The Japan News,
The Yomiuri Shimbun,
1-7-1 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku,
As a kind of personality quiz to size you up people might ask, “Do you prefer tea or coffee? Coca-Cola or Pepsi? Bread or rice? Cats or dogs?” I’m a cat person. I grew up in Canada with a succession of black cats, one after another, all with the same name. My parents’ idea, I think, was that when one cat died they could replace it with a same-colored new cat to ease the shock to a child’s soul. They were right. And, when I was young enough, maybe they banked on me not noticing the change. I didn’t. My cats were all called Marble because they all relentlessly played with the glass bead toys by batting and chasing them around the house. After watching the Disney animation Jungle Book I stubbornly held onto the idea that Marble would grow up to be a black panther. He didn’t, but I don’t think it was a bad idea.
In my country Winnie the Pooh is fondly remembered as a real bear, a Canadian bear named after the city of Winnipeg by World War One soldiers from that city for whom it was a regimental mascot. When the troops shipped out to England they took their mascot with them. But by the time they shipped to the continent and the war front the bear could not accompany them, so they donated it to the London Zoo where it was seen by A.A. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin, after which it became the inspiration for the famous children’s stories. I loved Winnie the Pooh as a boy. As an adult I’ve re-read the books, but I prefer my childhood recollection of them.
Published on Saturday, July 25, 2015 in The Japan News Readers’ Forum as “Cat person fond of Winnie the Pooh.”