Although Matsuo Bashō never walked the Shikoku pilgrimage, his long, circular, walking journeys, do place him squarely in the tradition of Japan’s holy wanderers. As an artist myself, I love how his list of ‘necessities’ includes inkstone, brush, and writing paper, just as mine includes camera and film…
“I threw away quite a number of things, for I believed in travelling light. There were certain things, however, I had to carry on my back–such as a raincoat, and overcoat, an inkstone, a brush, writing paper, medicine, a lunch basket–and these constituted quite a load for me. I made such slow progress that I felt deeply depressed as I walked along with faltering steps, giving as much power as I could to my trembling knees.”
From “The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches” by Matsuo Bashō, translation by Nobuyuki Yuasa (p81)
Citation: Matsuo, Bashō. The Narrow Road to the Deep North, and Other Travel Sketches. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966. Print.