A single beam of light slipped through into the room as the shoji (Japanese style sliding door) crept open just a few centimeters. I bolted awake. It wasn’t my own bed I was asleep in; I was staying at a friend’s family home for the night and was currently enjoying that first night of sleep common to hotel rooms, half asleep, half awake and keenly aware of the foreignness of my surroundings.
And that’s before you factor in the tatami floor and shoji.
I heard a scraping. A flash of it, hurried, earnest and utterly new to me.
What manner of guest had snuck into the guest bedroom in the dead of night?
What on earth produced such a rapid burst of scratching?
And with that her cold wet nose, shining eyes and panting mouth were face to face with me as I lurched back on the futon in surprise.
Evidently tiny dogs named after biblical figures are more than capable of opening sliding doors and scaring the bejesus out of me.
I suppose it’s to be expected. Staying in unfamiliar surroundings often leads to such moments.
Then there’s the danger that occurs from making familiar surroundings unfamiliar. Salarymen generally achieve this by getting blind drunk and forgetting what apartment they live in within your nondescript box of a building and thus stumble drunkly into your room only to discover that not only is the contents of said room foreign to them but so is the resident.
I’ve never forgotten to lock my door after that.
So when I eventually venture back to the UK from time to time you’d think I’d find some comfort in the familiarity of home. My old bed, the absence of endless crickets chirping throughout the summer, the double-glazing cutting out most of the outside world should all lead to a peaceful night’s slumber for my wearied jet lagged limbs.
But the door creaked on its hinges. It swung open with a bang. That familiar noise transported from tatami mats to Matt’s wooden floors. No futon but the opportunity to launch beneath the bed before I could catch a glimpse of my early morning visitor.
For *#%*’s sake… Rodney…
I shuffled away from my pillow to lean over the bed and look beneath, found nothing, wondered where the hell he’d got to (cut me some slack, this is a pre-coffee story) and then promptly saw him peek out from the other side of the bed before darting out of sight. I clicked my fingers on the right side of the bed hoping to lead him out to the door. Evidently my sister uses clicking as a signal for something else because I immediately heard a mad dash, crash and whump as he landed in the bed behind me. I turned to find him across my pillow, laying on his back, paws pulled up and a quizzical expression etched across his mug that that seemed to say,
“What? I’ve been here the whole time.”
And he had.
My bed, my futon, was back in Japan.
This one belonged to Rodney now.
Look at that face! How did you ever leave him?!
Haha as cute as he is I was rather tired of dog hairs in my bed after… well immediately.
Ahh, well, we have two shiba who shed more or less all year round, so I don’t actually remember what it feels like to eat food without dog hair in or wear something black that still looks black. My students were staring at me the other day and eventually someone asked “so, how MANY dogs do you have?!” I guess that’s a sign that my lint brush is no longer keeping up with the shedding >.<
Lol, I started to wonder something similar when my dark blue dressing gown seemed to be looking a shade closer to Rodney.
Hey Matt! I’m a friend of Ashley (Harbers-Iwasko)’s — and I may or may not have been stalking your blog for quite some time after she introduced me to it. Now that I actually have an account of my own, I feel the need to comment and tell you that they hypothetical stalking I’ve done has been most enjoyable. Thanks for posting! Sophia
What a self introduction! Very nice to meet you Sophia and glad you’ve enjoyed the blog!