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Two Japanese ladies on the Portuguese Way – #Caminotales

Makiri Sei & her mother, from Japan, completed the last 100 km of the Portuguese Way

We are delighted to be back with the #Caminotales section, stories about international pilgrims who decided to walk the Camino de Santiago. And this is the first one about the Portuguese Way! Makiri Sei and her mother, two ladies from Japan, walked from Tui to Santiago, the last 100 km of this lovely route. Let’s learn a bit more about their experience.

-When did you decide to walk the Camino de Santiago?Camino de Santiago walk galiwonders

My mom read about the Camino 14 years ago in a Catholic magazine and had always wanted to go. We had to wait for 13 years because of illness in the family and we could not find good information at first.

We did not know where to begin the Camino, or how to begin. We finally walked last year.

-What were your motivations to walk the Camino?

Mom wanted to do the pilgrimage for a religious reason. I love traveling and can speak a little Spanish. I was the most eager to be her companion in the family.

-Did you train before the walk?

I did not; mom trained by carrying a daypack during her daily walk.

-Any memorable anecdote on the way?

A small dog started following us north of Rebordans. He kept following us until he decided to part ways in the middle of the industrial area south of O Porriño.
In Redondela, we came across a plaza where musicians were playing Galician music. It was for “Festival Internacional de Títeres”. There were crowd and tables with wine and polvo a feira. At one time the crowd started chanting “Polvo a feira! Polvo a feira!”
In Carracedo, there is a kindergarten called EEI Carracedo next to the camino. We were stopped by a kindergarten teacher Quinín Freire Garcia and asked to do a short lecture about Japanese language for children. This school has “la ventana al mundo” opening to the Camino and asks international pilgrims to share their cultures with the children. It is a really neat project.

-Best and worst part of the experience?

Best:

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The camino itself. I did not want it to end. Although I like to travel abroad, I always feel out of place/foreign while I am traveling.

The Camino is different. Pilgrims do not fit in with locals because they dress differently and they engage in activities completely different from day-to-day activities of the locals. But local people are very kind to pilgrims, and pilgrims are kind to one another.
For me the Camino was a very positive experience, where we greet anyone who we meet on the way to Santiago.

Worst:

Although it is not the worst experience, I will talk about what I regret the most. My mother is not very forthcoming about what she wants to do. She is a laid-back, go-with-the-flow kind of person.
I regretted not staying in Santiago for a few more days and not traveling to Fisterra and Muxia. We stopped in Porto on our way home and went to the beach in Matosinhos because we had a little time. After she returned to Japan, she told somebody that the beach in Matosinhos was the best part of her trip!
I did not know she liked the ocean so much, even though I knew she was born in a seaside village. If she liked Matosinhos so much, she would have liked Galician beaches even more.
I hope to travel back to Galicia with her once again and reach Fisterra next time.

-Any recommendations you would make to anyone planning to walk the Camino?

 
Try it with an open heart and mind. Good gear makes the Camino more comfortable. Thank you for the opportunity to share my experience!
 
Do you want read more stories about the Camino de Santiago walk? Check Krista’s experience or A Texan on the Way.
 

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