Day 46 – Ebino To Satsuma Golf Resort, And Reflections About The Two Meanings Of The Floating World, The Kyushu 108 Temple Pilgrimage, Japan

Day 46 – Ebino To Satsuma Golf Resort, And Reflections About The Two Meanings Of The Floating World, The Kyushu 108 Temple Pilgrimage, Japan

This morning we got up before sunrise, at 5:45 am.
Our host at the farmhouse was already up and she gave us hot tea and packed a hot breakfast for us.

Before we left, we took some photos together with our fabulous and very talented host at the old farm.
She also wanted a memory photo with us, dressed in our cowboy hats, and we were happy to pose for her.

We walked along the rice fields and canals for about an hour, to the train station.
The train station was decorated with wooden furniture by a local carpenter who was trying to sell his woodwork, and had catalogs of his furniture on display.

The train was really old, and it had almost no customers going southwest.
The uniformed high school kids that we saw at the train station all traveled east towards their schools.

The train took us to Kurino station, where the bus to Arata was waiting.
The bus driver was very surprised to see foreigners, and asked us where we were going.
A lady who spoke good English told us to be prepared for a day of climbing, as our hotel, which is a golf resort, is located on the summit of a mountain.
She sighed and said it will be hard climbing.

The walk was pleasant, through rural villages and farmland.
These villages have no services nearby, no banks, no shops, no restaurants.
Occasionally, we saw a closed bank or a closed ramen restaurant, some old and dilapidated farm houses that had fallen into disrepair, after the owners had passed away.
These rural farm houses in remote off the map villages, have no real estate value.
Nobody wants to live here and the houses are not worth repairing.

It made a big difference that we had shipped ahead more than half of the contents of our backpacks, as the lighter weight made it much easier to negotiate the steepest parts of the walk.

Before we started walking, we bought some rice balls and bananas at a convenience store, but we were making good time and it looked like we would be able to eat a hot lunch at the golf resort.
But then came the serious climb.
It was so steep that we had to stop every hundred steps, and then we stopped every sixty steps until finally we made it to the top of the mountain, and saw a parking lot full of cars, and a beautiful golf course that stretched over a huge plateau, with blue lakes and evergreen trees.

The process of checking in went very smoothly, because the CEO of the resort, a woman who was originally from Tokyo, came over to speak to us.
She said that we were the first Western tourists she has ever seen at the resort.
The resort usually hosts guests from South Korea, because there is a direct flight from Seoul to Kagoshima.
Currently, there was a group of Koreans who had come to play and work on their skills.
There were also many Japanese people, including groups of women who had come to golf together, soak in the hot springs and dine.
The resort also has two big swimming pools and five tennis courts.

We asked her if we could arrange to have dinner for the two nights we would be staying there, because beside the resort, there was absolutely nothing around.

We had a hot lunch in the restaurant, and then we went to soak in the hot springs.
The hotel also provides laundry machines for guests, so we did our laundry while soaking in the Onsen.

Staying here would allow us to visit one of our temples which is located only 8 km from here, although we would still need to climb back up the mountain tomorrow when we return from the temple, because there are no buses going up here.
And then when we depart from here, we will visit our next temple and walk from there to our next hotel.

We rested in the early evening until dinner.
Dinner was basic and good.
We had miso soup, steamed rice, grilled Mackerel, a salad, pickles and cooked lotus root.
It wasn’t a feast like what was served to the other guests who had made prior arrangements.
But it was satisfying and plenty of food for us.

As I saw the Koreans feasting on huge amounts of food and large mugs of beer, which were being refilled frequently, I thought about the world of decadence and endlessly seeking pleasures.

Seeing some of these big men with their big egos, I thought about the many Japanese women nowadays who choose to remain single or never remarry if their husband passes away or if they get divorced. Some don’t even want to have sex again.
Seeing the decadence, it is easier for me to understand these women.

For hundreds of years, Japan was dominated by clans of men with big egos, who treated women like property or used them to satisfy their enormous appetites.

The industry of prostitution and entertainment that sprouted up in every city in Japan to satisfy those men was called “The Floating World”.

The term “Floating World,” or Ukiyo in Japanese, originated from the Buddhist phrase referring to the suffering of the physical world.
The term “sorrowful world” refers to the earthly cycle of constant death and rebirth and all the gamut of sufferings it brings, from which Buddhists seek release.

The Buddhist concept that the world is a floating illusion and full of suffering became the idea of a floating temporary world, which one must indulge and enjoy to the maximum.

The phrase was inverted from Ukiyo into Ukiyo-e, to signify a realm of boundless indulgence.
The ‘floating world’ thus became a term that described the brothels and theatre districts of Japan’s major cities, during the Edo period.

During the Edo period, prostitutes and Kabuki actors (Kabuki is a traditional Japanese form of theatre), became the playthings of the newly wealthy merchant class.

At a time when a strict social hierarchy regulated most aspects of samurai and clan lives, the floating world provided an escape for the men.

Women were either wives or daughters of clan members who married them off as currency to better their political status, or were used as servants or trained to become entertainers to cater to the men.

Floating between the dream world and reality,
Floating between suffering and indulgence, the energetic forces are intertwined and woven together.

Too much indulgence of food and alcohol leads to sickness and more suffering.
Too much detachment, like imposing celibacy on Catholic monks, leads to more cravings and boundless greed, and causes them to rape the young boys in their care.

Floating between reality and dreams, I succumbed to my tiredness and fell asleep.

Good night beautiful world!
Please protect them all, my beloved God, whether your children dream that they are men or women, Buddhist or catholic, Muslim or Jewish, rich or poor, sick or dying….

Wake me up in the morning, when I have more mountains to climb…

With love and dreams,

Stats: 23,771 steps
Today’s walk: 17 km
Kilometers walked to date: 777
Temples visited: none

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