Sunday, March 31, 2013

Shikoku 88: Some Observations

Pilgrim on his way

The Shikoku Henro ("Shikoku 88") is an 88-temple pilgrimage around the island of Shikoku, Japan. The complete journey is about 750 miles.

It is particularly appealing to me the pilgrimage goes in a circle: when you reach temple 88 you are just a few miles from temple 1, but your mind is in a different place from when you started.

I notice pilgrims spend only a short time at each temple, perhaps just 15 minutes. This is about the journey.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Hike under the Sea, a Buzzcutter, and a Visit to TOTO

I grew up in an industrial town in the North of England. I love that town, and its attitude. I continue to visit it regularly.

Consequently I decided to spend a while in Kokura, a town in the north of Kyushu that has been described as "half industrial park." I dislike that description.

I arrived in Kokura off the bullet train late last night, and checked in to a business hotel. I blew all of $50 for a clean, compact, en suite room with wired Internet, and even a yukata (robe).

Today I was determined to prove to myself an ordinary Japanese town, with everyday people, can be a great place to visit. I was not disappointed, even though it rained all day.

I wanted to start with a hike. What could be better, when it's raining, than a hike under the sea?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Are you Trevor?

I always pace around departure areas, so today was no exception at the Busan ferry terminal.

A couple years ago, had I not been pacing around the Haridwar (India) station platform at 3:00 a.m. waiting for a train that never came, I might not have been spotted in the crowd by four backpackers. I would've missed the scariest, most invigorating car (jeep) ride of my life. Stuff like that makes me feel really alive.

Anyway, there I was,  doing the Busan Shuffle, when a Korean guy walked up to me, and asked: "Are you Trevor?"

"No, l'm not!" I quickly denied, while simultaneously increasing my pace.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Japan Framework 2013

Tomorrow I go to Japan. I need a plan for a plan.

The only fixed part of my "Japan Framework" is:
March 22: Hydrofoil from Busan, South Korea to Fukuoka (Southern Japan).
April 11: Check in to Sapporo New Chitose Airport hotel (Northern Japan)--I'm catching an early flight next morning.
April 12: Fly Sapporo to Tokyo, then nonstop to Minneapolis.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Suddenly it's Very Quiet in Lihue Airport

The airport is awfully quiet, apart from the sound of a vacuum cleaner. Most of the flights to the mainland have departed.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Travel Gear: Water Purification

Until recently, when we went back-country camping, we'd bring a lightweight camp stove. That meant safe water from streams, hot meals, and an unlimited supply of the best Kona coffee... ever. (We also brought a Melitta coffee filter cone.)

These days, when we back-country camp, we carry a very effective ultraviolet water sterilizer, which lets us save on weight by leaving the camping stove and accompanying paraphernalia at home.

No Kona coffee, no hot meals. Oh well.

You'll notice another item in the picture: a bottle of iodine pills to be used if the primary mechanism for sterilizing water fails. We've carried that same bottle for 25 years, but, mercifully have never had to use it.  The shelf life of those pills exceeds my expiration date.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Now and Then: Who was at the Kauai Marriott in January 2007?

March 14, 2013, Marriott, Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii Big Island
January 2007, Marriott, Lihue, Mom and Dad to be
We knew you were on your way, Caden. And in July 2007, we got to meet you for the first time. And the next year, 2008, we got to meet Davin. Wonderful memories.

Hawaii, Big Island, 2012

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Now and Then: Hiking the Kalalau Trail (1995)

2013: We've just hiked the Kalalau Trail for the fourth time.

1995: Here we are on the Kalalau back in our salad days:

Hiking the Kalalau Trail (2013)

March 11 and 12, 2013, our fourth time on the trail. Our first time was in 1988.