Today finishes my second week in Japan and this morning I received a message from my amazing friend Eva. She, her two wonderful children and her husband live in Chiba, kind of close to Tokyo. She has been watching over me secretly since I arrived and because this season is known to be more unsteady in terms of the weather she has been monitoring the weather forecast diligently.
Let me put it this way, if you look at the picture you will see the forecast for a typhoon, which translates as a huge wind. It was one of those, that kept Genghis Khan from invading Japan, which is, why it is also known as a wind sent by the gods or kamikaze.
So who am I to contest this god sent phenomena. The rain alone might not have stopped me from walking, but the fact that this part of the route has hardly any infrastructure, plus a ferry to be taken, made my decision rather easy. On top of that the place I am staying at is really nice and cheap!
Though Kochi is the capital of this prefecture, it is a rather typical modern Japanese style influenced city, in other words: not very pretty to look at. But… it has one of those malls with a roof, which makes the fact, that I had to leave the hostel this morning bearable and it gives me a different way of reconnecting with my former Japanese lifestyle and experience.
I have the chance to observe and stroll and if the weather decides to change at least from pouring and storming to just rain, I might even be able to get to one of the temples which is close to city center and can more or less be reached by public transport, which helps.
Here are some things I always wondered and always will wonder about:
How do people manage in such conditions to ride a bike while holding an umbrella above their head?
Why would anyone wear other shoes than Wellies or Flip-flops (I am so glad I brought them) if the water is nearly ankle high?
Why is it still, that women on Japanese television are submissive and talk in these freaking high voices, that make my ears bleed (has not changed a bit since I came here first 26 years ago)?
Though around noon it no longer seems to become a typhoon it is still pouring. About an hour ago I suddenly stood in front of the castle museum and was amazed. The architecture is great and why not get some historical knowledge under my belt. It started promising and through a video (in Japanese I might add) I learnt quite a bit about the way these castles and especially Kochi castle were built. But the exhibition itself was rather small, considering, that they claim to have 68000 pieces. Anyway, I remembered more about Japanese history than I thought and gave a thankful nod to Walter Giesen, (read here)
I am debating my next moves. The sun tries very hard …
So around 13:00 the rain stopped -more or less- and I took a leap of faith. Taking the bus to the base of the hill I had to climb in order to get to temple 31. In one of the guide books was something written about steps and I was confident that with my light walking gear I would do just fine.
Well, on the bus I had a pleasant surprise: the very first female bus driver I have ever seen in Japan. Funnily enough it was her again on the bus back.😆
Now, there are steps and there are steps. These were of the sort: if you can’t climb me, not my problem. Water running down the hill, they were covered in moos, it was at least challenging. The thought of taking that way back was actually frightening. Luckily, there was also a road back to the main street, so I was able to enjoy the hike, somewhat. And as you might guess correctly, the rain started the moment I entered the temple grounds.
Nevertheless, it is a warm and soothing summer rain, even if heavy and sitting under a roof watching the temple grounds has something relaxing to it.
So all in all It was a day well spent. The only bad thing was, that I went into a bookshop and could not buy a single book😢.