Hi, everyone. 🙂
I’m going back to Japan for 2 months, and this — my blog from my 2 years on the JET Program a decade ago — seems like the perfect venue for chronicling my travels.
This time around, I’m doing the Shikoku 88-temple pilgrimage: a ~750-mile circuit of the 4th-largest island of Japan (the one where I lived). I have about 6.5 weeks to do as much as I can, from February 27 to mid-April. Preferably I want to walk as much as I can, but I’m not athletic enough and I haven’t trained enough, so trains/buses/taxis will also factor in.
It’s been a shamefully long time since I’ve written anything longform, so I’m a bit rusty. I also don’t know if I’ll feel up to writing regularly, due to how physically strenuous the trip will be (and because typing on an iPad is a pain). I’ll have a physical journal/sketchbook with me, so that, combined with Twitter and Instagram, may make this into a low-key transmedia storytelling experience. And I aim to augment these posts with a map describing where I am.
As a user experience designer, there’s some expectation of a clean, well-designed blog representing myself…and this won’t be that. Form follows function, right? And this will be largely functional. I want to document my experience, first and foremost.
Anyway, it’s less than 48 hours until I depart for Tokyo. From Tokyo I’ll fly to Takamatsu, the 2nd-largest city on Shikoku, and spend the night in Tokushima City before starting the pilgrimage the following morning. The first few temples are in the town of Naruto (yes, I do believe the anime character is named after it), ~30 minutes north.
The route will be flexible. I’ll go largely in order — there are some points where going out-of-order makes the route shorter and more manageable — in a clockwise circuit around the island. I’ll figure out where I’m staying each night as I go. This isn’t a camping trip; while there may be a few nights where I sleep more-or-less outdoors, largely I’ll aim to stay in inns and whichever temples offer lodging.
And I’ll be sure to report on the experience of being a vegetarian hiker, and a nonwhite hiker, and potentially a nonwhite female hiker (intersectionality, etc.). Living in Japan as a vegetarian isn’t so bad if you have a kitchen…which I won’t.
For now, back to packing and prepping; the decade since I last updated this site hasn’t seen me become any less of a procrastinator. 🙂