I met Tomoko for the first time in a year and a half.
We did not have chance to run together because of COVID-19.
Her company had strictly restricted behavior of employees and, moreover, she had been very busy on working.
We met last time at a trial running to prepare for the Osaka Marathon 2019 which she had planned and invited me.
Six runners including us ran 42.195 kilometers all over Osaka.
Then I found myself being sick and recognized that it would have been impossible for me to continue running without a radical treatment by a medical doctor.
It was arrhythmia.
Correctly speaking, it was atrial flutter.
As my mother died of atrial fibrillation, I was concerned and decided to have a surgery.
Tomoko apologized me of having invited to join the trial running one and a half year ago.
I replied to her,
“Not at all.
I think I was lucky to find myself sick before it became serious and had heart operation to become running again like today with you”
Our plan was to pick up strawberry as much as we could.
She loved strawberry.
As her profession was a writer, especially for food, she might write Asuka Ruby strawberry article
in some media afterwards.
We ran from Asuka Station to Amakashi Farm about 5 kilometers.
It was cold, strongly windy and heavily cloudy day.
It was really threatening weather.
Strawberry time was limited for 30 minutes.
We cut strawberries by using scissors.
It was sweet and delicious.
However, 20 minutes were enough for us to eat.
“Our stomachs might be full of strawberry juice.”
We left from the farm and directed to Asukadera Temple.
Asuka Big Buddha had survived 1400 years protected by the village inhabitants.
They built a hut to keep the Buddha after the previous temple had been burned.
I like the face of the Buddha because it seemed half gentle and half hard look.
I recommended Tomoko to see the Buddha by joking
“The face of Buddha gives similar impression like you”
After visiting the Buddha, she said but wondered
“OK, I like it. But do I look hard even half?”
Then she struck the bell one time.
The bell used to be struck 108 times because human being held 108 worldly desires which should be purified by ringing the bell.
“I cleansed more than 108 evil passions by striking only one time”
She said with a little bit sarcastic smile.
She did a most efficient strike in Japan.
Then we ran to Okadera Temple to see rhododendron which were beautiful pink flowers.
She was pleased to find a stone Buddha in stone cave.
After the Temple, we ran to Ishibutai Tomb of Umako Soga and had lunch.
She had a set meal of ancient rice.
“Rice is solid”, she said.
We started running again toward Inabuchi rice field which seemed to be nice terrace viewing from the top of the hill.
While we were running down a steep slope, it began raining.
It was really cold rain but fortunately stopped when we reached Kitora Tomb.
The tour was almost over.
The remaining spot was Tachibanadera Temple and hot spring.
As we were sincerely chilly, hot water of Taishinoyu Hot Spring revived us.
Then we went back to Yamato-Yagi Station and cheered with hot Japanese sake.
We ran 21.5 kilometers for 3 hours and a half.
The State of Emergency will be issued quite soon.
Probably we would meet again in a year and a half.