Sunday, May 15th. It is finally time to leave! As I depart from Sky Harbor International Airport, my wife and girls take part in the Spring Ebisu Matsuri (festival) in Gion, a district of Kyoto famous for their Geiko (aka Geisha) and Maiko (young Geiko).
Ebisu is the ‘patron saint’ of divers (Ama) and fishermen, the focus of my sabbatical. He also provides safe passage for travelers. This festival consists of a three-hour parade through the streets of Gion.
I arrive in Osaka Monday night, May 16th, after a 26-hour journey. The next day I visit the Ebisu shrine and place an ema (wooden prayer tile) at the shrine.