Day 31, Temples 54-55, 25km – Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage

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  • Tuesday 5 November 2013
  • Weather: Sunny, 21⁰C 
  • Temples: 54 & 55 (Enmeiji, Nankobo), 25km
  • Accommodation: Tokunaga residence, Imabari (the kind couple I met on the Henro path last week)

I slept well in the Daishido next to the altar and made sure to sweep out any crumbs from eating and feathers from my sleeping bag before leaving. I also donated the persimmon I was given to the alter, worried that it would get crushed in my bag.

It was a very cold morning so I had on most of my layers but it warmed up as soon as the sun came out and I managed to get sunburned again (even with sunscreen on). It was a short day today, just two temples before meeting the Tokunaga couple that I had met last week, they had invited me to stay with them in their home town of Imabari, and we’d been in contact by phone daily ever since.

I passed small fishing villages on the way to Temple 54 and I arrived just after a large tour group did… It was wonderful to hear them all chanting the sutras together and banging their drums, I was mesmerized by the sound.

On the way to Temple 55 I met Masato who was also staying in free/cheap accommodation where possible and it turned out we had stayed at a few of the same places, Masato usually one day ahead of me. We might meet again further down the path…

As planned I called Mrs Tokunaga from Imabari station and she gave me directions to her house. It is a beautiful house decorated with stunning artwork, ornate ornaments and the largest tv I have ever seen!

We exchanged stories of the Henro path and I showed them all of my snake pictures then their granddaughter Sara came over after school. Within an hour the house was full with their children and grandchildren and the 10 of us had a lovely Yakiniku (BBQ) dinner with live prawns, steak, pork, mushrooms, salad, kimchi … The live prawns were interesting and not too keen to go on the BBQ which was in the middle of the table in front of us – they kept jumping/crawling off! The live prawn I was supposed to eat as sashimi also didn’t want to be eaten and I wasn’t too keen to experience it ‘dance’ in my mouth… I waited until it had stopped wriggling! It was a fantastic night and I was made to feel like one of the family. I’m pretty sure at dinner tonight they decided I was staying for the week, we’re going sightseeing around Imabari tomorrow morning and fishing in the afternoon!… I may just never leave!

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