Tokyo Diaries – A Not So Distant Neighborhood

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Japan is everywhere, if you look for it.

It’s the first day of Autumn break from school, so I took a long walk in the precincts near my apartment.  I wasn’t planning on doing anything but walking and observing, but I happened to have my tablet with me and since I’d never used the camera before I snapped off a few quick shots.  Considering it was overcast and early evening, it didn’t do a half-bad job.

Just to the West of my neighborhood is Waseda, home to the University of the same name.  I haven’t explored much in that direction, but as is usually the case I found many more interesting places than I expected.  There’s a huge shrine in the center of Waseda (Ana Hachiman Jinja), and that neighborhood is also the terminus of the Toden Arakawa Line, the last streetcar left in Tokyo.  I vaguely headed towards a park called Kansen-en, knowing it contained a venerable Inari shrine called Mizuinari that I’ve wanted to check out.  Both the park and shrine date to the 17th Century and proved very photogenic, but what inspired me to take out the camera was that the both of them were crawling with cats.  Cats everywhere – I see them around shrines a lot in Japan, but they really seemed to run the place here.

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  1. e

    The first word that popped to mind was 'soothing'.
    Then 'so much vegetation! It's magnificent'
    Cats are always appreciated.

  2. R

    I've always loved reading your Tokyo Diaries posts — it's like I can get to know Japan, the culture, and the people without paying for a trip to be there :). I'm always amazed by how much green space that a metro city, like Tokyo, has — and it seems like there are shrines in almost every corner. It all makes Tokyo a more fascinating place to be.

    I love cats. I had a Turkish Angora a few years ago. He wasn't ours initially — a friend of mine needed to leave the city and thought of sending him to the SPCA. I felt bad and asked for taking him with me — well, without consulting with anyone in the house beforehand. Puffy, our cat, joined our family the next day — our father was thrilled, but our mom was not so much…and I had an earful that night. Puffy was already a mature cat when he joined us, and he's such a gentle, adorable, and friendly companion that even our mom loved him. I think we must have been treating him well that he lived a long life — and to the point that he could barely eat and walk. After a serious family discussion, we heartbrokenly brought him to the vet. He was 21 when he left us in peace.

    Anyway, I wanted to have another cat, but I'm currently at a place that doesn't allow me to — perhaps in the future when I am more capable… I'm just thinking… Perhaps cats love hanging out at the shrines in Tokyo, while tanuki love goofing around the shrines in Kyoto…lol. By the way, the photos taken from your tablet aren't bad at all.

  3. e

    Angora are beautiful cats. I'm sure he was lucky and happy to be with you.
    And I hear you about not being allowed to keep one at present.

  4. R

    Thanks elianthos80 :). They are beautiful cats. Puffy was white with green eyes, but it's really his personality that was the most beautiful. When he's out in our backyard in winters, he could disappear in the snow. Thank God that he only enjoyed going outside in summers. We were lucky to have him joined our family and spent his last few years with us — he brought so much joy and fond memories that have enriched our lives.

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