Shinto Torii Gate Yudono-san Dewa Sanzan Yamagata

Dewa Sanzan 3/3: Yudono-san

I follow the trekkers down a precipitous slope. It has busy traffic, but the mountain can accommodate us all. The sheer path is made entirely of loose rocks on dry dirt. I’m wary. I rolled my left ankle, yet again, on my way up Gassan. Rocks and dirt, the most harmonious path with nature is also the most dangerous for bad feet. I shouldn’t be doing this. There’s already pain in my ankle. I use my staves as feet down to avoid the pain in my knees. I inch. Everyone, the numerous elderly included, pass me. I smile and greet…

My Bucket List

Places to Go Iceland Greenland Spain (2004) France (2012) England (2011-12) Scotland (2011, 2012) Ireland Italy (2011, 2012, 2014) Hungary (2012) Czech Republic (2012) Austria (2012) Germany (2012) Sweden (2008) Finland (2008) Norway (2008) Estonia (2008) Denmark (2008) Greece Albania Turkey (2012) Morocco (2011) Egypt Jordan Israel Lebanon Iran Iraq UAE Qatar (2012) Nepal (2010) India (2013, 2016) Rajasthan (2016) Delhi (2016) Mumbai (2013) Hydrabad (2013) Tamil Nadu (2016) Bangalore (2016) Kerala (2016) Uttar Pradesh West Bengal Assam Orissa / Odisha Himachal Pradesh Gurjat Sri Lanka Pakistan Afghanistan Myanmar (2015) Bhutan Indonesia The Philippines Malaysia (2011) Thailand (2011, 2015) Laos (2015) Cambodia (2011, 2013) Vietnam (2010) Taiwan (2009, 2010, 2014) Japan (2009, 2012, 2014, 2015,…

Henro Afterword

If you’ve gotten this far, I thank you for reading my posts, whether one or all. Since I limited myself to 2000 words for most posts, there are many thoughts left unsaid, significances left unelaborated. I will address some of them below.  I am writing this in the land of pilgrimages. Every year in India, some 100 million people make a pilgrimage, whether Hindu, Jain, Muslim, or even Christian. Every year, for 40 days, an estimated 50 million men (women menstruating between the ages of 12-50 are unclean and cannot participate) take off their shoes to trek through the Periyar Tiger Reserve…

Henro Day 23: July 13

Matsuyama City 松山市 Temples: None Weather: Sunny with Clouds Travel Method:  Walking + Car Distance: None Glorious sleep, oh glorious sleep.  Real henro holiday. Henro-related things: zero. Today is errand day and lunch with a Couchsurfing host.  I drift into the living room, savour the yogurt, cereal, and cut fruits. I step outside onto the covered veranda and my laundry baked dry. Clean.  And it will stay clean for at least another day. Even the thought makes me giddy. I head out in search of a barber to shave my head. In this summer heat, even 2-inches has a noticeable difference….

Henro Day 18: July 8

Michi-no-Eki Bios Oogata 道の駅ビオス おおがた → Shimonokae 下ノ加江 Temples: None Weather: Cloudy + Rain Travel Method:  Walking Distance: 28 km Last night was meh. That one word synthesises a relatively comfortable spot (under a table), feeling comfortable (mostly not too hot or cold), a full belly (from snacks), general feeling of safety (could see incoming traffic), and a decent 8 hours of sleep (broken). After forcing myself to sleep despite the sheen of sweat on my forehead, I drifted awake when the cool air sank in. The two hours before dawn are chilliest. The blackness and cold have reached their maturity. It’s often only when…

Henro Day 11: July 1

Kochi City 高知市 Temples: 31 Chikurin-ji (竹林寺), 32 Zenjibu-ji (禅師峰寺) Weather: Cloudy with Sunny Parts Travel Method:  Walking Distance: 17.1 km My alarm goes off in the pitch-black room. I resent it with a passion I never felt when woken by sunshine and the cheerful birds after a sleepless nojuku night. In the fog of fatigue after a first good night’s rest, I drag myself out of the fluffy comforter and soft bed, change, and head downstairs for the complimentary breakfast. My breakfast was waiting for me on a table by the window. It’s a full Japanese breakfast with salmon, tsukemono, side dishes,…

Henro Day 7: June 27

Shishikui 宍喰 → Kiragawa 吉良川 Temples: 24 Hotsumisaki-ji (最御崎寺), 25 Shinshō-ji (津照寺), 26 Kongōchō-ji (金剛頂寺) Weather: Cloudy + Rain Travel Method: Bus + Walking Distance: (+40) 27 Morning. Fold futon. Curtains. Sunshine. It rained. Pack. Food. I move around as quietly as I can. Aurelie is still sleeping, and I enjoy extending the quiet as long as possible after crawling out of bed.  At some point, something clatters, and I hear Aurelie wake. Still, it doesn’t break my contented silence. That this may be rude drifts into my thoughts. I let the idea drift off the same way I have from society….