My Japanese friend arrived from Fukuoka last week. Ikuko is an elegant, refined woman who has developed an information technology venture company with her Chinese husband. We have not seen each other for 25 years, and our enduring friendship has been based upon a common interest in animals. It certainly is not about information technology.
Ikuko loves all animals, but in Japan, quarters are small, and birds are common companions. Her bird, Yuchan, sings M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E, because Ikuko spent many hours teaching him to do so. Yuchan is a Cockatiel from Australia. He lives in Japan. He is proficient at chirping an iconic American song. Few of us could wish to be so cosmopolitan.
During Ikuko’s visit, our neighbors invited us over for dinner. The evening started with her showing the talented Yuchan video (above) to our entranced hosts. After this tender introduction of Ikuko and her contained Japanese life, we sat down to an extravagant meal of elk steaks, beef ribs and potato salad. This is unusual fare for Japanese, but she devoured it with relish while swilling down several glasses of local wine. Accompanying us were four large dogs, their chins at table height, eyeing the dinner with rolling eyes and lolling tongues. Dogs are prohibited dining companions in Asia, but Ikuko was delighted with this family composition. It was an evening of memorable banter and animated laughter with the clamor of happy canines as background ambiance.
Later, Ikuko and I were discussing cultural differences. Our dinner of human companionship had been magical, but interspecies exchanges are perhaps even more expansive, if one can open the heart/mind to this dimension. We contemplated cultural exchanges between species, otherwise known as: inter-species communication.
Yuchan’s Mickey Mouse rendition charmed many of my human friends, but it also piqued a response within our herd. I regret I didn’t have my camera with me, but you must take it on faith that when we played this ditty up in the corral, the equines huddled up to her iPhone to listen. What was transmitted was obviously interesting. Everything in nature sings, through voice or psychic vibrations, and they picked up on the strange, exotic quality of Yuchan.
Chief was interested, but feigned boredom. Geronimo declared the Navajo flute has a mellow depth that he prefers over a Cockatiel twittering, but he is haughty about his heritage. Traveler was characteristically mum. He is an old soul and wisely observant. They are all native Coloradans, and the tiny Yuchan with his dainty song was beyond their experience. However, since the exposure to his performance, I do believe they have refined themselves a wee bit. But I suspect Chief will be texting Yuchan a missive about “manning up”.
Chief turning towards the delicate side? Yuchan, the next Cosmo Cockatiel Swartzenegger? Not likely, but foreign exposure might put some baritone into Yuchan’s cute chirp. As for Chief…..the verdict is still out, but his eyes are softer these days.