Day 30, 31 & 32 Of Iva C.A.R.E.S Fund Raiser Has walked for a month...

Tokaido trek



Happy month-on-the-tokaido everyone!



Day 30. Jenny, Bow, Michael, James and and I visit another children's home. This home is taken care of by a monk I believe, who has been doing so for the past 100 years (got to double check!)



The inside was renovated and is now a truly lovely, fully equipped home. There is wood everywhere, the design is simple and spacious. When we intrude (again) on children having dinner, they seem relaxed and at home. It's a great sight :)



Later, thanks to the Balloon circus, everyone's juggling, spinning plates, and then performing (you should check out their skills!) We all had a great time thanks to everyone invovled :))) Good bye Jenny and Bow!




Day 31. My dear Tokaido, we reunite again.



Doing the calculations, my budget won't allow for any exploration/time-taking. Kyoto just some 90 km away, I gotta walk and just walk (another excuse to return to Nagoya!)



I walk until my gps points out that I have to take a ferry to Kuwana, so I take a train instead.



It's hot,  very hot. Yes, I am wearing the lightest clothes I own, and yes, it's not even summer. Yay me!



Past the familiar concrete buildings, traditional wooden ones return until they are all I see. When I read accounts of passing such houses, they often report a sense of "going back in time". I can see what they mean, but I cannot relate to it. To me, these traditional houses simply continue to be. Yes, they are hundreds of years old etc, but like an old tree, it's from our short-lived perspectives that there is any sense of going back in time.



Anyway :)



I spot a shop with an interesting chicken logo haha, and stop for a moment to look at it. An old man standing outside it welcomes me in and turns out to be the owner. It's a little cake shop and after the usual chatter, he rushes away and returns with a glass of cool water and a cold, creamy dessert, saying, "Oishi! Oishi!"



Oishi indeed! We talk, he brings me some cake, we talk some more, and before I leave me gives me a present of garlic crisps. Very nice of him! :D



Traditional houses, sun, gardens and little historic spots, more sun. I stop on a bench by a closed restaurant for some shade/to munch the crisps and an old man approaches. Yes, we talk too :)



He is the owner and inside his Italian restaurant he shows me a picture of mount Fuji. It is stunning. "I drew this with pencil colours," he says. Amazing!!! Around his entire restaurant are more of his drawings - old Italian villages, a bridge in paris, flowers upon flowers.

彼は、ここの御主人でこのイタリアンレストランの中にある富士山の絵を見せてくれた。すごく綺麗な絵だ。“私はこれを色鉛筆で描いたんだよ。”彼は言う。すごい!!! レストランの中には彼が描いた絵がもっと沢山あった。古いイタリアの村、パリの橋、次から次と花の絵。


He showed me a wooden model of this large ship-like thing they use in the traditional festivals and he says it took him 2 years to make. The detail was stunning!!!



His wife joins us and we talk about their travels to Europe etc and he gives me a small drawing as a present!



"Aenai", he tries to tell me before I leave. Not understanding,  he tries to explain it by saying that I am walking the Tokaido and he came here and I think, "ah, maybe he means it was  a lucky encounter!"

“あえない” 彼は私が去る前に何か伝えようとする。何を言おうとしているのか分からない。彼は私が東海道をここまで歩いて来たことを言いながら何か説明しようとする。私は“ああ、多分彼はこれが幸運の出会い”だと説明しようとしているのだろう。


"Aenai," he repeats. I nod, smile. "Hai, aenai!"

“あえない”彼は繰り返す。私は笑顔でうなずき “はい、あえない!”


Later on, I research the word. It means "tragic"...



It's time to learn Japanese...



The heat settles down as the sun sets and walk in the night. When I reach Yokkaichi, I find a park and camp between trees, but that night, I didn't freeze. That night, I had a sleeping mat. And I woke up to a gently rising sun and the singing of birds :)



Day 32. I get going at 5:30 am, but as the hours pass, it becomes roasting!



With 4 hours of rough sleep and an appetite of what I can only presume a wild boar would I have, the walk turns into a trudge. I trudge past a highway until a supermarket comes into sight. Never been happier to see one!



Food, water, charging my phone, a nap in a forest by a graveyard (that's another story!). I deeply wanted to just stay in the shade for the rest of the day, but the rhythm of the Tokaido is to keep moving. And so I kept on moving.



The houses on the route are really beautiful and seem older than the ones I've come across. At one point I pass a blue bridge and see a little gate that seems interesting. Time to explore. Small stone steps take me past trees and towards a large wooden temple surrounded by a garden.



The more I walk around, the more beautiful it is. There a small stone shrines  here and there, large blossoming flowers, a little hidden pond under trees, greeny of different shades and hues. A lady appears and she after the expected chat, she shows me around and tells me that she has lived here with her husband (the shrine's monk) for 40 years.



I meet her husband who gives me oranges and then their son (also a monk) show me the main shrine. It's around 380 years old and it's roof is actually depicted in one of Hiroshige's ukiyoe of the 53 stations of Tokaido!



We have a lovely talk, visit an ancient sakura tree from another of Hiroshige's ukiyoe, and then get going.



For the first time, school children start to say hello to me and a little boy even stops to ask me where I am from! As I past Shono post station around 6 pm, a car stops right by me and guess who comes out?

初めて、学校の子供達がハローと私に言う。小さな男の子が止まって私が何処からきたかと聞いた! 夕方6時頃に庄野宿を越えると、車が横で止まる。誰が出てきたと思う?


The monk's wife! 



She tells me her husband said it was dangerous for me to be camping alone (haha) and that I should stay the night with them! How nice!!!



They show me a book on the 53 stations of Tokaido as dinner is being prepared (cue for wild-boar-appetite). It's so interesting to compare the routes during the Edo period to what it is now, having walked through them.



We dine together and somehow manage to talk about buddism with the help of the dictionary on my phone haha. I had a great time and hope to share this experience better than the short words I have written here :)



But for now, the Tokaido calls...