Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Hidemi’s Rambling No.468

on May 19, 2013
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There is a small shrine in a place that was probably once an entrance to the hamlet where I grew up. Although the shrine has merely one-car space, it’s called the Grand Shrine by the local folks. Around the shrine stand short stone pillars as a fence. The cost is covered by contributions from the old households in the hamlet. Almost nobody visits it regularly, except that the present heads of the old families gather to pray on New Year’s Day. When it was renovated, the old households, one of which my family was, were obligated to contribute to the cost. The amount of a contribution was left to the discretion of each household. My grandfather, my father and I are all stingy hereditarily. But on this particular occasion, my grandfather insisted to pay an excessive amount of money. It wasn’t a matter of a good deed, but a matter of his hunger for fame. A contributor’s name was to be carved on the stone pillar and the size of a pillar was decided according to the amount of a contribution. My grand father wanted his name to be carved on the biggest pillar that stood right beside the entrance of the shrine. The biggest pillar meant that his full name would be shown in the biggest letters. My father hated his idea and opposed it, but my grandfather wouldn’t listen and demanded the biggest pillar. No one could stop him as usual and his pillar stood at the entrance eventually. Since then, he had sometimes been there with a bucket and a dustcloth. He voluntarily cleaned the shrine while he never did any housework at home. Needless to say, it wasn’t his good deed either, but his cleaning focused on his pillar to keep his name from smudging. He often asked me if I saw his name at the shrine when I came home. Because the shrine is on a desolate street people seldom use, I’ve seen his pillar only twice in my life…

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***** 88th Planet Project *****

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