New Friends, New Experiences

April was an intense month that felt like a year. It was a month of not only struggles and triumphs but also new experiences and friends. I had never gone fishing before, and my wish to do so was granted a few weeks ago. We went on a road trip to Sanda City in the north of Kobe twice in two days, which makes me wonder how on earth I completed my assignments back then. 

On the first day, we were driving on a narrow road following a river when we came across a field that, at first glance, struck me as a picnic area. Takashi said it was a private fishing area where you could rent fishing equipment and fish for trout. He exited the car and started talking to an older man who seemed to be the owner of the place. 

I waited impatiently in the car, showing no interest in fishing for trout, until … a black shadow came out of nowhere and started circling Takashi while he was chatting with the owner. I looked at the creature carefully and saw it was a dog of a breed I had never seen before! I got a fuzzy feeling in my heart when I looked at this beautiful animal. I call it “love at first sight.” 

When we left the parking lot, the dog barked at us in a friendly way as if to say, “Won’t you come back?” I turned to Takashi and said, “We are coming back tomorrow.” And we did! 

Meet my new friend: the Kai Ken

When we returned to the fishing place the next day, the dog appeared out of nowhere again and immediately came to me. Tora Dog, or Kai Ken, is a rare breed of dog from Japan. No wonder I had never seen it before! I kneeled and started cuddling the dog for a good ten minutes! Despite being a solid hunter dog, it was calm and friendly. It even stood on its hind legs and hugged me! 

My mom used to say, “Animals can tell good people from bad ones and choose their own humans.” So whenever an animal comes to me (or, rather, chooses me), I feel lucky and grateful. I love it when an animal trusts me and lets me pet it. Animals bring me such immense joy, so you can imagine how happy I was to meet this gorgeous new friend. 

Being friends with dogs is bliss. Some of my friends are dog owners who would give their everything for their dogs. When I was a kid, I secretly kept a stray dog in the basement and fed it. When my parents discovered what I did, they didn’t get mad. Instead, they were filled with joy and started feeding it, too. The dog disappeared one day and never came back. I still remember that dog dearly. 

Takashi is well aware of my love for animals, especially cats and dogs. We visited his uncle once, and I discovered the beagle they kept there. I played with it for two hours, not listening to their conversation. Who needs to listen to people when there are dogs to play with? His extended family members have dogs, but unfortunately, we don’t have any pets ourselves because most apartments in Japan don’t allow them. 

My miserable fishing experience

We have already established that I didn’t go to that place for trout fishing. Hearing this might be surprising, but I am glad I failed at it, although I love fish. I felt sorry for the poor fish, and they must have sensed my hesitance because I caught only one trout. So did Takashi. The owner felt bad for us and offered to give us a discount. However, we insisted on paying the total price. Neither of us wanted him to get paid less because of our ineptitude. 

“The other customers caught more than ten trout,” he said, baffled. I told him I enjoyed having his dog’s company and couldn’t care less about fishing. We barbecued our two small trout, promising to appreciate them. My new friend never left my side, so when the fish was ready, I shared some with it. The dog wagged its tail and swallowed whatever was left of my poor trout. 

I love meeting random people spontaneously to hear their crazy stories. Some people are quirky and have extraordinary stories in their seemingly ordinary lives. The owner was that kind of person. He said he once trapped a hog and kept it as a pet! Then he pitied the poor animal and released it back to nature. I was befuddled by his tale—how many people trap hogs and make them their pets? 

It was time to return home, which was a very reluctant departure on my behalf. I hugged my new friend over and over and bid it farewell. Then I saw it in the rearview: It was innocuously looking at our car, wondering if we would ever return. Ahh! Some people, some animals, and some stories are too beautiful to forget! They always leave me with a little heartache so that I will remember them forever.

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  1. Mike and Kellye Hefner

    We share our love of dogs. I had never heard of the Kai Ken breed before, but this one looks like a wonderful specimen. Your mother was a wise woman. I’m not wise, but I too believe that animals can sense nice people. By the way, I’m no fisherman either.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bahanur

      Thank you 😊 I’m glad to come across another “inept” fisherman who loves dogs as much as I do ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mike and Kellye Hefner

        I’ve never caught a fish in my life, though I’ve tried a few times. Not my cup of tea. And, yes, I adore dogs – all of them!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pooja G

    Omg what a cute dog, I absolutely love dogs even though I’m overall more of a cat person. And I totally think animals can tell when people are nice and tend to be more drawn to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahanur

      Thank you 🙏 I’m the same! I love cats and consider myself a cat person, but dogs never fail to bring a smile to my face ❤️ I didn’t include it in my blog post, but my father used to say, “Those who don’t love animals can’t love humans.” I think animals warn us about those kinds of people and are more drawn to people who love them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pooja G

        Your father was absolutely right. I always think of it as a bit of a red flag when people tell me they don’t like animals 😅

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Bahanur

        Same here! I don’t think I can fully trust a person who doesn’t like animals 😧 I mean, we don’t have to like all animals (cockroaches won’t be among my favorite animals, ever), but even those who fear one animal would like another.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Pooja G

        Yeah, it’s the fact that some people dislike all animals that’s weird. Like how do you not love pandas or cats or penguins?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Stuart Danker

    Aww, what a cute new friend! At least that made up for your not-so-good fishing experience. And I just love the fact that you got chosen. It really is a privilege when doggos just come up and stick to you for no reason at all. Nice pics too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. kegarland

    This is one of your most interesting stories. I feel the same about dogs, in particular. They have such special personalities. I agree that the fish probably knew you really didn’t want to be there in the first place so why bother being attracted to your hook lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahanur

      Thank you 🙏 It is always nice to hear from you 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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