Nikko II: Ghosts, Gods, and Good Food

So I arrived at Takino’o Shrine, not as far as I expected from the main shrines of Toshogu and Futarasan. It’s a smaller shrine, more encased in moss than its counterparts. I loved it, and its relative solitude. In the half an hour I sat under the trees, I don’t think ten people walked by. […]

Nikko Part 1: Uphill Always

  Today I awoke to a pristine mountain morning – far earlier than I intended. It turns out that when in completely unknown circumstances my imagination really lets loose. I woke up twice thinking there were hunter spiders in the room, and really all it takes is twice to ruin a night’s rest. So I […]

Nikko: Uphill Preface

This photo is from my second day in Nikko, when it was still light. I’m uploading from my first night as opposed to my first day, because this story overshadowed my afternoon. And because it was so dark, I have no photos to accompany it, save for this one I took later in my journey. […]

Feeling Literary

I was standing in a sort of courtyard. A plain, ordinary courtyard filled with ordinary things: a car, a tree, a bike. People shuffled around the street and sparrows hopped from crumb to crumb. And in that ordinary moment, I remembered some Tennyson: “I am part of all that I have met / Yet all […]

Emeishan Day 2: The Summit

When I decided I wanted to get to the Golden Summit of Emeishan, I had it in my head that I could hike the whole way. I’ve never been good at judging distances, so ten-thousand feet sounded daunting, but entirely doable. Over a full weekend – two days, with the idea I’d sleep in one […]