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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walking-hero.net Wow.

I think that there are a lot of people out there who fancy themselves a good photographer. Taryn Bravo will make you think twice about that. The photos on his site, of those of the pilgrimage are stunning. I found myself spending a lot of time looking through the incredible work throughout. Very talented.

One more thing that makes Taryn’s work even better here is he includes a very extensive and descriptive Gear List on his site. Walking outdoors for a couple months straight can be rough, so you got to get ready and have good gear to make the best of it.

Highly recommended site. Very articulate and interesting writer!

https://www.walking-henro.net/

Dym Sensei and Youtube

I would like to introduce to you one of the most prolific Youtube Ohenro I have ever seen. This is Dym Sensei, and his channel is a wealth of all sorts of information regarding Japanese legend, folklore, and Noh theatre. I am just beginning to scratch the surface of his site, but it is DEEP. He is a professor of Japanese history at Sacramento State University, and a tremendous resource of information. Watching a ton of his Ohenro videos I am seeing how he is also a very good and patient teacher. It comes through his commentary and is quite enjoyable to watch.

Check out the channel at: https://www.youtube.com/user/Dymsensei/featured

His Ohenro Channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Dymsensei/featured

Dr. Ludvik and The Shikoku Pilgrimage

Here is a new and excellent article on the Shikoku 88 Buddhist Temple Pilgrimage:

https://kyotojournal.org/culture-arts/journeys-of-reverence-a-daughter-and-mothers-decades-on-the-shikoku-henro-pilgrimage/?fbclid=IwAR3EvNRc1ae7gxWGs6aMybACzsdOwXjLzceHKPXFksHh3MWpmgyWG0N3N34

Very intelligently written, and a beautiful testament to a mother and daughter life on the Shikoku Pilgrimage. I was going to write “experience” or “journey”, but that sounds too lightweight for what these two women have done over the years. Professor Ludvik and her mother have walked the pilgrimage more than a dozen times, not like this chucklehead who only did it by bus, and that was on the weekends over the course of a year.

There are some serious people who come to walk the paths of Kukai, and I am absolutely fascinated by their stories. I am tempted to pledge that I too will one day do it on foot, but such promises ought not be made lightly. Walking the pilgrimage and enduring that kind of suffering is no easy matter.

I might do it on motorcycle though…

Thank you Dr. Ludvik for the great article, and the beautiful photography within. The writing is excellent. By all means, please read the article to see how a serious ohenro gets it done.

Taken from the Kyoto Journal article, Dr. Ludvik’s bio:

CATHERINE LUDVIK obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Toronto and teaches Japanese religion, visual arts, and culture at the Stanford Program in Kyoto, Doshisha University, and Kyoto Sangyo University. Spanning Indian and Japanese religions and their visual arts, her research interests focus on the metamorphoses of the originally Indian goddess Sarasvatī/Benzaiten in the texts, images and rituals of Japan (see KJ62), as well as on the circumambulating practice (sennichi kaihōgyō) of the monks of Mt. Hiei and the Shikoku Henro pilgrimage.

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