Tag Archives: love

Rescue

My friend Randy hopped on his bicycle the other day to go do some shopping. He hadn’t gone far when he heard a “Meow!” and a splash. Looking toward some abandoned boats tied up at a dock, he saw a tiny kitten swimming toward shore. The kitten noticed Randy and swam toward where he was standing, which was at the top of a stone sea wall. When the kitten reached the wall, it started climbing up the barnacles growing there, but the barnacles only went up about two feet and when the kitten reached their end, he fell back into the water. But he was a persistent little tyke. He climbed the barnacles again and when he reached their end, he clung to them with both paws and his teeth.

13535848_10153541561841746_867788147_n

At last I understand the expression “tooth and nail”.

Randy called his wife, saying “Come quick and bring a rope!” But lovely Junko is a rather level-headed lady who quickly decided to borrow a net from a neighbor instead. And Randy used it to fish the little man out of the water.

boy in a net

Randy and Junko already have three rescue cats as well as a couple of strays that occasionally wander into their garden looking for treats. So they put this on Facebook.

be my mommy

We debated for a while. I thought the two-people-two-cats rule still applied but Rochi wanted him. In time he admitted he wanted the kitten for me. The thing is that neither Twitchy nor Monkey Boy particularly like me. They don’t not like me, they just don’t care about me much. I can pick them up for brief cuddles and Monkey likes to wrestle, but neither one will sit on my lap. I chose Twitchy from among hundreds of cats at the shelter, but she didn’t choose me. You can’t choose your cats any more than you can choose your parents. The funny thing is that I wasn’t all that unhappy about this situation. Losing Plato five years ago was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to survive. He was my little boy. In a way, I was grateful that Twitchy and Monkey Boy are just cats, more interested in each other than in me.

Then it hit me that little man is a genuine rescue cat. We call Twitchy a rescue cat because a volunteer group found her living alone in an abandoned house inside the no-go area in Fukushima, but she didn’t see herself as being rescued. For the longest time she looked at us as if to say, “What do you want from me? Why am I here? I was doing just fine on my own drinking dirty rain water and eating worms and frogs and baby birds.” Eventually, she came to see the virtues of a full food bowl that didn’t involve gills or feathers. She never even tries to escape anymore; instead she watches the world go about its business from the safe vantage of a window sill.

So we call Twitchy a rescue cat, but in a way she isn’t. Little man is, a genuine full-blooded rescue cat who wanted to be rescued. We’ve only had him for a day but he’s already one of the sweetest little fuzz muffins I’ve ever met. I’m having to type at an awkward angle because he doesn’t want to be more than six inches away from me. Maybe having a scrape with death gave him an appreciation of life. At any rate, he looks at me with love and gratitude and it’s been a long time since anyone looked at me like that, in that pure, clean way that only an animal can. I feel the love starting to flow and I weep with gratitude. Perhaps he will rescue me back.

13652758_1249718368394493_1020106167_n

Yoga Cat

The Silence of the Kitten

IMG_0455

At lunch today, we were sandwiched between two families, both with small children. People with small children are accustomed to a level of noise and chaos that we middle aged childless types find hard to stomach, especially when we’re trying to eat. We have to really focus on our noodles and try to tune out the rambunctious ankle-biters. I do the same thing when someone nearby is inhaling half of Tokyo as they slurp their noodles. I call it “Noodle Zen: the art of shutting out obnoxious noises and foul manners.”

So I was doing my Noodle Zen, finding inner peace, silence of the soul and a higher plane of gustatory harmony when it occurred to me that Little Guy doesn’t speak.

It’s not that he can’t; he just doesn’t.

When we first brought him home, I put the kitty jail on the floor and opened the door. Twitchy came over to see what was in it and the two of them immediately got into a rather heated discussion. Big meow, little mew, big meow, little mew. It went on for quite a while and probably included some mild kitty profanity. (“Your mother has sex with strays!” “Oh, yeah? Your father has tuna breath!”)

After a while, Twitch abruptly turned away and retreated to the top of the fridge. Since that day, Little Guy has said nary a word except for the time I stepped on his tail. That was an accident, not an experiment, and what he said was less “mew” than “HEY!”

Little Guy and Twitch love to wrestle, which they do with a great deal of gusto, rolling each other over and over, all the while biting and scratching. This goes on for quite some time, broken up with sudden spasms of chasing each other up and down the curtains and stairs, thundering along the hallway, jumping on the table and sending things flying in all directions. All that time, Little Guys says not a word except for an incredibly cute squeaky noise he makes when Twitch gets him into a headlock. I suppose it’s the kitten version of “uncle”.

The downside of all this silence is that Little Guy doesn’t purr. Unlike the wild and somewhat terrifying monster who used to scream bloody murder when she first came here, Twitchy has become much less vocal than she used to be. She likes to be picked up and cuddled and she purrs a chocolate syrup river as she rubs her head against my chin. Little Guy sometimes lets me cuddle him, but soon enough something catches his attention and he squirms away, completely purr-less. I’m hoping Twitch will school him in that gentle art. I’ve tried, but my purr isn’t very convincing.

And as I came to the end of that train of thought, I also arrived at the bottom of my bowl of noodles, satisfyingly full of both noodles and Zen. Namaste.

Love You, Honey

My mother raised me on whole wheat sourdough bread, which she baked in an old juice can so it was round and had a mushroom cap. She would make me round school lunch sandwiches with that bread, homemade mayo, and lettuce from the garden. Naturally, I was jealous of the girls with their Wonder bread/ketchup sandwiches.

Remember that this is the same dope who smoked for nearly 35 years. But I seem to be recovering from all those years of inhaling poison and still have low blood pressure, normal cholesterol, better-than-normal bone density and almost all my own teeth. I wonder how the Wonder bread girls are doing.

