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KIKUSUI HENRO HOUSEKaketsure (traveling with others)by Hiroshi Kushima
(translated by David C. Moreton)

What is "kaketsure?"

Kaketsure is walking with others that you unexpectedly meet along the pilgrimage.

The Negative Side

It may seem that traveling together would be a positive thing for all involved; however there is a negative side. There is a world of difference between individual walking speeds, the frequency of taking breaks, and how to deal with meals. As well, the situation is much different from being a group in everyday life. In the case of walking pilgrims, becoming a group can be the cause of stress because all are carrying heavy packs and all are traveling everyday close to their individual limits of their physical strength. You may have lots of energy; however, the person you are traveling with might not. I often hear of cases where some pushed themselves too much as a result of forming a group for some reason or another and traveled together for several hours or several days.

After walking for some days, you will come realize the difficulty of walking with others.

As well, there is a strange change in each individual's body condition. Sometimes, even though you are tired, your feet will continue will move forward or at other times, you are thronging with pain for no apparent reason. If you can communicate with others on good terms that is best, however, because you are strangers to each other, you cannot be entirely open and you tend to stop talking.

What to do?

Traveling with others comes about naturally when some people leave at the same time after talking, while taking a break on the roadside or on the next morning after staying at a place of lodging. Purposely acting as if you want to travel by yourself somehow seems cold and one ends up leaving with someone else.

However, in my case, I try and avoid the continuation of walking together with others. If this does happen, I try to allow myself or the other person to depart first after taking a break or reaching the next temple.

It is up to each person to decide what to do, however, please try to not allow yourself to be pressured into traveling with someone else. However despite saying this, it is enjoyable to talk with another pilgrim. When you are approaching the next temple, I think it would good to walk with the other person and say, "Shall we walk together until.....?"

(translated by David C. Moreton)

Glossary TOP Copyright (C)1999-2000 Hiroshi Kushima / (C)2004 David C. Moreton