It was an early morning for everyone at the temple for the morning ceremony at 6am sharp. Guests are invited to attend, although I don’t think it’s mandatory. Still, it was something I did not want to miss, so I got up at 5:30am after a very restful sleep.
On April 24, I bid Kyoto goodbye and moved on to Osaka. I mostly wandered around Kyoto for a bit and took the train to Osaka in the late afternoon.
As expected, Osaka felt utterly overwhelming. Kyoto had felt big and busy compared to quieter Shikoku, but Kyoto had nothing on Osaka, which is known for being a large, modern city that is a little crazy and a bit different.
To say that the days leading up to my departure for Japan were stressful was an understatement. First of all, the shoes I bought specifically for this trip weren’t fitting well, so I had to buy another pair last minute. Second, I got a jury duty summons! I had never in my life been summoned for jury duty, but of course it was going to happen during the biggest trip of my life. I had a week to sort it out before I left home, and luckily, I got the official call that I was excused from jury duty the day before I left. Third, I did a presentation about kimono with a friend of mine just days before my departure. And to top it all off, the day after, I caught a stomach bug (or food poisoning), woke up to promptly vomit on the floor, and had to call in sick for my last shift at work.
So, suffice it to say, I was kinda stressed and not at my happiest when I left home. I’m not going to lie, either, I was also really nervous. This is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this. I’m used to having everything planned out ahead of time, which is nearly impossible with this sort of trip. Not knowing how I’d manage was really weighing on me.
My name is Marianne and this is my journal about that time I decided to complete the 88 Temple Shikoku Pilgrimage. It was both the most difficult thing I've ever done and the most amazing thing I've ever done. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.