it was a strange day all around, with highs and lows.
It was moving day, so I spent
the morning packing--and frustrated as usual at getting a late
But then a nice thing happened.
The board of the Youth Hostel where I was staying had been
meeting all weekend in the Hostel. This morning, they
asked the usual questions--where are you going today, etc.
When one of them saw me getting ready to leave with my bags, he
offered to drive me to the station! I ended up having my
picture taken by another board member--in front of the Hostel's
sign--and got a great send-off, with board-of-directors members
waving as the car pulled away. I haven't had a send-off
like that since the party
on September 2nd.
dropped my bag at Higashi Okazaki station, train, and
finally I was walking at near-noon.
And it was raining.
Tonight I was surprised to
discover that I had only taken a whopping nine pictures all day.
And you won't even see half of those.
I guess when it's raining, I
keep the camera in the bag, so I take fewer random shots.
Also, I think you've had enough of the "this is what a
house on the Old Tokaido looks like" kind of picture, so
I'm saving myself for the unique.
Anyway, on with the show.
first thing that caused me to pull out the camera today was
this. It's a lovely garden with some statues. It's
also the site of a former temple. This started me thinking
about old sites, restoration, etc. The result of this
thinking is in today's journal.
continued up a very gradual incline until I came to a pass,
complete with Route 1 truck stop. Then the road led gently
downward toward Fujikawa.
the way I saw this pretty temple, Hozoji. I was thinking
about praying there, but decided to wait until Okazaki.
(This turned out to be a mistake.) Hozoji has a sign
claiming that as a boy Ieyasu studied there. One wonders
when, since he was sent to Shizuoka at the age of seven.
(See the September 20th Logbook
for more on Ieyasu's life.)
long, I reached Fujikawa. Now, this is a little confusing.
Back at Yoshiwara
I crossed the Fuji River, or Fujikawa. And here's a town
by that name, over 170 kilometers away.
Time for a little Japanese
lesson. This Fujikawa--the post station--uses a
character that means "wisteria." The river in
Yoshiwara uses the characters for the name of the mountain it
flows from, Mt. Fuji. So the first one, in Yoshiwara, was
the "Mt. Fuji River"; this one is "Wisteria
Japanese has a lot of sounds
which can be represented by different characters (we call these homophones
in English, like to, two, and too).
This means the language can be rich in puns and double meanings.
It means it can also be darned difficult to learn.
A side note: Having two places
with the same name is certainly not out of the question; how
many "Springfields" are there in America? But I
wanted to point out that--in this case--the names are not
the same, they just sound that way.
here I am for my official shot of Fujikawa, station
number 37 on the Old Tokaido. I'm standing in front of a
small museum, which they say used to be the waki honjin,
or secondary Daimyo's inn.
front of the same museum, close-up. Wow, after seeing the
waki-honjin in Maisaka,
this one seems a bit--small. The door was ajar, so
I slid it open, and no one was in. I took in the entire
"museum" at a glance: one room with some pictures, and
a showcase containing a model of the station. That was it.
I stepped out again.
Not to say that the shuku
itself isn't attractive. It did have a great,
Tokaido: Fujikawa, Station
the Old Tokaido
In this print we see a daimyo's
procession approaching from the right, and commoners bowing,
hats off, on the left. There is some speculation that this
is the actual procession that Hiroshige traveled in. The
Shogun and the Emperor exchanged gifts every year at the start
of August, in celebration of the harvest. The Shogun
usually sent horses. Hiroshige had joined the delivery
procession for the year 1832. He made his sketches along
the way, then finished them later, back home in Edo.
Trudge. Trudge. Trudge, trudge, trudge. In
intermittent rain. Only six-and-a-half K to Okazaki.
I actually got there in good time, but the best laid plans...
let me tell you what went right. Remember the "seven
turns" in Kakegawa?
Well, Okazaki is said to have twenty-seven! And the
town fathers haven't done too good a job of marking the route.
So it's confession time: I kind
of took the average through town, following a route down the
center. This saved time and frustration, and it allowed me
to see some interesting signs and statues along the way.
Some background on all these
turns: the usual interpretation is that they slowed down
attacking armies. But that seemed a little odd to me,
because it seems likely that the actual street grid existed;
it's just that these streets-and-turns were designated as
the "official road." Tokuriki (author of a
guidebook I'm using) suggests another answer. He says that when
two daimyo processions met, the retinue of the lower daimyo had
to give way--and pay respects to the higher daimyo. This
was an embarrassment. So when the road was windy, the
outrunners of the lower daimyo's train could see the higher
daimyo coming before his train saw them, and detour to avoid
embarrassment. This rings true to me.
Now, what went wrong?
Well, I couldn't find the temple where I wanted to pray.
And while I was looking, I got a phone call from
"home" (Tokyo) about some old business I needed to
deal with. And while I dealt with it, it got dark. I
had hoped to pray, get my official shot by the castle (which was
easy to find) and get some more miles covered before
dark. No such luck.
So I said your prayers at a
small shrine, Hakusan (White Mountain) Jinja, in the
"Shinto" style--which means no Buddhist chanting, just
your prayers. Then I caught a bus for Higashi Okazaki
station, picked up my bag, train, train, Youth
Hostel. And here I am in Nagoya.
I'll write about Okazaki more
It spat, sputtered, and
sprinkled off and on all day. Now it's pelting down
Noahically. Tomorrow might be--ah--interesting.