Sleeping at the road station was better than I thought, though the sky was getting light and the traffic picking up much earlier than I wanted. There then followed a day of occasionally getting lost and increasing leg pain. Some times I walked with Nohashi-san, sometimes I walked alone, sometimes I got shouted at for using the (apparently not public) toilet at a petrol station), such is life.
We met at the train station, both late after getting lost in Yokkaishi’s confusing streets, and headed for the sento (public bath). I’ve been to onsen, rotenburo and group ofuro before but this was my first public bath. Pay your yen (or get your friendly local hiker to) and undress right there in the foyer. Then go through to wash yourself before soaking in the hot tub. I’m getting quite used to the routine now, though this time the lady taking money was a new addition. The first tub was too hot. The second even hotter but the third was just right. I got in slowly and sat down and as I lowered my arms in my hands began shaking. My legs were at it too but much less. Finally my elbow hit the water and my whole arm was convulsing like I was holding an electric fence. I tested it again and found the closer I got to a strange panel on the side the stronger the shocks got. I was in the denki ofuro (electric bath). That’s a mean trick for us beginners!
Nohashi-san bought dinner again, but I managed to buy drinks and we took it all to this nice quiet park where we sat and talked for a while. Mt Chokai, his target, is in Amori prefecture, right at the top of Honshu. He’s walking a heck of a long way, it sure would be nice to bump into him again. He made a genuine effort to give directions to his house in Kobe and invited Tania and I to stay there. So, far from ‘winging it’, I’m already booking our holiday 3 months in advance.
Word of the day: denki = electricity