|No late start today!
At 5:30 I was rolling up my bag and heading down the road.
But I have still been aware of how the
logistics hold me back, so I've made a few changes in my style.
You can read more in today's Journal.
order of business: my "official" photo of the Kawasaki
station. I am standing in front of a monument to the Rokugo no
watashi or the "Rokugo Ferry." This crosses
the Tama River, the dividing line between Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture.
Of course, there's a bridge there now.
But the paranoid Tokugawa avoided the building of bridges across large
rivers, figuring it was harder to move an army across a ford.
Kawasaki, Station #2 on the
Edo, and now Tokyo, have long been distinguished from the rest
of the country. "Tokyo isn't Japan," new arrivals are
often told. Traveling toward Tokyo is always "up" in
Japanese, and away is "down," no matter the true direction.
You can be in the far north of Hokkaido or down in Okinawa, and say
"I'm going up to Tokyo." Even trains are announced as nobori
and kudari--going up or down, to or from Tokyo.
And so, this crossing is of great
importance, as here one leaves Edo proper--and enters "the
rest" of Japan. I felt it as I stood on the bridge in the
twilight last night.
As I walked along
thinking about logistics, an important point slipped my mind: I didn't
get a signature at the Kawasaki station. As the Japanese say, Saru
mo ki ni ochiru--"Even monkeys fall from trees," or
everyone makes mistakes. I'll try harder in the future (and try to
simplify the logistics). [In fact, I made this mistake so
consistently that I finally gave up. Read more here.]
toward Tsurumi, I came across this beautiful old jinja or Shinto
shrine, named Kumano Jinja. (There are many of these in Japan; the
main one is in Wakayama Prefecture, south of Ise.) It wasn't on my
map. Then I realized--it was between the two pages of the
map! I have to be careful about this..
Route 66 is no more, but an occasional milestone remains. So
someone builds a church to commemorate the site of the milestone.
That's what you're seeing here.
The Tokaido was measured in ri--about four kilometers, the
distance a man (apparently except me) can walk in an hour.
ri along the highway was marked on either side by mounds of earth
planted with trees. These were called ichi-ri-zuka--"one-ri-mounds."
This small shrine has been situated on one such mound!
Upon reaching Tsurumi station, I sat in
Donut-san (my name for Mr. Donut) for a couple of hours and worked on
yesterday's homepage, then dumped my bag in a locker at the
Next stop: Soujiji, near Tsurumi station, where I said today's prayers.
I've made a Words
and Pictures page about it. This
is one of the largest temples in Japan--a real contrast to yesterday's
little jewel, Honsenji. This
temple is on a grand scale, and has been right in my back yard all this
time, but I had never visited it before.
I went into a gymnasium-sized office to
have my book signed, and the young student at the desk--after reading my
story--had an omamori or amulet made to protect my travel.
After lunch, I continued toward
Yokohama. Along the way I saw a monument to the (in)famous "Namamugi
Near the end of the Edo (Tokugawa)
period, Japan was caught in a vice. On the one hand was increasing
internal tension between the supporters of the Shogun and those who
wanted to restore Imperial power. On the other was the increasing
external pressure to open the country to international exchange.
Conservatives campaigned under the
slogan "Revere the emperor, expel the barbarians"--meaning
In this climate, bad things were bound
to happen. And so one fine day a party of three British men and a
woman set out to visit the great temple Kawasaki Daishi. As they
rode north near the village of Namamugi, a daimyo's procession
was coming south. It was customary to dismount and pay reverence
to the passing lord, but the Englishmen didn't know this. Nor did
they understand the Japanese commands to do so.
happened next has been debated. Did the daimyo give a
command, or did the Samurai act on their own? In any case, the
Englishmen were attacked, one fatally.
This is a monument on the site of that
early blow to international relations. (You can read a longer
account of this story in an excerpt from the book Drunk
as a Lord.)
An odd side-note: the village's name, Namamugi,
means "raw (or fresh) buckwheat." And the area today is
the site of a large Kirin beer brewery!
I couldn't possibly show you every old
building, marker, monument, etc., that I see. But here are two
nice things from today's walk:
This old building houses a rice
monument commemorates an old bridge.
first ward of Yokohama City one enters is Kanagawa Ward. This name
is now well-known as the name of the prefecture, but few realize it was
originally the name of the 3rd station on the Tokaido when leaving
Edo. The building behind me in my official shot of Kanagawa was the site of the
main official inn (honjin) at Kanagawa.
Yokohama itself is an upstart, largely
developed after the opening of Japan. But traces of sleepy little
example, I had my book signed by this railroad employee, Mr. Kiyoshi
Hasegawa, in tiny Kanagawa Station on the Keikyu line. It's vastly
overshadowed by the nearby Yokohama Station complex.
By the way, it always pleases me to see
how people get involved in what I'm doing: Mr. Hasegawa suggested that
he add the station's stamp (used in touring campaigns) for a touch of
Kanagawa, Station #3 on the
The bayside area of Yokohama has been re-engineered to such a degree
that the site of this picture cannot be determined. The cliff-side
shops, though, remind me of a story in Ikku Jippensha's Hizakurige,
Mare." It's a comic novel written serially
beginning in 1831, about two men roaming the Tokaido.
When approaching Kanagawa, they are
beckoned into one of the cliff-side inns. "There's plenty of
room at the back," says the girl. "Of course there
is," replies one of the travelers. "It runs all the way to Awa
and Kazusa"--meaning modern Chiba Prefecture on the other side of
I'll write more about Yaji and
Kita, the travelers, when I meet them down in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Hodogaya, I took a wrong turn and wandered up into the hills. When
I get lost, I just figure "Adventure calls." And sure
enough, I caught this great view of Yokohama's bayside area--something I
would have missed if I hadn't gotten lost!
Tennocho Station--which lies within the boundaries of the old 4th
station at Hodogaya--is a little park with a fake "bridge"
across it. This commemorates Hiroshige's print, so I did my best
to reproduce it for my official shot at Hodogaya. (Of the several shots I took, I chose this one
because of the lady on the right staring at me--not knowing she would be caught doing
so on camera!)
All through my "photo shoot,"
a homeless guy sat and watched what I was doing. After I took the
shot, I tried to get him to sign my station book. (Park, homeless
guy--it seemed natural.) No luck. He wordlessly tried to
send me to the police station or the train station--anything, I think,
to get me to leave him alone.
I'll have to get my book signed
Hodogaya, Station #4 on the
Remember, You'll have to look closely to see the difference between
my shot and Hiroshige's.
From Hodogaya station I returned to
Tsurumi, fetched my bag, and headed to Kita-kamakura to stay with Tom
and Yuka. A good bath, a relaxing evening--this is the way to do