Some people can read a book while they walk. I’ve learned that skill too. But today, I try something else; I try to write while I walk. I would like to write a book about this trip someday, and if I begin to write it now, this will save me time.
I try it for a few minutes. However, I miss a road sign, and walk in the wrong direction. The same thing happens ten minutes later, and again I have to double back for a hundred metres. No, it’s better to do one thing well, not two things badly.
We stop for lunch at a shokudou in a small town. Its owner is an old woman. She must be 70 at least. “I’m rich enough to retire, but I want to keep busy.” She gives us some beans for free. “I can’t sell them, because they’re bent.” She doesn’t believe me when I tell her that in New Zealand all the beans are bent. I don’t believe her when she says that her son is a friend of Chiyonofuji, the ex sumo champion. But she brings out a photo of the two to prove it.
In the afternoon, we question the owner of a coffee shop. Does he know of a good place where we could camp? “Let me see,” he replies. “Maybe you could ask at the health centre. It’s just up the road.”
The health centre is in a very large building. We go inside and ask if we could camp there. It takes a long time before we get an answer. One person has to ask another person who has to ask someone else. Finally, the manager tells us, “We can’t say yes, but we won’t say no. If you wait until dark, then we will pretend not to see you.”
We go outside to wait. Many people are exercising there. They are walking around a 600 metre track. It looks like fun. Even though I’ve been walking all day, I want to join them.
But then, I suddenly cry out: “Aaaargh!”
“What’s the matter?” asks Mami.
“It’s my leg—I can’t move it,” I reply.
At the end of the day, my body has had enough of walking. There is now a sharp pain in my lower leg. I hope that it’s better tomorrow, otherwise what will we do?