Decisions.

I’ll get right to the point.

Due to the broken foot and the cast I cannot complete the pilgrimage in the way I originally intended.  So 88 Temple Pilgrimage by bike is no go.  My leg no longer has the strength, and the cast puts rather unpleasant pressure on my shin-bone while I ride a bike, I tried it for short distances and it was clear that this challenge is closer to the impossible.

I could do the Henro by car, I could do it by bus, or even taxi if I wanted to.  But I don’t.  I feel cheated, and doing it in a way other than my planned and practiced way would be cheating myself.  It’s like saying I will write a book and in the end have someone else write it.  So instead I will sit this one out, I will heal and move on, and then some years down the line, maybe after I graduate and become a doctor, I will return and do the Henro my way.

If things happen for a reason, maybe this was meant to happen this way.  As to why, well who knows! Maybe somewhere down the line I’ll know.  For all I know now, this may have saved my life from some weirdo trying to kill me during my solo ride.  Let’s not dwell on what if’s and be glad that I still have the capacity to do this some other time.

This will probably be the last update on this, at least for a few years.  Thank you all for the support and encouragement.  Let’s try again some other time.

Cheers!

-C.Maximus!

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Send Me Good Vibes

For a short time there, when I got my cast, I felt crushed and defeated and kind of heavy and dragged down… possibly because the cast is heavy and slows me down.  But also because of the doctor’s attentions to my needs. Hey, not those needs, minds out of the gutter!

First I waited two hours to have an X-ray taken and be told that my foot was broken.  Thanks, I knew that as I had already brought my own X-ray (in the same orientation and zoom as they took) from my preferred doctor.  Then I get talked about while sitting in the room and as if I wasn’t there, without once being talked to about what was to happen.  I waited another two hours to be called back in the room to get the cast on, and get a full leg cast almost to my knee.  Was that really necessary? Couldn’t I have gotten away with a half cast, I still wouldn’t have been able to move my ankle, and thus the rest of my foot.  Finally, I asked the doctor about the possibility of doing the Henro, and he says, “[hissing sound made when no direct answer is coming] um…well… [more hissing sounds]”  The nurse behind him gets tired of the round-aboutness and says, “むり!!”  That felt very crushing.

Four hours of waiting to get a full cast, and to be told “impossible,” I was not happy.  This has truly become a challenge you know.  Six days later, today, I was back to the doctor to get my cast changed.  I refuse to stay at home resting and doing nothing, as I can put weight on the cast thanks to the heel attachment for that purpose, and it doesn’t hurt.   I wish this was a waterproof cast though, river and casts don’t mix well.  The plastic bag that was covering the cast, and all the duct tape around it didn’t help, as such the inside of my cast became rather soggy and irritating.  The doctors weren’t happy with that.

A week after breaking my foot I’m feeling more optimistic about my chances of doing the Henro…by bike.  I’m still waiting another week, my next visit to the doctor, to fully decide if it’s really a good idea or not.  Despite how much I want to do this, I will not jeopardize my health for it, I do not want to cause some permanent damage to my foot or anything of the sort.  But for now, the plan continues with change of dates!

On with the healing!! Send me good vibes.

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The new challenge.

It was a dark and stormy night… no really it was.  My last soubetsukai [goodbye party] completed, it was time to ride my way home.  It was night, and it was pitch black outside with no streetlights as is the usual for my little country area.  It was my first time on this tiny road, that just so happens to have a slope, but I knew where I was and where I was going; which wasn’t enough to prevent what happened next.

As I came down the slope on my bicycle, on this lovely wet slope, I noticed– thanks to my bike light– a hip-height chain-link fence; the road had this nice idea to dogleg to the right.  I wasn’t going that fast, but fast enough that a head-on collision with said fence would have sent me doing a bit of a Superman move.  So I tried turning and breaking to avoid my lovely obstacle, and hydroplaned sideways into my fence, I figured I’d call it my own as I had marked it so violently.

The first thought through my mind (sadly enough) was, “oh damn! did I damage the bike?! Can I still do the Henro on it?!” and then I noticed the intense pain shooting up my left foot.  I valiantly hopped back on my bike, home wasn’t that far off anyway.  I made it quite far before I decided it would be a smart idea to get off the bike, not so smart to do it in the middle of the road, but I was ready to pass out.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I got taken home by some friends, iced my foot, and went to bed.  The next morning, today as a matter of fact, I went to the hospital to get my foot x-rayed and checked out.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words:

Oops!

I really love the picture though.

This is the first time I have ever broken a bone, and to be spectacular about it, I break three.  Go me! And trust me, the alternative with that fence would have been much worse, I’ll take this! The doctor is sending me to an orthopedic tomorrow where I will have minor surgery to set the bones and get pins and needles or something attached to them.

The amazing part about this accident is that I have absolutely no bruises, or scratches, or bumps, or anything else anywhere on the foot or the rest of me to show for it! Just them  broken bones.  Hurt like hell non the less.

The question everyone now asks isn’t “Are you ready?” Now it’s, “Can you do the Henro?” “How will you do the Henro?” “What of the Henro?”  Yeah, I’m still working on that.  As I said, I like challenges, this just makes it more challenging.  I will still do the Henro, I have 20 days to heal up and work this out! But one way or another, I will do this trip.

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Am I ready?

I’m now down to the last 25 days before starting the Shikoku 88 temples pilgrimage on my bicycle, and the question that I keep hearing is, “Are you ready?”

Physically, I’m as ready as I can be considering that I work everyday, and I’m in the process of packing up my apartment for the return to the States.  I have been training on and off since May, but a few minor injuries prevented me from keeping a steady schedule.  I ride at least 20 kilometers each day, usually a bit more, and in the pannier bags I have an extra ten kilograms (22 pounds) to simulate all the things that I might carry.  I’m thinking of having less than that, it should be doable.  I’ve also been training with riding up hills and mountains, and that’s really the main concern.  Distance-wise I know I can do it, but adding the stress of the mountains is what will exhaust me.

Mentally, I’m as ready as I can be.  I am very possitive about this whole thing, I know I can do it.  Furthermore, as I have already said that I will do it, I will do it just so I don’t have to swallow my words and back down from this promise.

Materials-wise, I almost got everything I need.  The Board of Education I work at was kind enough to get me most of the henro stuff I will need, like the henro vest [hakui], the prayer book  and beads, the stampbook [noukyouchou], the stole [wagesa], the nameslips [osame-fuda], and the travel bag for all that [zudabukuro].  All that added up to more than 1man (about 100 dollars).  Now I just need the sedge hat [sugegasa] and the staff [kongouzue] and I’ll be set! I can buy those at the first temple.

My bike is mostly ready.  I just need a new front wheel, and new front breaks. Oh and a helmet would be nice.  Going downhill at 50 kilometers per hour without protection is kind of scary, I’m just waiting for some car to pull out in front of me and send me flying!

I have also arranged for places to stay throughout the pilgrimage, there were many kind people (mostly other ALT’s throughout Shikoku island) that have offered to help me in this journey.  Thank you all very much, it means a lot to me.

In short, I am ready! And the closer the start date gets, the more excited I am.  Start date is August 7th, by the way.

Let’s Shikoku 88!!

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The first step…

Well, not the first physical step of the journey… but yeah, you get my drift!

This site is currently under construction! Shikoku 88 temples pilgrimage here I come! Countdown, 25 days to start!

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