Day 66 – The Chūgoku 33 Temple Kannon Pilgrimage, Japan -The Last Day Of Our Pilgrimage, And Thoughts About Health And Longevity
It feels a little sad to have finished walking the pilgrimage.
We loved the long days of walking, and loved seeing all the wonderful places that the journey took us.
But we have now completed the journey, and on our last day we walked around the city of Tsuyama.
Tsuyama is a castle town, although not much remains of the original castle.
The walls are original and they have rebuilt one of the towers.
We walked around the Castle Park area, and then around the old Machiya streets.
There are two historic areas around the Castle area, called the Joto (Eastern side) and the Josai (Western side).
The houses in the area were built during the Edo period, and some have now been renovated, and are home to a few small cafés serving mostly lunch, along with a few shops.
Although the day was cloudy, there were no thunderstorms as predicted and the day felt much less hot.
We spent our last night in Tsuyama resting in the hotel’s Spa.
They have a top floor with loungers both indoors and outdoors, and unlimited free coffee and vinegar drinks, which I love and also find to be healthy.
After soaking in the hot springs, we sat upstairs in the lounge and read our book on our iPads.
It felt strange not to be planning tomorrow’s walking route…
We talked about how walking this pilgrimage has felt to us, and how it differed from walking the Shikoku pilgrimage.
The biggest difference is that I felt more energized, and not exhausted.
I have a feeling of well being, and even of being relaxed and well rested.
It is a big improvement, that I think comes from learning to better conserve my energies during the walking days.
I did not finish the days as tired and exhausted as I have in the past.
I got to the end of each day, still feeling strong.
It is awesome how we are progressing and getting better at long distance walking…
The next day we had a very early breakfast and took the early train to Okayama and then the super express Shinkansen to Hiroshima.
The super fast Shinkansen train almost flew through the landscape that we had walked thorough so slowly, just two months ago….
I looked through the windows as the scenery zoomed by… it all looked so surreal….like it has all been a dream…. this is how the years that go by feel to me…. they zoom by and feel like a fleeting dream.
This is why I am a big believer that you should live your life NOW, and not delay or defer things for the future.
Make your dreams come true now, and go for it…. do not hesitate, nor allow seeming setbacks to prevent you from living your dreams.
In Hiroshima, we were delighted to see that our stored luggage and the boxes we shipped to the hotel to hold for us from the road, were all waiting in our room.
We went to buy some things that we will need for the beach in Okinawa.
We bought a swimming cap and goggles for me, since I plan to go swimming daily, and a snorkeling mask, beach shoes, shorts, beach hat and things like that, that we did not bring with us on our walking pilgrimage.
A few days later:
Okinawa is an entirely different island, that does not feel at all like you are still in Japan.
It feels more like Hawaii, with almost the same food and lots of tourists.
In fact, until the late 1800’s it was not part of Japan at all, but an island kingdom of its own.
It was annexed in the year 1879.
The Ryukyu kingdom is mostly destroyed, with only a few ancient ruins dotting the big island and some old written records by visitors describing the islands.
The living natives of the original ancestors of the kingdom are taller and have a beautiful brown skin color, and are built more like Polynesians than like Japanese people.
Okinawa and the Ryukyu islands, are considered one of the “Blue Zones” on planet Earth.
A Blue Zone is a description of places on earth in which the residents live longer and healthier lives.
Sardinia in Italy and the Ryukyu islands are at the top of the Blue Zone list.
The research goes on to describe that the reason for these places having so many healthy people living in their 100’s, is clean air and a clean environment, combined with a healthy natural diet, demanding or hard physical daily work, and a sense of community and purpose.
We have been to Okinawa and the surrounding islands before.
I have been thinking about this Blue Zone research for over a decade now, as we travel around the world.
I have met healthy older women in remote places in Malaysia and Thailand, Cambodia and Japan.
I can tell you that it is not environment nor diet that are the main influencing factors.
In Okinawa, they eat lots of pork.
Yes, they also eat purple yams and sweet potatoes, but their diet is not ideal.
In the USA, a woman living in her 110th year, was recently asked what is the secret of her health and longevity.
She said: “Every day of my life, I eat a breakfast of eggs with bacon, and a lunch of ham and Coca-Cola.
My doctors all told me that this food will kill me, but they all died before me and I have to keep on finding new doctors to check my health once a year.”
So what do I believe to be the secret of longevity in those places?
Very simply, these islands were so remote and isolated, that nobody told them they were supposed to get old, become senile, have chronic illnesses and die young.
If you think I am joking, I am really not.
Living in the USA is a poison for healthy living and thinking.
You are exposed to constant bombardment of sales calls trying to sell you medications, health and sickness insurance and illness prevention.
Since Jules reached the age of 65, we have been receiving constant recorded phone calls saying: “Do you have aches and pains, looking for a solution?….”
It is really a burden and a hassle to deal with constant reminders that you are getting old.
Here in these islands before the annexation, the locals stayed healthy because they continued to live the same healthy and physically demanding lives they had always lived, although it is no longer true nowadays.
People drive everywhere and do not walk, they do not go swimming for their seafood, they eat too much food and watch too much tv, which propagates wrong ideas and brainwashes us all to think that we must get old and decrepit.
Do not listen to these messages!
Your body always listens to everything you believe and think.
Affirm that life is eternal and that you have a birthright to be healthy, beautiful and young.
Do not participate in the mass illusion and collective lies…
Stay strong in body and mind!
You CAN do it!
With blessings and love,
Last day Stats:
12 km. walked
3 hours active walking
Total time – 5 hours.
Total distance walked on the Pilgrimage – 1308.5 km.