Japan – Good Friends Along The Way

Sunday, 05 June 2016.

Leaving Hiroshima was not easy.

For one, its tragic past was an ever-present reminder of the frailty of life and the regrettable folly of man. Yet the city, as with all of the cities I have encountered in Japan, holds a festive mood and a mutual joy of coming together with others, with progress, sustenance, and renewal being a common theme amongst them all.

For another, I had to leave Mai’s side, the girl I met in Beppu, which I so quickly, and effortlessly, became accustomed to. This is not common for me, I do not easily express my affection, in a physical manner, to someone who I am attracted to. Our interactions were natural and unforced, enjoying each others’ company and mutual embrace as if we were long-time friends. But alas, we had to part ways again. I am, however, ever-hopeful of the future and do not take lightly our encountered, and know I shall see her again.

As with the other places I have visited in Japan, I have made many good friends along the way, even though we only met for a short time, and I still keep in contact with some of them, because connections like these, of the heart and the mind, I truly cherish.

My plans had changed slightly in Hiroshima, staying an extra two days, for very good reasons, which means I will only be staying in Kobe for one day instead of two. Apart from that, I am still following my original route and plan, although my hike along the Nakasendo Way is still not adequately planned, for good reasons again I can assure you. Apart from my lack of planning, there is another concern I have about my upcoming trek to Tokyo and that is my back. I have been doing some exercise as I have been travelling, mostly pushups and Capoeira sequences, but in Hiroshima, even before that, I did not warm up properly and now the muscles in my back are in some serious pain, whenever I move my back in a certain way. I also think my heavy backpack that may have played a large part in this. Some rest and a few good stretching sessions will hopefully do the trick before I set off on my most epic of hikes.

And so, I have four days to spend in the Kansai region, first in northern Kyoto, at Amanohashidate, and then one day in Kyoto and one in Kobe. In Kobe, I want to try some Kobe Beef, if it is not too overwhelmingly expensive, and, if I do so, I am sure to write about it in my next post.

Until then.