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The Big Day? NOT!
(Tue., Sep. 4, 2001)

Note: These log entries cover the days leading to the start of my Aki Meguri. You can read more about the entire experience starting at the Aki Meguri Guide.

After reading yesterday's logbook, I feel like a big cry-baby whiner. But today, I feel much better--despite the fact that I have been unable to leave on the day I intended to.

That's right. The launch has been postponed. The countdown has been suspended, but NOT cancelled. In other words, I won't be leaving today as planned, but tomorrow instead.

Here are the basics of what happened:
  1. I made arrangements to sell most of my stuff. The buyer didn't show on the 3rd as expected.
  2. I still had a lot of stuff to deal with in my apartment, sorting what to take, etc.
  3. I had VERY little sleep the night of the 3rd.
  4. My apartment still needed cleaning, which is tough to do well when it's dark.
So I found my start time getting later and later, and realized that I wouldn't be reaching my first day's walking goal, and finally I decided it's better to go off fully-cocked and a day late.

Here are some feelings I have about this:
  1. Naturally, I'm embarrassed. A lot of people were probably thinking about me today, worrying about me walking in the rain. (The rain wouldn't have bothered me, really. I was out in it for part of the day anyway.) But I have to remember to use my common sense, and not let "what other people think" influence me unduly. [I later learned that a delegation of four former students came to my launch point at 6 a.m. to see me off! Now that's embarrassing.]
  2. I am relieved that I have time to do this right, finishing my preparation properly, leaving behind some things that I just didn't need, etc.
  3. I am grateful that my friend said I could use his empty apartment in Nippori. The water, power, and gas in mine have been turned off.
  4. I am sympathetic to other pilgrims. I have often read in their accounts, "Another late start" and I always wondered why. This is good for my practice of compassion. [Oy, was that to become a familiar phrase!]
  5. I am amused by the "spiritual" implications of this. I couldn't get off on my trek because I simply owned too much stuff. It reminds me of Tracy Chapman singing about being buried with a "mountain of things." When you're walking, when everything you "own" is on your back, you really can't take it with you!
  6. I am humbled to have to admit my "failure" and to have to ask others for help, etc. But this is one of the main points of the henro's (pilgrim's) experience: to learn that failure isn't failure (and that success isn't success) but simply that what happens, happens. Short of violating the laws of space and time, there wasn't much I could do. I am living the Japanese expression Shoganai roughly translated: "it can't be helped," or "What can you do?" It's a good lesson for me.
So what do you think about my decision? What would you have done? I'd like to hear from you. (Besides, it would prove that someone's reading this!)

So there's not much else to say. I'm tidying up the details, and can push off properly early tomorrow morning: Wednesday the 5th.

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Posted September 22, 2019

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