Pilgrimage On Shikoku Island

Online forum for discussions related to the 88 temple pilgrimage on Shikoku, Japan.


    Finally finished my henro blog: Couch to Henro

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    Finally finished my henro blog: Couch to Henro

    Post by Shikoku Henro Trail on Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:44 am

    Originally posted by several members in October 2017.
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    kotoko

    « Thread started on: Oct 2nd, 2017, 8:38pm »
    https://couchtohenro.weebly.com/

    Finally finished it!

    I did the pilgrimage back in March-April of this year (2017). I had intended to walk the entire thing but, due to some injuries and lack of time, ended up taking some public transportation sometimes. It's taken me a while to edit all my blog entries (*lots* of typos!) and go through all my photos, but it's done. I've also included links I found useful, my packing list, and copied and pasted the list of lodgings I stayed at (I originally posted them here on this forum, but figured it might be useful on my blog, as well).

    Please feel free to let me know what you think or if there are any bugs/corrections that need fixing. Also, if you'd like me to add a useful site or blog to my Links List, then send me a message!

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    tneva82

    « Reply #1 on: Oct 2nd, 2017, 11:12pm »
    Thanks for the link. Always enjoy reading other people's blogs cheesy (gets boring if I were to just read mine wink )

    But note on business class. I'm happy I can't afford them. I'm on the camp safety first and business class is actually deadliest seats on the plane cheesy If plane's to crash you have better odds the more rear you are sitting!

    (also seats on exits are less handy than might be thought. While sure you have more leg room no room under to put stuff and chairs might not recline)

    edit:

    " I chose a bad time to do the pilgrimage. Back home, it had been winter for a few months, so not exactly an ideal time to be practicing 20km walks. In the summer, I do a lot more walking and even a bit of hiking. I should have done the pilgrimage in the fall, after getting some practice and training in."

    Oh boy I so agree! I had similar trouble myself but wanted to enjoy the cherry trees so just had to trust daily gym workouts to help me through! Would have liked some hiking practice before but snow&ice=not nice to walk on.

    Also always interesting to read experience of people who aren't that comfortable in Japanese as I am. Gives me extra "wow" effect. Hard to imagine how hard simple stuff can be when you don't share language with locals. Respect for anybody who does that. I have it easy compared to you guys! But as David Turkinton notes in his blog entries those without Japanese might get more out of this as spiritual practice than those who know the language!

    I'm much more "eek" about idea of being somewhere and NOT having common language to share with. For example I'm reading currently book about Kukai's trip to China that details his route mapped in current China(so basically I could use this as guidebook to retrace his 2400km path in China). Apart from practicalities of time and money(I would hate to skip yearly Japan trip due to friends there and doing both gets expensive) the mere idea of relying on locals having suitable english to get by fills me with "GULP!" cheesy

    « Last Edit: Oct 3rd, 2017, 02:33am by tneva82 »

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    kotoko

    « Reply #2 on: Oct 4th, 2017, 5:06pm »
    Quote:
    But note on business class. I'm happy I can't afford them. I'm on the camp safety first and business class is actually deadliest seats on the plane cheesy If plane's to crash you have better odds the more rear you are sitting!


    On the other hand, if I died in business class, I would die happy xD

    Quote:
    Oh boy I so agree! I had similar trouble myself but wanted to enjoy the cherry trees so just had to trust daily gym workouts to help me through! Would have liked some hiking practice before but snow&ice=not nice to walk on.


    The sad thing is that I had seen the cherry blossoms already! But I did not want to wait until autumn to do the pilgrimage between my impatience and not knowing where I would be in life at this time of the year. Where I work, vacation is given based on seniority and I have plenty of it. However, I had thoughts of moving and searching for another job so I wanted to do the pilgrimage ASAP in case I ended up finding another job (and starting at the bottom again in terms of seniority). Ah well, you live and learn, right?

    Quote:
    Also always interesting to read experience of people who aren't that comfortable in Japanese as I am. Gives me extra "wow" effect. Hard to imagine how hard simple stuff can be when you don't share language with locals. Respect for anybody who does that. I have it easy compared to you guys!


    It helped that everyone I encountered was super supportive and kind to me despite the language barrier. Some people would actively try to speak English with me, even if their English capabilities weren't good, or some people would speak slowly and use basic words (i.e. not keigo) to help get the message across. Thankfully, I knew a little bit of Japanese, so that helped. I bumped into a few henro who knew literally no Japanese, so they definitely had it harder, I think. I don't know if I could have done it knowing nothing of the language!

