Ministers Embark on Epic Road Trip

Instead of being cooped up at home because of the pandemic — and driven by the urge to share the Nembutsu with America — Rev. Jerry Hirano decided to take a road trip.

But this wouldn’t be any simple, ordinary road trip — it would cover all 48 states in the continental United States.

In all, it was a 38-day, 14,000-mile trek that began Sept. 23 and ended Oct. 30 at Rev. Hirano’s home in Bountiful, Utah, with his 26-foot-long Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Motorhome.

Rev. Hirano’s companion as a road warrior was his longtime friend and IBS roommate who went through Tokudo with him in 1986 — Rev. Ken Yamada, the retired minister of the Berkeley Higashi Hongwanji Temple and current editor of the Shinshu Center of America.

“Since we had gotten along through these rather intense situations, I thought we might be able to get along for this trip,” said Rev. Hirano, Resident Minister of the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple. “Plus, he is a fourth- or fifth-degree black belt in karate, so he could protect me.”

Before embarking on the long road trip, Rev. Hirano reflected on some of his preconceived thoughts and opinions.