Wrapping up and looking ahead

Yesterday evening was the musical DVD viewing at Root Down in the city. Most of the cast could be there, as well as a few local ALTs and some Japanese friends; it was a good crowd and a fun gathering. Pinocchio really was a lot of fun, and I really have grown very attached to it. (The shark got a lot of cheers, which was nice!)

Afterwards, we went to Cassanova’s, an Ingrid’s-type karaoke/bar combination run by a Japanese guy. I sat down next to Chris (Pickles) to split the mic with him on “Unchained Melody,” and we had our arms around each other’s shoulders, and afterwards, slightly drunken him told me that he would really miss me next year and that I’m truly a pillar in the community–which I’m not, but it was a really sweet sentiment and I almost teared up at it. (Sally then asked him, “Hey, Chris, where’s my goodbye? Am I a pillar?” and Chris went, “Time will tell!” which I took as my cue to leave.)

Chris (Riedl) requested “Rocket Man” by Elton John for the departing ALTs, and I did cry. Sarah ended up our time there by requesting “Faith” by George Michael, in that we should have faith that we find jobs and make it work after we leave Japan; the song worked in theory, but I’m thinking the “Well, I guess it would be nice / If I could touch your body / I know not everybody / Has got a body like yours” part wasn’t quite what she intended.

Today was pretty low-key. Ashley and I went on an hourlong walk around Ikeda, and then I decided to drive out to check out Kanonji, #69 on the pilgrimage, in southwestern Kagawa-ken. It turns out that Kanonji and Jinnein, #68, made up a kind of dual-temple, so I was able to visit both. I drove around a bit more and discovered #70, Motoyamaji, not too far away. #67 was also close by, but I’ll save that for another time. I took the local roads over to Kawanoe in northeastern Ehime, browsed shirts at Uniqlo (another reason to do the pilgrimage: lose some serious weight) and went grocery shopping at Jusco, and here I am.

I put together a map with the list of the temples I’ve visited so far. I actually haven’t been to many–my interest in visiting them has been a more recent thing, I guess. It definitely would’ve been easy to do a sweep of all the temples in and around Tokushima City…well, oh well. The one I know I want to visit before I leave Japan is Ryozenji in Naruto, so I can stock up on pilgrimage information. I really am not joking when I say that the 1400-km pigrimage is something I want to do–and yes, on foot, though maybe in two or three trips–in my lifetime.

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