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Aki Meguri Old Tokaido Logbook:

September 10th, 2001 (Monday):
From Totsuka to (almost) Chigasaki

Note: In the original Aki Meguri pages, the Old Tokaido stage had separate journal entries on most days.  These have now been added at the bottom of this page.

 
Today's Words and Pictures: Yugyoji
 
Because of the rain, you won't see a lot of photos today.  Keeping the camera dry is a priority.

When I woke up this morning, the typhoon was still in full force.  It had come up during the night, and continued unabated.  Tom and I had planned to leave his house around 9, but changed our plan when we saw the storm.

Around 10:30 there was a break, and we decided to run for it.  Of course, by the time we were ready, it was back again!  We got soaked going to the station (umbrellas--or big straw hats--do little in weather like this).

My plan was simple: Put my bag in a locker at Totsuka and start walking.  But I had had some problems with this website in the morning, so I sat down on the platform at Totsuka, pulled out the computer, and fixed it.  By the time I was finished, the rain had stopped, so I stashed my bag and I was finally on my way.

Now for the details. 

In Totsuka, I stopped at the monument to the honjin, or official inn.  This is in front of the shrine where I said last night's prayers.  Check out yesterday's Logbook for Hiroshige's print of Totsuka.

Then I headed down the road.  As I said above, I didn't shoot many pictures because of the rain.  And to be honest, there wasn't that much to see.  Lovely little temples and shrines, but nothing I haven't already shown you.

I did like the looks of this ichi-ri-zuka west of Totsuka.  Like the one past Kawasaki, it has a shrine planted on top.

By the way, a word about terminology.  On the maps, places are often indicated as "ato.This could roughly be translated "the site of."  So if the map says "ichi-ri-zuka" there may be something to see, but if it says "ichi-ri-zuka ato" there probably won't.  This one said "ato"--only the site.  But the little shrine was cute.

Lunch and a nap at Denny's, then the highlight of the day.

YUGYOJI.  For some reason, the name of this temple at Fujisawa rang a bell, but I couldn't quite place it.  There's a sketch--with no explanation--in one of my guidebooks.

So I wandered around, took some pictures--including this one as my representation of Fujisawa--then headed back to have my place-of-prayer register signed before I said my prayers.

.And that's where I realized where I was.  A priest came out while a deshi (disciple) was signing my book, and gave me a pamphlet (in Japanese) indicating that this temple belonged to Jishu, the Ji sect.  At first I couldn't place it; then, when he said "Ippen," I got it.  You can read much more about Yugyoji, but here's the basic idea.

Ippen was a lay monk given to ecstatic dance in worshipping the Amida Buddha (object of "Pure Land" or Jodo Buddhism).  His "trance dance happenings" in Kamakura attracted so many people that he was banned from the city.  So he moved up here to Fujisawa--not far from Kamakura--and this temple was ultimately built.

Ippen's priests are a happy lot. They received me warmly, and a funny thing happened.  They gave me four large cookies (Kamakura's famous dove cookies--that look like a chicken to me).  They gave me an amulet.  They gave me a pamphlet.  I've received all of these from temples before.

But they also gave me cash, and asked me to pray for them.  This is a major role reversal.  Usually the priest takes the cash and says the prayers.  I was stunned--and delighted.  Not so much by the cash value, of course, but by the idea.

Take a look at the temple and my new friends in today's only Words and Pictures.

When I left Yugyoji, I strolled down the pretty little shuku (station) area.  By the way, the JR Tokaido site says that Fujisawa "grew and flourished as a town at the temple gates of Yugyoji" and not vice versa.  It also serves as a jumping off point to Enoshima (see below). 

I had set a modest goal for today: stop here at Fujisawa, around 8 kilometers.  But I felt great, and it was before 5:00, so I pushed on, and came within an hour's walk of Chigasaki.  I took a bus, checked in to my ryokan (Japanese-style inn), had dinner, went back to Totsuka for my bag, had a bath (ahhhh...) and slept.  It's early Tuesday morning as I write this--and it's been raining all night.

Hiroshige's Tokaido: Fujisawa, Station #6 on the Old Tokaido

Hiroshige has illustrated the road leading from Fujisawa to Enoshima.  I don't have enough time to go there on this trip, but have been entranced there many a time.  You can learn more about Enoshima--the "Mont St. Michel of Japan"--here.

 
Journal
Entry

Feet

It's easy to take 'em for granted.  But they are our connection to the earth.

Look at some idioms:

  • knock you off your feet
  • have your feet on solid ground (or firmly planted)
  • get your feet under you
  • be back on your feet
  • be dead on your feet
  • jump in with both feet
  • put your best foot forward
  • have cold feet
  • drag your feet
  • let grass grow under your feet
  • land on your feet

These virtually all have to do with one thing: initiative and ability.  The negative terms--cold feet, drag your feet--are about reluctance.  The positives--back on your feet, best foot forward--have to do with moving ahead.

A walking man thinks a lot about feet.

Journal
Entry

Begging

The pilgrim is supposed to be humble.  A part of this humility training is begging.  This also creates a bond between the pilgrim and the people of the area where he is sojourning.

I probably won't be begging per se on this trip, but I have set myself up for one kind of begging.

And today I couldn't do it.

In the first flush of the trip, I conceived of this great idea: ask people along the way to sign a book verifying my presence in each station.  It gives me a chance to fraternize with the locals.

But it's also a burden to them.  I've actually been turned down a couple of times.  And now I'm becoming sort of--well--shy about it.  Hard for some of you to believe about me, I know!  But today was wet and miserable, and even though I was in good spirits, I just wasn't up to pushing people to do this favor for me.

In Kawasaki I forgot to have the book signed.  Today I went through Totsuka and Fujisawa without asking.  And I may miss more for various reasons.  But the main issue is not the book, but the idea--how much can I presume upon others to fulfill my whims?  If I'm in a park, or chatting with a shopkeeper, asking for a signature seems natural.  But just grabbing someone on the sidewalk, or barging into a store and halting business as I make my request?  This is tougher.

I don't know what will happen with the Station Signatures register.  But I have a lot of thinking to do about what I can reasonably request of total strangers.

 
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