Virginia hails from the blog *The Poupounette Gang all the way over in France. Yet even from so far away, Virginia has managed to send countless packages, make donations, and buy bricks. As I try to make a small difference here in my tiny little corner of the world, Virginia helps me from across the ocean. Today’s brick honors her Ikkyu. Here is his story, in Virginia’s words.
I had wanted a pet all my life and had always been particularly fond of cats. All through my childhood, I kept asking my parents for one and the answer was always no. Their excuse was that we travelled too much and it would be too complicated. After I graduated from university, I moved to Japan and lived there for many years. I worked in the financial services industry, a job with lots of money and absolutely no soul, and eventually became depressed and started seeing a counsellor. She had an Abyssinian cat called Simba. As we talked, it became clear that the need to share my life with an animal was still very great. I had a recurring dream of climbing up a rickety tower, into a room that had nothing in it but a large wooden chest with an orange cat sitting on it. The counsellor made it clear to me that I needed to (A) leave my job and (B) get a kitten! And I did. Her cat had kittens and she picked IKKYU for me. He came to live with me when he was 7 weeks old. I named him IKKYU, after a very famous Japanese Zen Buddhist monk who was known for his wisdom and also his sense of mischief and humour.
He was a wonderful cat and sweet companion but he only loved me. There were a couple of other people, one of them being my Mother, whom he tolerated but that was about it. Nobody else could even pet him! But with me, he was sweet and gentle and playful and good and we shared 15 wonderful years together. We lived on three continents (Asia, North America and Europe) and he was quite used to travelling by plane, in the cabin of course! He was never sick until he developed renal problems and diabetes at the end of his life.
He was very particular about what he ate, having gotten used to the high quality of premium Japanese pet food, which is mostly fish-based. So even after we left Japan, I used to import his favourite canned food for him, first to Chicago and then to France. He was also extremely fond of smoked salmon!
Ikkyu started me on the road to sharing my life with animals. Whilst he was still alive, there was no way I could have another pet as he was so exclusive. But now, I have four cats, all Abyssinians, a dog and two horses! Life is good and I will always be grateful to Ikkyu for showing me I had been right all along!
Virginia ~ THANK YOU.