Tokyo…and beyond!

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.  Continue reading

Tokyo Drift

In the lexicon of the Situationist movement, a drift (or more properly, dérive) is an impromptu walk that attempts to confound the established pathways and instructions designed for pedestrians.

Drifters follow their own senses. They create arbitrary instructions in order to see their world anew and in a way not prescribed by the pedestrian rule-book for navigating their surroundings. Why, for example, would one use a map of Winnipeg to navigate that city? Why not overlay a map of Paris to traverse Winnipeg’s streets and lanes and see the city from a different perspective?

Tokyo looks very anarchical to us western tourists. It is our first time here, in this unfamiliar place with its strikingly different cultural values. No maps of Tokyo or Paris needed here. Just a willingness to get lost. With little time to explore this vast city and a need to pack in a much sensory overload as possible, we set out on our adventure, happy to be swept away in the tsunami of Tokyo life.

What follows is a visual diary of Gail and David’s drift through Tokyo.  Continue reading

Shikoku: Tokyo Prelude

For two people about to embark on a Buddhist pilgrimage, Tokyo is the least likely starting point. It is the quintessential crazy cosmopolitan centre. The place you go to gasp at the outrageousness of urban life, where the rules of a country so tied to traditions explode in all sorts of non-traditional directions.

We had one day in Tokyo before shooting off on a speedy bullet train (Shinkansen) to Shikoku. Our approach was to visit two neighborhoods, one bound in tradition, the other moving well out of any historic straightjackets.

Continue reading