I had a terrible day. So why do I feel so good?
It was raining so hard when I
left here this morning that I was soaked though before I got to
the nearby station. Also, I had been unable to publish my
web page both last night and this morning, so I left
"home" with unresolved Internet problems (which actually
still exist as I write this, but will obviously be solved by the
time you read it!)
took a local train to be sure I didn't miss the stop I wanted (big
mistake, time killer) and arrived much later than I wanted to.
The rain had stopped, however, so I was able to get my official
shot of Okazaki, station number 38 on the Old Tokaido.
Okazaki is revered as the
birthplace of Ieyasu Tokugawa, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
You can read his abbreviated life story in the Logbook
for September 20th. The top of the (reconstructed) castle
where he was born is behind me, above the trees.
Tokaido: Okazaki, Station
the Old Tokaido
Hiroshige shows the castle in the
distance, with the Yahagi Bridge in the foreground. More on
this in a minute.
from the castle (and the 27 turns mentioned yesterday)
, the other big deal at Okazaki is the Yahagi Bridge.
Tokuriki calls this "the longest bridge on the entire length
of the Tokaido." He must mean historically,
because I've crossed a dozen bridges longer than this one.
Hiroshige, Tokuriki includes a sketch of the bridge and castle
together. What I want to know is, where the heck was he
standing? Here's a shot of the bridge; can you see that roof
the arrow points to? THAT's the castle! I wanted my
official shot to include both, but that would have required a lot
more thing about the bridge: Tokuriki (darn 'im) refers briefly to
what must be a well-known story: "[Yahagi Bridge] is famous
as the spot where Hachisuka Koroku found the young Hideyoshi sound
asleep." I confirmed with a nearby shopkeeper that this
statue at the end of the bridge commemorates the event, but
I can't find any account of the story. Does anybody out
there know it?
Update, 2005: I have found scant
mention here and there that Hachisuka was a bandit leader who became
one of Hideyoshi Toyotomi first followers. Still no further mention
of the meeting at Yahashi Bridge.
after yesterday's debacle, I was taking no chances on finding a
place to say your prayers. So I stopped at the first
historical temple I could find.
This is Shorenji, also
called Yanagido. (Yanagi means "willow";
you can see one in front of the main hall.) A sign out front
says "Saint Shinran" was connected with this temple (we
met him in Chigasaki),
so I assume the temple is (or at least was) Jodoshinshu,
and the main image Amida Buddha. The temple also claims to
have an image and articles belong to Nobuyasu, the first son of
I left Shorenji, it started to rain. Then it started to rain
hard. Then it dumped buckets. I broke out my
"rain jacket" for the first time, and moved on.
And got lost. I took a
wrong turn in the rain and wasted almost 90 minutes. But I
saw some cool birds: quail, a kind of pheasant, white egrets, and
something the size of a large pigeon with distinctive black and
white markings. These guys knew they were trespassing (they
were in planted fields) so when I tried to get my camera out they
took wing (except for the pheasants, who ran for cover). No
pictures, but great memories, despite the fact that I was BLOODY
(Anyone wanna buy a road map of
the Okazaki area? Used only one day, still slightly damp.)
found my way again. It's a long walk from Okazaki to Chiryu--nearly
12 kilometers--so I got bored. The intermittent rain did
make things a bit interesting, but...
This is one of the best ichirizukas
I've seen recently; most of them are just ato (sites).
As I walked on toward Chiryu, I
heard a funny clink! Turning around, I discovered
that I'd dropped a goddess.
On my backpack hang a bell, a
small mouse, and several omamori or charms. Some were
given by friends, or by people I've met along the way. But
one I bought a long time ago, at the Asakusa Kannon near where I
used to live. For a long time I kept it in my coin purse.
But since I started walking, I hung it on my bag with the others.
This type of charm is usually a
piece of paper or a small medal inside a brocade bag. You're
not supposed to ever see what's inside; it's a matter of faith.
This one was a medal of the
Kannon. I guess the bag was glued, not sewn, and the glue
let loose because of the rain. So clink! and my
beloved Kannon-sama hit the ground! I'm going to put
her in a safe place in my bag and never look at her again.
The broken bag is still hanging where it was. [And in
January, 2005, it hangs there still--though the Kannon-sama
herself was left behind on top of a locker in the youth hostel at
Nagoya five days later!]
the edge of Chiryu these megaliths have arisen. New
Stonehenge, or elevated highway supports? You be the judge.
horse statue is located quite near one of the horse markets
for which Chiryu was famous (see Hiroshige below). Also in
the area was a coffee shop called Hakuba--"white
to finish off the approach to Chiryu, here's a lovely wedding
chapel, the "Cathedrale de Sainte-Marie."
Mary is apparently the patroness of weddings in Japan, perhaps as
a pun; I saw a chapel in Okayama once called "The Chapel of
now, my official shot for Chiryu. I couldn't
find any horses to pose with, but near the center of town was this
tree reminiscent of the one in Hiroshige's print, so I went for
it. (Do I look like a man who's been in wet clothes all
Tokaido: Chiryu, Station
the Old Tokaido
Hiroshige shows the famous horse
market. Tokuriki points out that, although Hiroshige is
usually pretty accurate, he couldn't have seen this market, as
it's at a different time of year than when he visited. As
I've said before, HIROSHIGE IS A BIG, FAT LIAR.
monument, a couple of big trees, and a playground are all that
remain of Chiryu Castle.
that's left to show you are a couple of Words and Pictures pages.
The first is a Words
and Pictures page of pretty Chiryu Shrine. This place is
famous for its snake-repelling powers. It also has a
charming two-story pagoda; take a look.
finally--and weirdly--I was walking along and came across a bunch
of statues in front of a closed shop. You gotta see this one
to believe it, perhaps my most bizarre Words
and Pictures page of the trip.
I kept on a-goin' 'til I couldn't see no more. I think I
have about an hour to go before I reach Narumi. Tomorrow
should be an interesting day, with some cool things to see and a
28-kilometer ferry ride (unfortunately, the ferry is gone, so I'll
do it by train). Read more about it tomorrow.