Craig Mod’s “Where are all the Nightingales?”: A 30-day Kumano Walk and Newsletter

Where are all the Nightingales? Day Two by Craig Mod

About twenty minutes into my walk today, I saw an old man leading a group of even older women in front of a small temple. Come come, he motioned to me.

Placing his head uncomfortably close to mine we peeked through the temple window, and in pidgin English he began to explain the dark interior. It wasn’t making much sense, so I cut in in Japanese saying, Oh this is the famous jizo temple, yes? And just like that he flipped to fluent Japanese, breaking down the various bodhisattvas and buddhas enshrined along with the jizo.

Damn, I love this road, I told him as his gang of ladies listened from a safe distance. I’ve walked a bunch of Japan and this road is so quiet and oddly well preserved.

And he said, Yes yes, this wasn’t firebombed during the war like the industrial areas north of here. So this road — the Ise Kaidō — is in good shape.

Craig started this walk just two days ago as of this writing. Even this short into the journey, I have found these daily newsletters stirring. There is warm nostalgic glow for a place I have never been to. The way Craig is using technology to bring the quietness of Japan is comforting. His photos, to me, are finding subtle beauty in what is likely just background noise to local people. 

Day Two’s newsletter in particular reminded me of A Graveyard of Fireflies, which is quite a way to start my morning. Not in a somber way, but in grounded, realized way.

If you’d like to read, see, and watch (he’s doing binaural 4K videos too) while Craig is on the walk, you can sign up here. Once the walk is over, Craig is just deleting everyone’s email from this list. One and done.

This particular project of Craig’s has me thinking about the world of newsletters and how they have reemerged (not that Craig is new to this at all), but that’s a post for another time.