April 11, 2017
It rained all night. Waking up this morning, looking out over the forlorn landscape and watching more rain pelting down on the road we would follow, there seemed little hope for a pleasurable walk.
We sat down for our Japanese breakfast in the dining room of Kobushi-no-sato, a feast designed to take our minds off the weather. While we grilled fish over the open flame of a tabletop brazier, nature was relenting…somewhat. By the time we had suited up in our foul-weather garb and exited the comfortable confines of our inn, there was barely a drizzle. Continue reading
Today’s leisurely walk would take us to through the agricultural heartland of Kochi Prefecture. We were on our way to Kochi City for two day’s rest in one of Shikoku’s larger urban centers. Along the way, we will visit three more temples on the Henro-michi.
First comes Dianichiji, Temple 28, a modest complex brought to life on this early April morning by a burst of cherry blossoms.
Our route meanders through water-laden fields as workers busily go about planting a new crop of rice. Abutting the rice fields are row upon row of plastic greenhouses. Onions appear to be the crop of choice right now and the their pungent aroma envelopes us. There’s evidence of other crops as well. Through open doors of small warehouses and garages we notice red peppers, eggplants and and cucumbers being sorted and crated.
Gail and I are back to the coastline as we leave Aki. But not before passing some Rube Goldberg contraption of a type that only the Japanese could conceive. Four yellow orbs are suspended from a shiny stainless steel trunk. On the hour, chirpy music emanates from the device and each of the orbs opens to reveal….monkeys.
It’s a good introduction to the odd life that exists on that line straddling ocean and community. Everything suggests threat, from the pounding waves, to the ominous concrete barrier lining the coast, to the half-life of residences, shops and debris in the shadows of those protective walls.