This last weekend we headed to the mountains, as far from Tokyo as we could. We left the train at Kudoyama and wandered calmly until we arrived to the temple of Jisonin. At the entrance of the temple there was a kind monk that was talking slowly on the phone, like he had all the time in the world.
When he finished talking on the phone he approached us and started telling us stories about the temple feeling really proud. We found him to be really photogenic and started taking pictures as he talked.
“Do you see that grave on the corner?”, the monk said. “Yes, it’s the grave of a dog, isn’t it?”, we answered. “His name was Gon, he lived with us for almost twenty years and he died in 2002. We named him “Gon” because when he was a puppy he got really excited when he heard the sound of the gong in the mornings.”
“It looks like the Hachiko statue, but smaller”, I remarked mumbling while I continued taking pictures. The monk raised his voice a little and said: “Our dog, Gon, is the real deal, not like Hachiko. Gon accompanied the pilgrims every day to the mountains until the Daimon gate. He was a guide to strangers along a 20km route every day and came back before the sunset. Gon was a faithful dog, obedient, hardworking and intelligent. On the other hand, Hachiko was a lazy, stupid and useless dog, the only thing he did was to wait in Shibuya for years. Moreover, something that the Richard Gere movie doesn’t tell is that Hachiko was shitting all over the Shibuya station entrance all the time. The people didn’t like Hachiko, they complained that there was a flea-bitten dog next to the train station and they had to avoid dog shits every morning”. Yes, he said the word “shit” several times after finishing his explanation and we all started all laughing, the monk included.
“Did you understand? Our dog Gon is much cooler that Hachiko! Don’t let people in Tokyo fool you”.
This photo of me and the monk was taken by Ikusuki.