I drew this mandala one baking afternoon in the middle of the 88 Temple Pilgrimage of Shikoku. All in all it took me 45 days to finish the entire 1150km circumnavigation of the island, so that middle stretch was quite laborious at times, and this particular day was also too hot! I got off the trail early in the afternoon, but not as soon as I'd wanted. A couple of the ryokans I popped in on were not open so I was pretty exhausted by the time one took me in. It was a very kitsch room with a saggy bed instead of a futon, nothing much traditionally Japanese about it, and it was too expensive... but beggars can't be choosers.
I spent the afternoon on the bed with my head bowed over my sketch book, trying to keep cool. I'd been thinking for a few days to create an image which combines a few different symbols that represent Japan including it's flag, and simply pushing them together however they might aesthetically fit and give it some colour. This is what I came up with.