JAPAN 88 TEMPLE PILGRIMAGE Day 7

Uchizuma Minshuku to Ikumi Minshuku:

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Today was the first day with no physical temples. Walking along the ocean and beaches one feels they are in God’s Temple. A relatively short 27K today.

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I suppose a break was in order after visiting 23 temples the previous 6 days. The nature was beautiful and allowed for some quiet reflection.

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Also had an unexpected stop at what I would call a “hippie” restaurant near a surfing area. Had about 9K to go until my final destination of Ikumi Beach and saw a small hand written sign for ‘The Green Heart’, a Spanish restaurant, which sounded interesting but I decided it would be better to stop closer to Ikumi.

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A few minutes later I passed the restaurant which was in a somewhat crude one story wood structure about 15 meters in from the road and there was a European guy out front sitting and a Japanese guy painting who looked up at me and waved and smiled in a way that made me feel happy so without thinking I turned and walked up the gravel driveway.

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The Japanese guy, Daiki, was painting smiley faces on a police car roof light and told me lunch was not available until 11:30 and it was only 11:05 so I asked for a coke.

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Friendly, generous and kind Eco and Daiki

I also saw some oranges on a barrel and asked for one which he immediately handed to me. He then brought the coke and I asked “how much?” And he said “osettai”. I asked 3 times to pay him something. He said, “No” each time. So I sat and talked with him and a nice young German student, Morris.

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In talking, Nepal came up and Pokhara and the World Peace Pagoda and Japanese Buddhist Temple there which Daiki had visited same as me along with trekking Annapurna. Then his wife, Eco, came out who was very sweet and friendly. Time passed and I was going to leave but saw it was 11:40 so I stayed and had a delicious lunch of several small items, tapas style.

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Eco’s tapas plate; grilled firsh with red and green tomato sauce, fish cake, kelp, tortilla de patata, couscous salad and some rice. Delicious!

We kept talking through the meal and then I left and started walking after getting a hug from Morris and Daiku. About 30 meters down the road I heard a shout and Eco came running up with a big smile and gave me a final osettai of a banana cake for the road.

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Walking away I felt touched by their hospitality, kindness, and generosity. Grateful for this day of slowing down a bit and enjoying nature and people as opposed to praying in a temple.

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Stopped for a rest with some locals. Not many words but plenty of smiles.

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Stopped by a harbor and checked out a fish processing place. Incredibly clean. Not surprisiing here.

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Ikumi was a bit like being back in the 60’s. Sweet!

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Happy to answer any questions and help in any way.