I woke up, packed up and was on the road bright and early. Here are some views from the morning:
|It was heating up early|
|I'm not sure if Japan's neighbours would approve of such statues. I found this in the town of Inabe|
|They had decimated the side of this mountain|
|I took this before 10am and it was already stiflingly hot.|
It was the people who really made today interesting though:
First, this man stopped in his truck when he saw me to ask what I was doing out in the middle of nowhere and we chatted for a while in the middle of the road.
He was cutting wood as I walked past and was a bit shocked, but not unhappy, to see a foreigner walking pass. Although he was eighty eight years old, I could tell he was still really healthy. I asked him how he did it and he replied “I just don’t worry about anything.” Good advice. We talked about all the animals I had seen on the trail and told me if I saw a snake again to catch it and bring it to him because he loves the taste but had not eaten it for twenty years!
As far as I could tell, from around 11am my GPS map diverted me from the Tokai Shizen Hodo that was meant to run along the base of some mountains and instead took me on roads that ran through towns. I had planned to resupply at a supermarket that appeared on my map, but to my shock and horror this is what I found:
|I almost cried|
|Imagine the hundreds of ways those grains could be used to make various kinds of food, food I could have been eating if that bloody store had not been closed|
They couldn't believe I had walked from Tokyo and had a million questions for me, the most interesting being "where do I go to the toilet in the woods?" I showed them my trowel and explained to them I dig a hole, which they all found hilarious. They then wanted to see my hiking gear and try it out, to which I obliged:
I then said I had a question for them, "where is the nearest store I can get some food?"
"It's just down this road" one of them piped up, "we'll show you where it is." So my entourage and I set off down the back streets of rural Japan, and no sooner than twenty minutes later, at a convenience store I never would have found on my own, I was pigging out on all the food they had to offer.
I offered to buy them all something to thank them for showing me the store but they refused saying that it was fine. Such polite and respectful kids.
By the time I had finished pigging out it was around 3pm, and I stepped out of the air conditioned comfort of the store into a wave of heat. There was not shade to walk in, and I must have gone through two litres of water in two hours. So when I arrived in this small rice growing valley with no one but me in it, I decided to make use of the shade and nice green grass to have a rest. Sounds simple right? What could possibly go wrong?
|The valley in question|
|The grass in question|
I'm not going to mention all the places I got bitten, but lets just say it wasn't pretty. I washed all the clothes I had been wearing in the stream before I dared put them back on, the whole ordeal taking over forty minutes, with me being extremely careful I did not get attacked again. As I walked out of that valley wearing damp clothes, exhausted, disheveled and extremely itchy, I remember asking myself if that could have gone any worse? Maybe a large mammal attack would have topped it, but that was about all I could think of.
For the rest of the day I have been trying not to scratch my bites, something that has been incredibly hard to resist as scratching them feels so good, one hundred percent instant relief, but then when I stop the itching comes back two fold for the next few minutes driving me nearly insane.
A bit worse for wear and not in the best of moods I continued on, going wherever the GPS told me to go, and around 6:30pm I found this sports field that was perfect for camping:
|Don't worry, I thoroughly checked the grass for nasty bugs|
|I quickly got set up, wanting to forget the second half of the day|
|I managed to get a wash in too, and inspect the bites, not pretty|
|And at least my dinner was decent. I had packed in these two meals, rice and chicken, I bought at the convenience store earlier in the day|