I do find myself with some of the normal complaints of someone my age, the worst of which so far has been belly pain. Two internalists found nothing wrong and shrugged it off. Another doctor suggested that it was merely gas. I tried medication but it had unpleasant side effects. So I tried organic coconut oil. The Shamen and Witch Doctors and New Agers and Voodooists were right. The pain is gone and the plumbing works fine.  ♫ Just a spoonful of coconut oil helps…

So while I was allowing myself to indulge in homeopathy, I stumbled across some other left wingers touting the virtues of organic honey. While it is not possible to get a decent cheeseburger in this neighborhood, we do have a shop that specializes in honey.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAWe were told that honey bred from the feathery shoots of the delicate acacia flower produces the best honey in the world. The ones in the middle and left are acacia, from Aomori and Iwate Prefectures, respectively. The one on the right is ordinary supermarket honey. According to the honey lady, the supermarket varieties are 4th tier mixed breeds not worthy of recognition. To be exact, she scoffed, “Hah. That’s mizu ame (sugar water).” To use a car analogy, the first is a Toyota Lexus, the second a Nisan Infiniti, and the third a Suzuki Rice Burner.

If you infuse a bottle of white wine with a handful of parsley, a little wine vinegar and some organic honey, you get Parsley Wine, the world’s healthiest sleeping pill, which also helps the liver do its job and strengthens the respiratory system. Yeah, it’s expensive, but to quote L’Oreal, I’m worth it.

The other night, I was invited to a fine dining experience in celebration of finishing a project.

Sugata

My colleagues warned me that it is difficult to find the restaurant. It wasn’t, but when I got there, the name was only written in kanji. I didn’t want to walk into the wrong restaurant, so I approached the man at the veggie stand across the street. There was the usual moment of panic on his face when he saw mine, but then I said, “Is that place called Sugata?” Big smile, bobbing head. “Oh, yes. That’s Sugata.” “Thanks,” says me. “I couldn’t read the kanji.” He looked genuinely surprised, which seems so odd. He didn’t expect me to be able to speak Japanese, yet somehow did expect me to be able to read it.

Fine dining doesn’t often cross my path, so I was delighted to accept, but wary. I’m a fairly picky eater and fancy Japanese food generally involves parts of sea critters I am not comfortable with, among other things. I am not a big fan of raw fish and never eat eggplant, but there’s a reason this stuff is so expensive. I ate and truly enjoyed all the sashimi (except for the squid shiokara: Wiki definition: small pieces of meat in a brown viscous paste of the animal’s heavily salted, fermented viscera. Can you blame me?) Other than that, it was dish after dish of the finest, freshest seasonal specialties, lightly seasoned and gently teased into palatal perfection. I honestly loved the octopus; the lumps of eggplant in a crabmeat laced soup even went down fairly smoothly.

My point is, just what is the best? Is it the world’s finest honey? The freshest sashimi? A Toyota Lexus? Or bread with love baked right into its mushroom cap?

P.S. Then there’s this:
http://www.upworthy.com/inevitably-someone-will-say-but-my-juice-cleanse-worked-no-it-really-didnt?c=ufb1

Broken Heart Tart

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA At long last, stone fruit season, as the Brits so charmingly put it,
is upon us and I was finally able to do my darling tart justice
with nectarines, apricots, blueberries,
and a heaping dollop of anticipation.

It was worth the wait.
She ecstasized me with culinary bliss.
(Yes, I made that word up. She deserves it.)
I have fallen more deeply in love with her than ever.

Alas, in the depth of the night,
I caught the wily minx cheating on me.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAAfter all I have given her,
what kind of gratitude is that?

Our Second Date

I can’t seem to keep my hands off of her.  Images of her dance in my head, obsessing me, drawing me deeper and deeper into her world. People do crazy things when they’re in love—I spent yesterday afternoon scouring the neighborhood, hoping to surprise her with fresh rhubarb. But alas, that was not to be. Instead I gave her strawberries and blueberries, as promised.

It took her 40 minutes to primp and preen as she prepared for our date. I sat upstairs, waiting, her intoxicating perfume fueling my anticipation. Would our second date be as good, as satisfying, as glorious as our first?

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA

It was better…infinitely better.

I have another confession to make, though. I have cheated on her already. I would climb the highest mountain for her, swim the deepest sea, but I don’t have a food processor and couldn’t face the agony of blending the flour and butter by hand. I used soft margarine instead. I thought she would be angry, but it didn’t seem to bother her.

She is a tart, after all.

Love at First Sight

I saw her and fell in love. On le pirate’s food blog, the most beautiful pastry ever. Sugarplum and Nectarine Galette. She looked rich and luscious, yet homey and inviting. Just seeing her name, my heart pounded and blood rushed to my ears. I could barely catch my breath.

I knew I had to have her, but how? Would she accept what I could offer her? I knew I would have to take liberties with her delicate sensibilities, but le pirate said she was nothing if not forgiving. I decided to approach her.

Fresh full cream ricotta? Sorry, my love. I would walk on burning coals for you, but ricotta is not to be had. Would you accept mascarpone with a bit of cream cheese tossed in for good measure?

Sugarplums and a nectarine? In Tokyo? In March? Forgive me, my dear. How about a kiwi and some canned tropical fruit?

I kneaded her gently, filled her and folded her. She gracefully accepted my meager offerings.

Our relationship heated up…to 180 degrees.

Forty minutes later, she was mine.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA

I sank my teeth into her sugared crust, her creamy filling sending my taste buds into rapture. A chorus of angels sang hallelujah.

A word of warning: she was not terribly pleased with the tropical fruit. She deserves something better; her rich filling needs a counterbalance of something with more zing. Next time I will offer her blueberries and strawberries.