    Quote:
    But as David Turkinton notes in his blog entries those without Japanese might get more out of this as spiritual practice than those who know the language!


    I haven't read his blog. What does he have to say about that?

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    tneva82

    « Reply #3 on: Oct 4th, 2017, 11:22pm »
    on Oct 4th, 2017, 5:06pm, kotoko wrote:
    On the other hand, if I died in business class, I would die happy xD


    To die happy at greater chance or survive less happy with bigger chance in case of unlikely crash. Which to choose cheesy

    Quote:
    The sad thing is that I had seen the cherry blossoms already! But I did not want to wait until autumn to do the pilgrimage between my impatience and not knowing where I would be in life at this time of the year.


    Well those you can see many times without getting tired of them. Japanese see them every year and STILL go nuts over them every year cheesy

    Lucky you to be able to choose time for holiday. For me it's ask and pray for best with official season being may-september so if boss feels like it I'll be walking it in mid-august.

    Quote:
    It helped that everyone I encountered was super supportive and kind to me despite the language barrier. Some people would actively try to speak English with me, even if their English capabilities weren't good, or some people would speak slowly and use basic words (i.e. not keigo) to help get the message across.


    You being pilgrim probably helped in that area a lot. Since you were pilgrim they were doing their best to support you even if it means using language they are super uncomfortable using.

    Quote:
    Thankfully, I knew a little bit of Japanese, so that helped. I bumped into a few henro who knew literally no Japanese, so they definitely had it harder, I think. I don't know if I could have done it knowing nothing of the language!


    Or you do it like Japanese, downplay your language skills a lot cheesy I swear I have lost count on japanese who note their english is bad when it's more than decent conversational english!

    Well without talking to you hard to say how good or bad your Japanese is. But assuming it's as bad as you make it sound I don't know would I have guts to do it! I'm not native level but I can read quite a lot(I have 409 books in Japanese of which 81.67% is read varying from manga to novels to space manuals to buddhism to pilgrimage guides and accounts) and hold my own on conversation on various subjects(don't expect me to talk about quantum physics in Japanese! But as long as names and years aren't important I can talk about Buddhism, it's teachings, Kukai etc since that's subject I am familiar with).

    Comfort that provides by being sure I can converse what help I might need in case is good and it helped a lot to deal with loneliness both you, the hong kong pilgrim and Ingmar of youtube video blog fame noted. Apart from the section where I literally didn't even saw a car for hours never mind living person I never felt really lonely as I was talking with locals with high frequency.

    Idea of doing this with little to no Japanese fills me with dread!

    Quote:
    I haven't read his blog. What does he have to say about that?


    You haven't? It's on the site that hosts this forum! shikokuhenrotrail.com

    Don't recall top of my head fully but gist of it was that since you know no language you have much harder doing basic things like navigating, lodging, eating etc so you are much more reliant on others to help you out so you need to check out your ego and just let it go. David noted in his blog(I might be slightly misparaphrasing this) that on his first trip(during which he got seriously disillusioned and noted it was not worth his time, money and effort etc) he had ego size of a football field(so to speak) mayhap due to him not really NEEDING help in practicalities which affected his expectations of the pilgrimage which when faced with what it actually was led to major conflict.

    Really illuminating musings he had and I own a lot of me being mentally able to deal with pilgrimage due to reading him. It gave me food for thought allowing me to sort out in my head points he raised which if they had hit during pilgrimage might have been the one that stopped me midway rather than combination of time and ankle issue(I could have taken rest for few days but deadline was in less than a week anyway so I would have been able to only walk for few more days at best and then have to figure out how to get out by bus with deadline to reach Tokyo to meet friends. Since I happened to be where train station was when ankle gave up I figured I just stop here bit early and go and meet old friends and acquintaces and see if I can see and experience anything interesting).

    IMO any to-be pilgrim could do worse things than read his accounts of his first pilgrimage and then the next 4 that were one prefecture at time before doing the pilgrimage himself. While some of his comments are outdated(roads seem to be much more walker friendly so his comments of dangerous narrow roads aren't that valid anymore luckily) it's still quite a good one and especially in regards of mental side of it.


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