I have a pet in my apartment - a cat. It’s not my cat, actually. It belongs to my daughter. It’s her cat. I am not allowed to feed it because she doesn’t trust me to do so. Consequently, the cat knows who its mommy is. It won’t sleep with me or cuddle with me - only with my daughter and my wife, the two humans who always feed it. I’m good for playing, but not for anything else.
I asked my son, “Do you want a pet?” I figured I never asked him, and don’t boys like their own pets, like a dog or something?
“No,” he said. Oh, well okay then.
I’m a cat person. I grew up with cats. My family in Canada always had a pet cat, always black. When one black cat died my parents quickly replaced it with another black cat with the same name - maybe hoping that we wouldn’t notice the difference. When we were very young we didn’t. Over time each of my brothers and I acquired our own individual pets. I was fond of turtles. To this day they are my favorite animal, and I even had three pet turtles in Tokyo a decade ago. (I released them when they grew big enough to climb out of their container.) I also had tropical fish. (My mother still has fish.) I forget how it came about that I came to be the one with fish, but I clearly remember the day my father set up the aquarium and put colourful fish in it, and they were mine. Instead of going to bed that evening I stayed awake for hours watching the fish swim about, watching with concentration and fascination watching the bubbles of the air filter; watching the plants sway; watching the fish nibble tentatively at the glass. My older brother had a white mouse. That didn’t last for long, only the lifetime of the mouse. My younger brothers were all gerbil collectors. Their bedrooms stank of gerbil urine. They bred. Populations grew. There was gerbil cannibalism. It went on for years. One section of the backyard became a gerbil cemetery. It still is. For one brief time in elementary school we even had a guinea pig. I don’t know why we acquired one, but we did. It also stank of urine if we didn’t keep its cage clean enough. I loved the guinea pig (a brown short hair) because it was kind of cute, it made a cute sound, it was gentle to handle, and watching it in the summer time graze on the backyard lawn like a tiny sheep was cool.
I sort of regret that my son is collecting no comparable experiences of enjoying animals. He plays computer games and collects Japanese anime trading cards. By comparison, I tried collecting ice hockey cards when I was a boy, but like ice hockey itself I never got into it. When he is older what kind of nostalgic memories might he look back upon? I regularly traveled a lot with my family, too, during vacation times, too. I take my Japanese children to visit Canada periodically - when I can afford it, and when their school schedules allow. I hope they grow up with good memories of that. I wish we could do it more regularly, but … .an be ready for the 2019 Rugby World Cup scheduled for Tokyo, which was supposed to be an Olympic dry run for the facility and the city.