Shikoku Journal – Day 00

Before my OHenro began, I had to get to Shikoku.

I had been in Osaka for a day previous and did a reasonable job navigating around. Fortunately my AirBnB host had given me a WiFi hostspot but without that I was relying on paper maps. On top of that, I was determined to take local transportation to save money and get a more local view of Japan.

I left the AirBnB with everything and set out for the Osaka Bus Terminal. I didn’t have too much trouble finding it, except that the signs would point most of the way and standing a half block or so I had to scope out the rest of the way there.

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Once at the terminal, I had the first of many humbling experiences; the teller and I could barely communicate but she went out of her way to help me. I grabbed the next bus, leaving in about an hour, and set off to find some food. After eating a downright royal meal of Sashimi, I got back in time for the bus and got on.

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The trip was long, beautiful and uneventful except for the butterflies in my stomach. Just as I’m sure many before me, I wondered if I could find more than a bench to sleep on for the night. Actually, even before that, I wondered if I could even get to the first temple.

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Arriving at around 1600 in Tokushima, I asked a local policeman where I could get the bus to Ryozen-Ji. Once again I’ll stress this. Know Japanese. Not only is it courtesy it’s also good to know when someone says, “The third Terminal” or “Third House” or “Third Anything,” later I would know what people had said to me but at the time it was a tad embarrassing.

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After once again working with the extremely patient teller window I got a ticket for the bus… Not remembering which one at the moment but I will probably review this post later with my notes.

 

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Hopping on the bus, was terrifying. All of my fears came to light over the 45 minute trip to the temple. I realized, sitting in the back, I was actually going to walk this journey. Flying from Seattle, taking the bus from Osaka, they didn’t mean much strangely. But sitting there, with my paper map and a final destination of a temple it all became more real than I wanted it to.

But then there I was, standing before the first temple.

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This is where I first learned to enjoy fear.

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It would take sometime, and taking in the journey alone, before truly know how liberating being afraid is. I had forgotten this lesson recently but filling out this journal should help.

Later, after some assistance from the temple shop, I found a dorm to stay in. I’ll continue that story in the next post.