Lonely days I spent together with Rinse is now my precious memory.
Still every day, I remember the days I lived together with Rinse. And every time those memories come back in my mind, I trace and treasure each one like marking them in my brain so that I don’t forget them forever.
Three Years in Singapore
I went to Singapore with Rinse in August 2005 and spent 3 years there until I come back to Japan in 2008.
Singapore is a country located on the equator. It was really painful for me to leave Rinse alone in the room when I was at work, and it was hard for me to keep the air conditioner on all day long and pay the electricity bill for that. Also, sudden blackouts often occurred in Singapore. Considering the risk of a sudden power cut and the air conditioner going off, my boss gave me a permission to take Rinse every day to work.
Because of that great consideration, Rinse didn’t have to spend her time alone at home and had a good time in a cool room sleeping under my desk in the office.
When the bell rings to tell the time to finish work, Rinse stretched her whole body and stood up like, “Yes, the day is over now!”
I still truly appreciate my boss and my kind colleagues at the time. In my office, there were some Muslims that consider dogs are impure, but they had great understanding of us and supported us very kindly.
Some of them gave Rinse some fish from their lunch box and they sometimes took off her lead and ran together with Rinse during break time. They were really nice to her.
Lonely Days with Rinse Is My Precious Memory Now
On my days off, I spent my time together only with Rinse. On New Year’s Day or Chinese New Year’s Day, there were only two of us. Rinse and I was always together, and we always went out together. It was a simple life since we didn’t have extra money, but every moment I spent in Singapore, I was with Rinse.
On every transportation such as MRT, monorails, or buses, the modified suitcase was a great use.
My Hobby, Reading. Went to a Library and a Secondhand Bookstore with Rinse.
When about 2 years and a half have passed, I went to a library with Rinse on every weekend. I borrowed Danielle Steel’s romance novels one after another. I also often went to a secondhand bookstore. I forgot about my loneliness when I was concentrating on reading. When I read a book on my bed, there was Rinse sleeping beside me in a peaceful face.
Joined a Japanese Tennis Club on a Very Beginner Level
Also, about half a year before I go back to Japan, I started to join a Japanese tennis club on a very beginner level.
Some people in the club had a dog and they brought their dogs to the tennis court. When I was practicing tennis, Rinse waited for me with other dogs in the corner of the tennis court.
Rinse loved to play with balls. She sometimes rushed into the bushes around the tennis court and I couldn’t see where she went. After a while, she came back with a tennis ball in her mouth in a proud face. She was really good at finding balls that went deep in the bushes and she collected those balls one after another.
Decided to Go Back to Japan by My Son’s Final Warning
During my 3-year-stay in Singapore, I went back to Japan alone every half a year to see my son and daughter.
While I was away to Japan, my Singaporean colleagues, members of a tennis club, or my manager took care of Rinse in their houses. My manager’s wife left her beloved dog in Japan and came to Singapore, so she really loved Rinse and took good care of her.
When I went back to Japan for a while in 2008, my son suddenly said to me, “Are you going to stay in Singapore forever? If you don’t come back with Rinse, I’ll disown you.”
I was really surprised by his sudden final warning. But honestly, I felt like I was saved by his words. I was trying not to think about going back to Japan since I went to Singapore. But by my son’s words, I felt like my mind suddenly started to focus on a new direction.
Getting Ready to Go Back
I immediately agreed to come back to Japan with my son’s words and from the next day, I started to find a place to work in Japan. It was just before the Lehman collapse and the economy was going well, so there were also many jobs for an old lady like me. Fortunately, I was able to get an unofficial offer from most of the companies.
At last, I was able to get a job in my first-choice company, the parent company that I was working in Singapore (I’m still working in that company). I was finally ready to go back to Japan.
As I wrote in the other post, I was really nervous about importing an animal to let Rinse come back together to Japan. I was as nervous as when I let Rinse get into Singapore.
Before, I only flew with Singapore Airlines because there was a direct flight to Japan, but I found out that Thai Airways was able to bring in a small dog up to a certain size as a carry-on baggage, so I flew with Thai Airways when I come back to Japan.
It was via Thailand to Japan from Singapore, but I was able to come back to Japan without any worries because I was able to have Rinse under the seat near my feet in a bag.
At Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Thailand, I put Rinse on a cart and looked around in duty-free shops in the airport. Many people who went by said to her, “How cute!”
I still remember the really happy feeling when I arrived to Haneda Airport.
Moved 5 Times to Find a Good Home
For my home in Japan, I was looking for it online in Singapore before coming back to Japan. The real estate agent sent me the contract document to Singapore by international mail and I made a contract with them in advance. So, I directly went to my new apartment from Haneda Airport, received futon that I ordered to arrive on that day beforehand and started my new life from that night.
I didn’t have money to spare, so I looked for an apartment without deposit and key money. But it was my first time living in Tokyo and I didn’t know the area well. As a result, I had to go to my office taking about an hour using a train and a bus.
