I’ve been here before but I don’t remember it. I was 9 months old and couldn’t do much more than balance let alone march out 40km days through the industrial lands that crowd the coast here. This is Iizuka-san’s home, the mother of my aunt’s university friend that became a family friend as mum, dad, Josephine (big sister) and I dropped in on our way to Europe in 1981.
I left Nohashi-san at the park in Yokkaishi. His parting gesture a few loops on the high-bar. He’s just retired from being a physical education teacher and still has it. I tried to avoid route 23 and its continuous line of trucks and vans as much as possible. I had to use it to cross several of the water-ways and as the traffic thundered past I felt the pavement swaying beneath me. It is really quite disconcerting when something you assume to be totally rigid can bounce up and down so much. If it’s doing that all day every day I have to worry how long it can last.
I did get small breaks and took roads between rice fields which lightened my day a bit but mostly I kept moving to reach Iizuka-san’s apartment.
She’s a lovely lady that remembers me as a blonde-haired baby with eyes like a blue lake (her words not mine). She showed me some family photos mum must have sent her and we communicated mostly in Japanese with a dictionary near-by. The hardest things to understand were totally unexpected english words like “sea tangle” (kelp) and, when we had been talking about birthdays at Cape Soya, “crab meat”.
After a feast of a dinner I went to bed and started recovering from another long day. I’m getting more serious about completing this walk with 100 days and I feel breaks like this are going to be very important. I may beat myself to a pulp out there on the roads but I repair pretty quickly when I’m indoors.
Word of the day: san-gyo = industry