The next night I arrive at a Minshuku again. There are a few other guests, but as soon as I’m showered and I sit in the main room at six o’clock expecting dinner I’m the only one there. Just while I’m sitting there and eat from a served bento box, another Japanese man sits down next to me and starts eating. He starts a conversation with the host, who is sitting down as well and I notice that they talk about me. During the past days I learned the Japanese word for German: “doiz”. Soon the one man faces me, asks politely in very bad English about my origin and invites me to drink with him.
At first, I thank him and refuse since I had a lot of alcohol already the last night when I met the small group of Canadians. But I notice that it would be very inpolite to refuse again after the man asks me to drink with him and the host once more.
His English improves with more beer and sake. He introduces himself as a teacher and that it’s his 20th time to walk the pilgrimage since he lives in a town nearby. He is friend to the host who starts playing guitar now and sings beautiful Japanese songs. It’s a very entertaining night and I cannot understand that the other guests are missing that.
The following day I am entirely calm and in peace with myself and the fact that I’m going alone through the mountains. Everything feels correct and I’m absolutely happy with myself. The thought of living and hermit’s life is very appealing in this moment while I walk through the fresh morning air and the cedar trees.
I’m not thinking that much anymore and the mind is clear. The feeling is an inner happiness, not joy or excitement, but just being happy to exist. Maybe I should never stop walking.
I walk through bamboo groves and overlook the valleys. More villages are to see in the distance and soon I approach them. At supper time I enjoy my last meal – some banana leaf packed rice balls –
before I arrive at the little shrine and a small information center which mark the beginning of the Kumano Kodo.
I enjoy green tea in a small tea house and get to talk with the owner. The lady loves her cat and motives and pictures of her appear everywhere. I have to wait quite a while for the next bus to take me to a train station,
but the woman offers to bring me there after a brief conversation. I reach a train and am on my way to Osaka sooner than I anticipated.