Sign up for my Newsletter & Podcast!

Journal: Begging

Note: This Journal entry was written on September 10, 2001, as I walked on the Old Tokaido. Take a look at that day's Logbook for more.


The pilgrim is supposed to be humble. A part of this humility training is begging. This also creates a bond between the pilgrim and the people of the area where he is sojourning.

I probably won't be begging per se on this trip, but I have set myself up for one kind of begging.

And today I couldn't do it.

In the first flush of the trip, I conceived of this great idea: ask people along the way to sign a book verifying my presence in each station. It gives me a chance to fraternize with the locals.

But it's also a burden to them. I've actually been turned down a couple of times. And now I'm becoming sort of--well--shy about it. Hard for some of you to believe about me, I know! But today was wet and miserable, and even though I was in good spirits, I just wasn't up to pushing people to do this favor for me.

In Kawasaki I forgot to have the book signed. Today I went through Totsuka and Fujisawa without asking. And I may miss more for various reasons. But the main issue is not the book, but the idea--how much can I presume upon others to fulfill my whims? If I'm in a park, or chatting with a shopkeeper, asking for a signature seems natural. But just grabbing someone on the sidewalk, or barging into a store and halting business as I make my request? This is tougher.

I don't know what will happen with the Station Signatures register. But I have a lot of thinking to do about what I can reasonably request of total strangers.

Posted September 24, 2019

No comments:

Post a Comment