Autumn time is famed for its beautifully coloured leaves (and for these fine specimens too!) with the red ones known as momiji a.k.a. Japanese red maple tree but a far prettier sight was on hand for us this Fall as my girlfriends family dog came to stay with us for a few weeks whilst they were away in Italy. Her name too is Momiji.
She’s 5 years old and is a cross between a chihuahua and a poodle and is sooooooo cute! Her eyes stare at you with such cuddly-toy dog style intensity and you instantly melt in her presence.
It’s been a long while (over 15 years!) since I had to look after a dog properly and I’d forgotten how nice it was to have one as a companion although it was also tiring at times as I often took Momiji out four times a day! As the first to wake up I usually took her out for a pee in the morning and then again just a couple of hours later before I left for work. Back home in Hiroshima she’s used to going bed at 8pm and getting up at 4-5am but with us things changed quite a bit!
On a few of the midweek days she was often left for 9-10 hours by herself before I got home and took her straight out followed by a final sanpo (walk) at around midnight before we all went to bed, usually with her lying in between us. I sure missed not having a back garden at times during this period! How nice it would’ve been to just push the back door open and let her out! Thankfully, she is very well trained and behaved and never once left any toilet business for us to clean up!
She has stayed at our place before but that was just for a few days back in July. This time it ended up being for nearly three weeks! My girlfriends mother came to pick her up and stayed for the final week in the process which was very nice and meant she wasn’t left on her own for such lengths of time.
We took Momiji to Inokashira Park in Kichijoji one Sunday and Yoyogi Park in Harajuku the one after with an additional trip to the latter with my girlfriends mum a few days after that. She always got plenty of attention when we were walking or carrying her among the Autumn leaves of these parks. It was interesting to see Momiji chase birds, interact with other dogs (bum sniffing and all that!), play with a simple stick and basically act like a dog which she rarely gets to do in the confines of Japanese apartments.
Unable to jump up on to our bed so easily we had to put a folded-up futon down next to the bed as a kind of stepping aid for her. It was also used as a place of rest of course as indeed were many other parts of the apartment including the sofa and the bed.
She was quite a high-maintenance dog at times always wanting to play or be stroked or touched and it was strange to return home the other day and not have her excitedly wagging her tail and jumping all over me at the door. She’ll be back one day though!