The Travelling Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

Despite appearances, I’m a pretty intelligent, well-mannered cat, and I worked out how to use the toilet right away and never once soiled the floor. Tell me not to sharpen my claws on certain places, and I refrain. The walls and door frames were forbidden so I used the furniture and rug for claw-sharpening. I mean, he never specifically mentioned that the furniture and the rug were off limits. (Admittedly, he did look a little put out at first, but I’m the kind of cat who can pick up on things, sniff out what’s absolutely forbidden, and what isn’t. The furniture and the rug weren’t absolutely off limits, is what I’m saying.)

I think it took about two months to get the stitches out and for the bone to heal. During that time, I found out the man’s name. Satoru Miyawaki.

9780857524195Five years ago, Nana, a stray cat in Tokyo, met his first and ever human friend whom he believed himself destined to belong to, and mutually endeared one to another. At first, their encounter didn’t start off smoothly without a doubt, because Nana was a stray cat who had gone through the fiercest and fittest theory of survival as well as several “carnage” on the streets. But staying with his owner, Satoru, Nana not only developed a “worldly wisdom” that was confined to the feline world but also experienced a nobility, once it’s in a humans’ heart, could be invaluable.

Then one day, Satoru, a young man who was in his thirty odd years, notified one friend after another that he would be setting off to make a visit along with Nana. First was an elementary school friend (now a photo studio proprietor), second a junior high school pal (farmer), third a couple (owners of a B&B / orchard field) who were his high school classmates – hence provided the titular cat on a silver van with his owner and an unforgettable journey on the roads of Japan. The third-person narrative recounted the inescapable helplessness, weaknesses and self-doubt that each of the friends they had at some points of their lives while sharing a friendship with Satoru, and how those points from then on transferred onto their adulthood with guilt, regrets, and remorse. Satoru and Nana, after some years, came to mend their wounds and help them confront and embrace the past.

One of the enchanting elements of the story is Satoru’s nobility. He never thought fate was miserable to him; he appreciated that little collateral’s beauty in life –  that things and people are intertwining to crotchet stories surrounding us that make lives meaningful; and while reading the book, my tears are always racing against the plot before it unveiling itself. It’s very overwhelming to lock myself into the aura of devotion and preciousness of love shared between Nana and Saturo; they deserved to have one another, and Saturo was a very likeable owner to be so incomparably observant and perceptive to Nana’s feelings that only pets are contained to do towards humans. “[A] proud cat like me wasn’t about to abandon his pal. If living as a stray was what it took to be Satoru’s cat to the very end, then bring it on.” I must say, I really like this book and while reading it, I have a feeling that I very much eager to be liked by none other creature than Cats; and I am proud to say that there was once in my life during my boarding school years a cat that I very much endeared to had licked my hand.

By the way, inspired by a novel I had read around two years ago, I’m travelling to Kuching, Malaysia within a month. It’s very exciting if those days I am spending in Kuching could be posted up here very soon! 🙂

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