Hi! And how are you all? I just came back from a wonderful holiday in Hainan, China and Sydney, Australia. It was a great break and the contrast between the two places was enormous. I liked both though, as each had its own appeal, the serenity and ‘village’ like Haikou (capital of Hainan) and the hustle and bustle of Sydney, with its beautiful bay and sea front.
This month I want to talk about a heart rendering true story of a dog and his loyalty to his master in Japan in the early 1900’s. In January, 1924, Dr Ueno, a professor at the Japanese Imperial University brought home a two-month old puppy of the Akita breed and named the pup Hachiko. After a few months as Hachiko grew older, it would always accompany the professor to the train station every morning, and would be waiting for him at the train station when Dr Ueno returned at 6 pm after work. This went on for a whole year until May 21, 1925 when Hachiko accompanied his master to the station in the morning and as usual was there at 6 pm. Only this time, it was not to be because although Hachiko waited and waited, Dr. Ueno never showed up. Dr. Ueno had apparently died from a stroke earlier that day at the University.
Some relatives of Dr Ueno then took Hachiko away and hoped to give the dog a new life with them. But this was not to be as Hachiko ran away immediately and returned to the train station to wait for his master. It then became the equivalent of a stray dog. Every evening without fail however it would return to the train station and wait for Dr. Ueno to get off the six-o’clock train; and every day, Hachiko would be disappointed. This went on for a full 9 years!
In March, 1935, Hachiko finally died after waiting for his master for almost ten years! This sad story touched the hearts of many people all over Japan and a statue was constructed at Shibuya Station, at the exact spot where Hachiko always waited. This moving story was also made into a movie entitled Hachiko : A Dog’s Love Story, and starred Richard Gere as Dr. Ueno.
You can watch snippets of the movie at the following links:
A warning though, please have some tissues beside you as I am most certain that many of you will get emotional after viewing the videos, especially the second one.
My main thoughts about this heart wrenching story are that of unconditional love and loyalty. Unconditional love means you love a person and accept them for who they are without reservation – meaning you don’t love only one part of the person, you love ALL of that person, good or bad. Sadly, this is a virtue that is rare these days.
And loyalty means that we are with a person come rain or shine. As Oprah Winfrey says “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” In that context, you only know your true friends in times of crisis, not good times! Never ever forget that!
Hachiko is a brilliant example of these two values. Sometimes we humans think that we are the ‘supreme’ beings when compared to animals but I think there is a lot that we can learn about life’s values like loyalty from simple dogs like Hachiko.
Thank you so much for reading this newsletter and I do hope I have brightened your day with a few tears! Have a great month of April and do take care.