Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thieves, Tanuki and Turtles

I see that last week a fellow named Kimura was arrested for trying to steal a ceramic tanuki (raccoon dog) from the garden of a home in Toyohashi, near Nagoya. 

It seems that a homeowner caught him with a ceramic frog in his hands, and the 70 centimeter tanuki in his bicycle basket, late last Wednesday night. When the police later searched Kimura’s home, they found 15 more tanuki statues along with some ceramic dogs and frogs, for a total of 30-odd items.

Kimura, who lives alone, claimed to police that he was lonely since the deaths of his father and brother, so he had been stealing the animal garden ornaments for the last year or so, to have someone to talk to.

In another country, I suppose it might have been garden gnomes, or maybe the flamingos that used to adorn many lawns in California when I was growing up.

I haven't been in Toyohashi for many years, but I doubt that it has changed much since my last visit. At the time, as is the case with many Japanese cities, there were plenty of stray cats around. Befriending one of them and caring for it would seem preferable to talking to garden ornaments.

Actually, my first reaction to the story was that he should be put in touch with the people who found an alligator snapping turtle in nearby Nagoya the week before Kimura's arrest. Maybe they'd let him keep the 37 kilogram turtle as a pet, or enlist his assistance in catching the other one that got away.

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