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Aki Meguri Postlude:

November 15th, 2001 (Monday):
Travel from Temple 2 (sort of) to Koyasan

Note: These log entries cover the days between the completion of my Aki Meguri and my departure for America.  You can read more about the entire experience starting at the Aki Meguri homepage.
 
Afternoon

Well, today has been full of surprises so far--none of them good.

I got up early and joined the morning worship service at Temple Number 2, where I stayed last night.  It wasn't "my" prayer routine, but it was a legitimate one (including the chanting of my beloved Hannya Shingyo with my friend the priest), so I have to credit this as my prayer place today--because there's no way I'm going to be able to reach Koyasan before night fall.

I had it all figured out, and it all fell apart.  Like someone said, "I finally got my [stuff] together, and then I forgot where I put it."

It's after 1 p.m. now, and I'm still in Tokushima--less than an hour away from my starting point.  I'll be here until after 2:00, when the ferry leaves.

How did this happen?

I left Temple Number 2 at 8:00, and walked back to Number 1, where I knew there was a JR Highway Bus stop that led back to Tokushima station.  The bus was due at 8:36; I was there in plenty of time.  A bus came at 8:34; I gestured to him to stop, but he gestured back that this bus wasn't stopping.  Well, I thought, different bus.  It's a bit early yet. My bus is coming.

Huh.  Another bus came, near 8:40.  This guy didn't even acknowledge my gestures; he just flew on by.  Same with the next one.  A little after 8:50, I gave up and walked back to Bando station, where the next train was coming at 9:39.

I don't know what the deal was with the buses.  Was one the correct bus, and he just didn't see me?  Or was the bus I was waiting for more than 15 minutes late?  I'll never know.

Anyway, I was in Tokushima at 10-something, still plenty of time.  I walked straight out of the station and onto the waiting bus for Komatsushima port.  The bus ride takes about 30 minutes.

When I arrived, I discovered that there hasn't been an active ferry from Komatsushima in three years.  I would have sworn that's where I arrived on Shikoku a little over a month ago, but apparently not.

11:15--bus back to Tokushima station, no longer laughing.  A quick lunch, then checked out buses to the correct ferry terminal.

12:10--on the bus.  The station signs seemed to indicate that from this bus I'd make a connection to the ferry, and arrive in Wakayama at 2:10--still OK.

12:30--Wrong.  That was the 12:10 ferry that arrives in Wakayama at 2:10, not the ferry reached from the 12:10 bus. The next ferry is at 2:10!  So here I sit.  I should be in Osaka around 5:30, and it's still another two-and-a-half hours to Koyasan from there!

So I guess I'll see the Daishi tomorrow morning.  No problem; plenty of time.

By the way, because I know that there's no Internet connectivity from Koyasan, I'm publishing this now, while I have the time, at the Tokushima Ferry Terminal on Shikoku.  Tonight I'll write about the rest of my day, but I won't be able to publish it until I leave Koyasan tomorrow morning.

Please check back and see how the rest of my day went!

 
Evening

At first it didn't look like things were getting any better.  The ferry boat was seatless--large, open carpeted floor spaces where you take off your shoes and sit (or lie) on the floor.  I sat down and did some reading, but I was soon joined by about twenty very loud, very old "pilgrims."  (I figured out later that they had come up from a bus that was on the car deck of the ferry.)  They were abnormally loud--and when the bottle of Suntory Old Whiskey came out, I knew why.

Now gods know I'm no teetotaler.  But this was a boat, and the smell of whiskey--especially as I've been dry for over 10 weeks--was nauseating.  So I put away the book, put my ever-present towel over my nose, and lay down for a snooze.

And woke up in port.  The elder-hostiles had already descended to the bowels of the ship.  I just had time to brush my teeth and use the toilet before disembarking in Wakayama.

All subsequent connections went smoothly.  I arrived at the Koyasan Youth Hostel at 8:00 on the nose; I've had my bath, and I'm ready for bed (it's 9:47).

I'll publish this tomorrow, from somewhere on the road where there's a strong uplink.  And tomorrow night I'll report on my very last day of official pilgrimage as I check in with the Daishi.

 
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