“How many mountains, how many rivers
Are still to be crossed before I gain
The land where loneliness comes to an end?
Today, as ever, I travel on.” – Wakayama Bokusui (1885-1928).
[Trans. by Miyamori Asataro. From “Hiroshigue’s Tokaido in Prints and Poetry”, 1957).
I seriously considered returning to Samboin, the garden where I couldn’t photograph, but was daunted by the thought of climbing those two terrible steps where I needed so much help. I wandered back to the shopping area stopping at a shop that sold lovely bamboo objects, several fabric shops and another paper store where I bought a small roll of paper, about 10 inches high and 5 yards long. Maybe I can make a book with it. There was all kinds of wonderful paper, but again, nothing that tempted me to struggle getting it home.
Spent the entire day walking around, again more walking than I wanted to do. Tomorrow I’ll be on the train most of the day, so I can rest then.
I bought a few other small gifts. I find it difficult to bring back souvenirs. So-called traditional Japanese crafts are too expensive; the cheaper stuff is terrible junk. There isn’t much here you can’t buy at home.
The last place I wandered into was a shop that sold canes, an amazing range of canes from colorful sticks with ordinary handles and fancy handles with plain sticks, including metal animal heads, handles and sticks with lots of bling, and a really great one with a light on the handle. If it wasn’t 30000 yen, I would have bought it on the spot. I’ve been using Arvin’s cane and I enjoy the fact it was his and I can use it. The proprietor of the shop told me it was a tall man’s cane. Arvin was 6 feet. I didn’t know canes came in so many different sizes.
I am sad to leave. I have enjoyed the entire six weeks. But I will be happy to see my family and friends.