Mr and Mrs Great God

flags at a temple

'The name is Ogami. It means great god. Mr and Mrs Great God.' The explanation is in Japanese apart from those two words, Great God. I ask them why they're walking.

Mr Great God rubs his beard. 'My sister had tuberculosis when she was 19. I was only 12. TB was a serious disease then. People used to walk the 88 temples pilgrimage to heal their sicknesses. My father came with my sister. They began at temple one. They finished at 75. She died there.'

It's not the illness it was. Bloody and fatal. You don't die from it now. I swallowed drugs three times a day, half a year. I tell them. We all sit silently for a while. It wasn't so long ago, his sister.

I find 2000 Yen in the forest.
There are 7 kinds of mushroom on the path.


Copyright Edwina Breitzke May 1997