22, 23

東海道五十三次 徒歩:第21,22,23日目


When people ask about my walk, they make me aware of one particular thing: the disappearance of time.



It melts away. One day feels like many days, a week feels like a month.



"Did that really just happen yesterday?" My mind asks.



Yes, yes it did.



And as time disappears, a sum of experience is all that's left...



...In a supermarket near Shimada, on old lady peaks at me eating raw broccoli. She comments, shocked, and I invite her to try some. She picks a piece, "Oishi! hajimete!" she buys me coffee, we talk about her life of living alone for 30 years and her hobby of piano (when I say I'd love to hear her she shakes her head smiling,  "hazukashi'!") For over half an hour, we forget that my Japanese is rubbish and the silence that naturally comes between conversation. For over half an hour, we connect.

島田の側のスーパーマーケットで、私が生のブロッコリーを食べているのをあるお婆さんが覗く。彼女はびっくりだと言い、私は試してみてと言う。彼女は1つ取り上げて、“おいしい。はじめて!” 彼女がコーヒーを買ってくれる。彼女が30年間独りで暮らしている事やピアノの趣味について話した。(私が、是非聴きたいと言うと、彼女は首を振って、“恥ずかしい!”と言った。)一時間半以上話し、私の日本語が拙い事を忘れ沈黙の瞬間が自然に少しずつ出てくる。一時間以上、二人で何繋がった時間を過ごした。


Eventually,  she bows to leave but I open my arms to hug her. She hesitates for a moment,  then hugs me. We both depart smiling to ourselves...



...the sun sets and the sky shifts into darker shades until a deep blue sky hangs above the cobbled road entrance to the old Tokaido road in Kanaya.



To enter or not to enter?



I've only walked for ten miles today, I have to make Nagoya on 16th April, but soon it will be pitch black and that experience in Hakone has let me know that such a set up is unideal haha.



But who cares? I was silly then.

しかし、そんなの誰がきにするか? 私はあの時頭がちょっとおかしかっただけだ。


"Don't repeat your mistakes!" My brain pings.

“同じ過ちを繰り返すな!” 私の頭は知らせる。


I sit on the side of a stone platform and think it through. The sky turns navy. I decide to wake up early tomorrow and walk then. Sitting, enjoying the moment, stars come out. "You are all specks in time that will soon disappear. In the vastness of space, you are nothing."


And yet, here we are.



In dilence, I watch the stars. The sky turns black. I sit take train to my room in Kakegawa. Good night, everyone...



...6:20 am. Old Tokaido road. Tall trees, cobbled roads, steep mountains and rows and rows of tea bushes, birds twittering everywhere. I spot a large bird that looks like a chicken but is too elegant for one. It flies away as I approach and crouches, hiding in grass.  Should I let it know how much its bright red face stands out more in the grass? I turn away, pretending not to see it, laughing to myself...

6:20am, 東海道旧道。高い木々、石畳の道、急勾配の山々、そして幾重、幾重ものお茶畑、鳥があちこちでさえずいている。私は、にわとりに似た大きな鳥を見つけた。しかし鶏にしては綺麗過ぎる。近づいてしゃがむと飛んで逃げて、草に隠れる。草に隠れると、より赤い顔が目立つことを教えるべきだろうか? 私は、そっぽを向いて、その鳥が隠れて見えなくなった振りをして、笑った。


..10 hours of walking, feet complaining and stomach rumbling, I arrive at Iwata. blue flags with a football logo line the streets. They look so lovely in this humble town, but imagine the pressure the players must feel whenever there's a match!



A lot of the time, during this walk, there is often nothing more to say then, "Yeah, so I just walked through plain, identical looking houses and roads."



Boring? Sure. But when time disappears, it just becomes part of the rhythm of an experience. The silence in between the music.



I finish a 30 km walk (about time!) and arrive at a train station to go to my couchsurfing host. A massive Iwata football logo covers a station wall (hah!) Gambette!!! ...