I really felt sorry for Rinse making her alone while I was at work, so I woke up at 5 A.M. every day and went for a walk with her about an hour and I also went for a walk with her about an hour after work.
I was with Rinse 24/7 in Singapore. I thought she would be really bored and alone, so I went for a walk with her every morning and night even if it’s a rainy day, a windy day, or a very cold winter day. Rinse was a dog that walks a lot and she really loved going for a walk. I lived here for about a year.
For my second place, I looked for an apartment near my office and lived in a place that takes about 15 minutes by bike to the office.
At the time, there weren’t so many places that allow to live together with a pet, so the conditions were really bad. It was a small apartment with one room and the rent was about 40,000 yen per month. The only window that the room had was totally covered by the apartment built next to it, and the room was like a cave that doesn’t get any sunshine. I also lived here about a year.
For my third place, it was a little bit far from my office compared to the previous apartment, but it was a room on the second floor with a bay window that gets a lot of sunshine. But soon after I moved to this place, I had to leave Rinse in my ex-husband’s care, who was living apart at the time by my son’s request. I was in Tokyo and my son was in Aichi then. Tokyo is pretty far from Aichi and he wasn’t able to see Rinse so often. My son said that he wanted to see Rinse on weekends at the house where his father lives in Aichi. I sent Rinse away for my son. It was a really tough decision, but I didn’t have any other choice.
Living Apart from Rinse
After Rinse going to Aichi, I was seriously depressed by pet loss. I went near the apartments that I had lived with Rinse and places I went for a walk together with her and cried thinking about her. But during the 3 years I was in Singapore with Rinse, my son and my daughter were missing Rinse. It was my turn to bear this situation. Then, 3 years have passed.
Rinse Came Back to My Place Again
One day, my ex-husband told me that he couldn’t take care of Rinse anymore for some reasons and asked me to take care of her. So, Rinse came back to my place again. It takes about 3 hours by train from Tokyo to Aichi and it was far, but I took Rinse to my son’s place as many times as I can. I moved my place 2 times after that, but the conditions of my apartment became better as I move since my income gradually increased. The fifth place is the apartment I live now and it’s a 2LDK place that gets a lot of sunshine. About 2 years until Rinse dies, she lived in the current apartment with me. She was already an old dog, but she went for a walk a lot, slept a lot, and she was really fine as before. Around that time, I was telling my daughter, “I’m having the happiest time ever in my life. Since I was a child, I wanted to live freely and relaxed with a cute doggy without considering about others.” A life only two of us with Rinse was lonely, but it was a very happy time at the same time. I thought this life will continue forever.
I Thought This Life Was Everlasting
On the other hand, I was thinking about the future of Rinse becoming an old dog. Such as considering about moving to a nearer place from my office, about 5 minutes by walk if possible, and I also visited a vet who can do visiting care at home. I started to kind of imagine about taking care of an old dog. But still, I never thought of Rinse dying.
One day, when my daughter came to visit from Tochigi, she suddenly said something weird like, “Rinse is getting really small. It might be the last time I can see Rinse. I want to hold her a lot today.”
But at that time, Rinse seemed to be fine just as usual to me, so I didn’t even take my daughter’s words seriously.
When I went to see a vet to get some medicine for filaria or get a vaccination, I did see some brochures written about a life of an old dog. But I didn’t really take them seriously and it seemed like somebody else’s business. Even when I sometimes took one of them in my hand, I only glanced through it and I never read it thoroughly.
Rinse didn’t eat a lot since she was young and her feces were sometimes soft, but she loved to have dog treats and she was hardly ever sick. She loved going out for a walk and she was an active girl that walks a lot. I had animal insurance for her, but I only had a few chances to use that.
I Saw “Dokutsu-Ojisan” on NHK
I think it was at the end of January 2017. I happened to see a movie on TV called “Dokutsu-Ojisan” (meaning “A Man in a Cave”) starring Lily Franky.
It was about a boy who ran away from his home to escape from his parents’ abuse and he secretly lived with a dog that he loved in a mountain. Lily Franky was acting the boy after he became an adult.
The boy was having a lonely, but a very happy life in the big nature with only the dog together. However, his beloved dog will die leaving the boy later in the movie.
I really felt sorry and sad when I saw this movie, but on the other hand, I think I was kind of having a sense of superiority over the story of the movie because Rinse was just fine at the time. I thought this sad story was something not related to me and it was just a movie.
Cherish the Memories and Live This Moment Happily
Rinse died a few months later after seeing the movie. Even though she was really fine.
To think back about my lonely days with Rinse means to think back my whole life.
I think it also means to think seriously how to live now and the future.
With this blog “TOKIMEKI COUNTDOWN,” I definitely want to find a way to live now and the future happily.
Translated Japanese into English by picolisco