Kumano: The Next Stage

It has been an unbelievable month here in sunny Kagawa-ken. And I really have much to be grateful for. I managed to launch my book, Your Pilgrimage in Japan: A Regular Canadian on the 88 Temple Buddhist Pilgrimage of Shikoku (available through fine Internet connections everywhere). And the response has been very very good.

In one recent interview with a major news outlet (article to be released soon) I received the comment, “Regular Canadian! That’s great!”, as we talked about what the difference is between my book and what is typically out there by “experts” who wax longwindedly about their tremendous insights and personal revelations. The book is a bit “off the beaten track” as it were, as the starting position as a writer is not a “I know everything so now I need to educate you”, kind of approach. Rather, the style, as well as my own personal philosophy in living is “I don’t know much, and will not pretend to. Instead, let’s go and see what we can see together, and have an incredible fun and rewarding experience along the way”.

Word of the release of my book has reached ears has reached a few more writers and there are more interviews and discussions coming in the weeks to come.

Another incredible development is that I received an invitation to go out to Mie Prefecture for a meeting with business and local government people who are involved in the promotion of the Kumano Koudou. They have invited me to come to see and experience that pilgrimage and to attend meetings to discuss how pilgrimage experiences can be more inviting and supportive of foreign travellers to Japan. Of course I am deeply honoured and thrilled to be part of the process. That adventure will be later this month so expect to be bombarded with more photos and reports of that experience.

I am now thinking that I have had some kind of great subconscious inspiration for naming this website, “YOUR pilgrimage in Japan”. Who knows where the road will take you and I! I am excited to be of service to Japanese hosts, businesses, and communities who want to share their rich and vibrant culture. And I am delighted to help my fellow pilgrims from overseas get to the doorway of their new adventure in Japan.

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Shikoku Pilgrimage Wigs

As someone who is now over 50 years old, I have to be understanding with the fact that my hair, which was once long and flowing has now escaped from the surface of my head. Oh, there is some left, the sad lonely few strands of hair, but most of the hair of my youth has long abandoned me. Some has resettled in my ears and on my back, in places where hair did not grow previously.

I might despair that I may no longer have flowing locks to decorate my head, but I need not be in darkness for too long. Shunsuke Meguro has come to my rescue. Inspired by Kabuki, and yes, the Shikoku Pilgrimage headwear, he has found a way to help me walk further down the trail untouched by sun, and yet still fashionably decorated.

Read on if you dare: https://www.dazeddigital.com/beauty/head/article/46176/1/shunsuke-meguro-celebrates-japanese-culture-through-the-dynamic-art-of-wigs

Yamacha Ohenro Channel

Right now there is a rather nice channel you might want to follow if you are interested in walking the Shikoku Pilgrimage. You will get a day-by-day account with Yamacha! I’ve just started walking the videos and they look great. I also really like the music too.

If you have some time, sit back and let Yamacha Ohenro walk you through the daily journey of “Aruki Henro”, the “Walking Pilgrim”.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIUFJJYTiGZ2129tw0CZTMA/videos

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Hard Copy of Your Pilgrimage in Japan

Amazon is a speedy machine. I had put out the notice that the Kindle version was ready to go and when I woke up this morning I got the notice that the hard copy version is now also available.

I can’t describe how excited I am that this book is out there. I have written books before, and make a bunch of textbooks/homework books for our English student. But this one is a special book. It is one that I hope will serve as an inspiration to whet the appetite of people who are all over the world and thinking of doing something for their lives that may help them get “on a better path”.

Of course, no vacation or long walk through the woods and through temples will solve all your problems. But time away from the noise of things that drag you down, a bit of a disconnect from the white sound of television and media, and a chance to learn and explore the glorious Shikoku Pilgrimage may do one’s soul good.

So, if you are interested please get yourself a copy of the book. Available through fine internet connections everywhere:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1701297779/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=your+pilgrimage+in+japan&qid=1571792058&s=books&sr=1-1

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NEWS RELEASE

 

So, have you been wondering why this site has been a little quiet these days? There are a couple reasons. But the biggest reason is this:

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Oh yes. It’s true. This book is the result of completing the 88 Temple Pilgrimage here in Shikoku back in 2016, and takes you temple by temple through the entire route. Meant not as “the expert be-all-and-end-all” kind of book, this text serves more of an introduction to each of the temples, provides background information here and there, and gives newcomers a sense of what to expect when they come to see for themselves.

Written in a cordial, and very un-preachy manner, I hope that this book will pique the curiosity of travellers everywhere and serve as a friendly companion book to on-line map resources.

Today the Kindle version has been released. The print version is coming shortly. So, if you are keen to see what all the hoopla is about feel free to grab a copy of your own. Available on Amazon at fine internet connections everywhere:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZDPND8V/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=your+pilgrimage+in+japan&qid=1571738082&sr=8-1

Many years ago I wrote a book called, Karate: The Japanese Way (also available at fine internet connections everywhere). I’m not a karate expert, even though I trained for many years. I’m very much a student, and still very interested to learn more about karate. I love it, and always will. But in writing about something, in my case anyway, I am very hesitant to take the “role” of “expert”. Instead, I’m more of the, “Come along with me and let’s learn together” kind of writer. I hope that will not insult anyone’s sensibilities, but for me that is the more honest and truthful way to approach such a massive undertaking as the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

I’m a pilgrim in life, just like you I suppose. So if you would like to learn about “the walk that can change your life” I hope that you will pick up a copy and get your feet wet here. Then go out and read up on the history, architecture, folklore, spirituality, and customs of Japan, Kukai, and this splendid and ancient cultural artifact which is the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

There is room enough for all on this road.

 

Dangerous Typhoon Approaching

Hello all,

This is an important public service message for any and all hikers and pilgrims on the Shikoku Pilgrimage at this time. You may not have access to news reports, especially in Japanese, and could possibly be unaware of the typhoon that is steadily approaching Japan at this time.

The size of the typhoon was classified today by Meteorological experts as a “Super Typhoon” or a “Class 5” typhoon. The course of the typhoon is to reach Japan sometime during the weekend, but speed and direction of any typhoon can only be measured in estimates. The centre of the storm may be to the east of Shikoku, but there are very strong cautions regarding dangerous winds that need to be considered.

One of the most dangerous elements of a typhoon is not so much the wind and rain itself, but rather, wind strong enough to move debris. As you may have noticed, many rural houses have clay tiled roofs. These can fall apart and become projectiles in heavy wind and have been known to cause serious injury to people. There is also a danger of falling trees, light posts, and power lines. It may not be safe.

If you are on the Shikoku Pilgrimage I strongly suggest that you make your way via train or bus to the nearest city to you. Takamatsu, Tokushima city, Kochi city, and Matsuyama are the best places for you at this time. In the wake of a disaster there can be a great deal of infrastructure trouble and damage. I would recommend that you take a three day break and enjoy and explore the local restaurants and amenities of Japanese city life until it is safe enough to get back out on the trail.

While it may be true that this giant typhoon may adjust course and have minimum impact on Shikoku, your health and safety are not things to risk. So, please be prudent and smart and stay out of the weather for a few days.