Saint of Mt. Koya
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The Saint of Mt. Koya

"I thought to myself, it will surely be of no use to get out my Army Corps map and check it again, but the road seemed endless and the day was stiflingly hot. Even the sleeve of my travelling cloak felt hot as I raised my arm and fumbled for the map case.

"There I was on an isolated track deep in the mountains between Hida and Shinshu. There was no tree in sight to give a weary pilgrim a shady place to rest; all around, nothing but mountains. Some of the peaks seemed so close, I felt I could almost reach out and touch them, and yet I could see the towering ranges rising one behind the other in endless succession into the distance. The sky above was equally empty, showing never a sign of bird or cloud.

"I stood alone between the earth and the sky. It was high noon, as I recall, and the sun scorched the earth with merciless intensity. The only protection I had from the sun's glare as I pored over the map was the shadow cast by my deep-brimmed pilgrim's hat."

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