From BAMBOO RIDGE Issue Number 25, Winter 1985, New Moon

Excerpt from Who da Guy
                                         by Hiroshi Kawakami
. . .


           I have seen obedience training for dogs. They do wonders. It is unbelievable. They can almost train their dogs to the likes of being human.
           I trained Shaggy too. He can do a few things at command.
           I can train him not to jump on me when he sees and greets me. That is easy. All I have to do is step on his toes every time he does that. It can be awfully messy if the ground is wet. But why should I? That is the compassion I enjoy of him. Nobody else jumps, leaps and hugs me the way he does.
           What I should do is to train my family to be like Shaggy. But at this age it is too late. If only I did that earlier.
           I like Shaggy for what he is. Why should I train him to be other than what he is? Besides he barks at all intruders. Isn't that enough? He knows his job. A dog is a dog. That's good enough for me.
           So you think my dog stupid, eh? Untrained. Not so. Untrained is the way I trained him to be. To be what he is. A dog.

. . .


           I have heard of “Horse sense.” I suppose it means common sense. But “Dog sense” is simply amazing. He can sense when I come home way beforehand. When I go in the kitchen to prepare his milk, he can sense that too. He sort of cries, and he is at the front porch.
           I let him free in my back yard. He enjoys his freedom. But as soon as I make my move towards the gate he is there before me, ready to be chained.
           My neighbor's dog cries when her master leaves home. My dog, Shaggy, joins into a duet. It is a melody of sadness.
           I recall my son playing his trumpet. My neighbor's dog would cry. “Wooooo –,” then her neighbor's dog, then the dog in front of us and their neighbor's dog. Before we knew it, all the neighborhood dogs. “Woooo –,” what weird sadness. My son had to stop playing. We all had a laugh.
           At that, I did not discourage him from practice. Who knows his hidden talent . Someday it can express itself. A possible Chopin or a Beethoven.
The dogs should know.

. . .

Bio: Hiromi Kawakami described himself as a “retiree with more time than money.” The subject he hated most in school was English: “Oddly, I started to write a lot after my retirement. I just wrote my thoughts, my experience. I wrote as I wrote, being myself.
           From his collection of memoirs, the BR editors picked excerpts that surprised Mr. Kawakami: “The selections for publication turned out to be more the memoirs of my pet dog. The editor must be a dog lover too.”
           His advice to aspiring writers? “If I can write, you can too. Only two things can happen. Either it is good, or it is bad. If you enjoy doing it, do it. If you don’t, don’t.”

Mahalo for reading!

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