“Kisawa huddled in the early morning shade. The marigold bellies of high clouds dragged across the shimmering mountaintops. We walked uphill on ridges of ice and climbed into the wintry sunshine. Goldfish frolicked in an aquarium under a solid crust of ice. Rows of persimmons hung from the eaves, their skins glowing, their forms shadowed on the walls behind them.”
On the dreadfully cold morning of January 27, my fingers half-numb with the cold, I stood by a fence and tried to compose a photo of a row of persimmons in the dull light of the Sakashukito Valley. Just as I was about to give up, the clouds broke, and the landscape revealed one of the tanka poems that the book’s future editor @miouvicioso had sent me before I left on my journey: よるべなみ身をこそとをくへだてつれ心は君が影となりにき. In English translation, it reads:
“No way to draw near —
My body, by great distance
Is parted from you;
Yet my heart to you
Is as a shadow.”
It was one of the hardest sentences to get right, and it took about a dozen iterations until this thousand-year-old poem became the last sentence of the opening paragraph of the fifth chapter. It also happens to contain the only factual error in the book I’m aware of: persimmons are peeled before they’re hung up to dry.
You’re reading a day-by-day account of the five hundred kilometer foot journey in Japan which is the subject of “The Wilds of Shikoku”, my first book. In the sixteen days between January 24 and February 8, the time of the walk one year ago, I will be posting some excerpts from the book with previously unpublished photos. Copies of “The Wilds of Shikoku”, a volume of thirty six very large pages in a limited edition of 500, are available for purchase at the link in the bio.
📷: @gyulasimonyi + @ilovewastingink
#japan #shikoku #tokushima #walking #japanwalk #walkingbook #thewildsofshikoku #thewildsofshikokurevisited #🗾