Saint of Mt. Koya
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The irritating, almost frightening thing about visiting Tsuruga is the clamorous insistence of the hotel solicitors. They hang around the station in swarms, each trying to lure customers to his own hotel. As I had feared, when we alighted from the train we were confronted by a solid wall of solicitors lining the road from the station all the way back to the streets of the town. Each one carried an umbrella and a lantern with the name of his hotel printed on it in large letters. This crowd of solicitors closed in around the disembarking passengers leaving them no avenue of escape. Each solicitor shouted loudly, demanding that travellers stay at his hotel or inn. Some of the more enthusiastic ones would actually snatch a person's luggage out of his hands with a phrase such as, "Thanks for choosing our establishment." Regardless of how indignant the victim of this behavior became, he found it impossible to retrieve his luggage and could only follow along.

As usual my companion seemed utterly aloof from the uproar of the world around him. Head bowed, he cut through the noisy throng without trouble, and I followed close behind. Miraculously none of the solicitors tried to clutch at the priest's sleeve or snatch at his luggage. Still, when we reached the deserted streets of the town I heaved a great sigh of relief.


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Intangible