Henro: Foreword

Please note this diary has been updated and moved to this new site: https://shenchingtou.github.io/shikoku/. This post will be deleted some time in 2021.

You can find the new version of this Foreward here.

This is a diary that covers my (mostly) walking pilgrimage in Shikoku, known as the Ohenro.

I took notes throughout to capture the fleeting thoughts tagged as ‘I’ll-remember-that’. Formalising them into coherent posts is a way for me to revisit memories that needed time to digest.

I’ve also tried to include supplementary information for future pilgrims, as other pilgrims’ notes provided me with the courage to begin. I’ve included information on the budget lodgings in bilingual English and Japanese, a glossary of terms, a budget breakdown, and a map for the temple coordinates.

My posts are experimental in their writing style, and my apologies if they are difficult to read. They reflect my shifting focus as I walked. In the beginning, every mile seemed novel, so my mind raced to articulate every new sensation and observation. By the second half, appreciating experiences no longer needed to be bound by words.

These posts, compiled after the trip, are negotiations between my desire to reflect my experiences (jarring, stream-of-consciousness sputters and wordless memories) and my desire to craft a narrative for readers. The more profound the moment, the fewer words I have. Even now, I prefer the single-word signposts I left en route. They mark spots where I can survey a three-dimensional, multi-sensory moment.

Sadly, the panoramas of specific memories are mine alone. Minimalist signposts leave readers bushwacking in all directions between the words. Eventually, I balanced bundles of personal idiosyncracies into light trail guides for readers.

I hope you find parts of the route enjoyable, or at least relevant to you in some way or another.

Athena.
2016 January

HenroLunch (1).png
What happens after you become a henro. Illustration by Greg Lam
Athena Lam

A content marketing strategist and consultant. Passionate about storytelling for great teams and products. Co-founder of Business 3.0 (https://b3p0.org), LGBTQGlassdoor.com. Personal blog at https://thecupandtheroad.com.

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