It’s May 4, 2017. Our last day in Japan. The end of our too brief two-day visit to Tokyo. Tonight we head to Narita Airport on our way back to Winnipeg.
But Gail and I are not yet done with Japan. In just one week from writing this blog post, October 27, we will be returning to Japan once more, briefly stopping in Tokyo before flying to Matsuyama on Shikoku island. There, we will resume our Henro long-distance walk, starting in nearby Ōzu, where we left off on April 22. We will continue our pilgrimage around the island for another 425 kilometres, taking in Temples 44 to 88 before returning to Temple 1. (more…)
Yes, the area was invaded by the Mongols in 1274. Yes, there are the ruins of the 1603 Fukuoka Castle. And, true enough, we are staying in the very traditional Ryokan Kashima Honkan, a delightfully creaky old building.
But this is a back story quickly lost among the sleek towers of the city. This is Japan’s fifth largest city. It’s the place to come if you are a start-up company. The buildings are shiny, modern, new and Western. It’s a place to shop, to eat, to have fun.
We’ve just arrived in Tokushima, a mid-sized city on the eastern tip of Shikoku, the smallest and least populated of Japan’s four major islands. This will be our jumping-off point for our on-again, off-again long-distance Buddhist pilgrimage walk around the island. (More about that as our journey progresses.)
If you have enjoyed my previous Ramen Rambles posts, I am pleased to announce that they have just been released in book form.
Ramen Rambles – the book – is the latest in my series of compact, self-published books available through the on-demand publisher, Blurb Books. This is the fourth in a string of publications devoted to walking methodologies and resultant photographic observation. Fourth in what will be an extensive series of books that, I hope, will cumulatively become an extensive collection entitled An Encyclopedia of Walking (or something snappier).
Like the other three books this one is a soft cover 7” x 7” format but a bit longer, weighing in at 148 pages. The cost is higher than the others. Check my Blurb Bookstore for details.
So why would anyone want to purchase Ramen Rambles, the book? Here are six good reasons: (more…)
I don’t over-estimate the importance of these five rambles in search of ramen. They are simple self-propelled journeys through the ordinary lands of my city in search of ordinary bowls of soup.
When I use the word ‘ordinary’ I mean to say that the ingredients are just that. Garage doors, railway tracks, shopping carts, trees. Broth, noodles, pork, egg.
The act of walking is ordinary too. It’s the most basic, primitive means of human locomotion. It requires no machinery, no device to make it possible. No bikes. No cars. Just a pair of shoes. Not even that if I was more of a walking aesthete. (more…)
There should be nothing surprising about today’s walk to St. Boniface for a bowl of ramen at Dwarf no Cachette. These are well-trod, familiar paths between home and downtown and, just beyond that, St. Boniface. I’ve spent years and years trekking up and down Portage Avenue, taken thousands of ambles through Wolseley, West Broadway, Downtown and the Exchange District. There is a comfortable numbness that can set in to a walk through familiar territory. An expectation of what we know lies around the corner rather than the surprise and delight or trepidation over a new discovery around an unknown corner.
I need to rediscover, re-explore, re-think as I walk to St. Boniface. It’s an unusually warm day for February in Winnipeg. A delicate mist veils distant buildings. Overcast skies flatten the scene. Perhaps this will help the seeing process. (more…)