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On September 5th, 2001, The Temple Guy took the single step that led to an epic pilgrimage of 10 weeks through the heart of Japan, predominantly on foot.  This 2,000 kilometer (1,200 mile) Aki Meguri ("Autumn Pilgrimage") was in many ways the experience that solidified his status as "The Temple Guy."  Throughout that experience I kept a daily homepage (before I know what a "blog" was).  It was raw.  What you see here is a slightly more processed version of those daily posts. In fact, this is the third incarnation of my experience. The first two had been built on FrontPage, a clunky old bit of now-defunct software; this one is all Web 2.0 (baby!).

Although the journey was a continuous 10 weeks long, it can be separated into three discreet sections.

First, I walked the historic Old Tokaido highway, a nearly 500-kilometer road created by the shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa in 1601 (I was walking in the 400th anniversary year).  The highway joined Edo (now Tokyo), the seat of the shogunate, to Kyoto, home of the Emperor.  It was punctuated by 53 stations, and my Logbook records my arrival at each one.

Next, I used public transportation and walked through parts of the Yamato area, the heart of old Japan that includes Nara, Asuka, and Mt. Koya. This was mainly "sacred tourism," a visit to some of Japan's most popular sights, including the Great Buddha of Nara.

Finally, I arrived on Shikoku.  The 88-Temple Pilgrimage there is Japan’s oldest and longest.  Here my journey took on a decidedly "holy" aspect, which is reflected in the Logbook.

As an integral part of my journey, I offered several ways for people to join me.

  • First, I was on a mission to the gods.  Like pilgrims throughout the ages, I carried my friends’ petitions and thanksgivings with me, and expressed them at appropriate places along the way.
  • Second, of course, I needed cash.  I asked friends for financial support and offered business owners the chance to consider official sponsorship.
  • Third, I asked everyone to "follow me" as I wrote and posted information along the way.  I asked them to  check in on the nuts-and-bolts logbook, and the more reflective journal, as often as possible.
  • Fourth, I asked them to stay in touch by private e-mail.

In this revised version of the old Connected Japan homepage, you can read about my "mission" and the financial aspects of the trip in the "Prospectus."  The Logbook is now spread over the Old Tokaido, Yamato, and Shikoku stages, and you can now use the form in the sidebar to contact me.

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[Here's another lightly-edited "historical" page to help you find further background on my journey.]

The other sections of the Aki Meguri pages (the Old Tokaido, the Yamato, and the Shikoku) document the actual journey. The History sections give background on the event itself.

First, there is the "Prospectus," the pages I published before the journey both to let my friends know what I was up to and to raise funds for the journey.

Next, in "To Be a Pilgrim," I discuss the mechanics of the pilgrimage, including my prayer routine, a summary table of the places I said my prayers each day, and another table of where I stayed each night.

Finally, "Connected Japan" is about the vision I had for my old homepage--before it was stolen and taken over by a porn site! Many of the ideas foretold there have yet to be manifested in future pages of The Temple Guy.

Then, now incorporated into the Logbook posts, I have preserved two sets of very different posts: one that records the final few days before the trip (including a misfire), and another that tells what I was doing immediately after the trip.

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