Within a few weeks of the Great Tohoku Earthquake, the family and I returned to central Japan after almost a year of living in Kashiwa. Nozomi was terrified of going outside for too long and would often want to stay very close to our apartment. The quake had affected her quite a bit, as she would barely eat any food and would jump any time a large truck drove by. In an effort to calm her down, I started taking her out for longer walks. She wouldn't go very far on her own, but she was happy to be carried as far as I wanted to go. One of her favourite places turned out to be Ochiai Park, a relatively large recreation area at the edge of the city where she could run around relatively freely and sniff for years without covering the same ground twice. The park sits about 3km northeast of where we used to live, making for a pleasant 40-minute walk. She hasn't been back to Ochiai Park since we moved to the new house, as it's a bit too far for us to walk, but The Boy enjoys the place quite a bit1.
While I am concerned about the unseasonably mild temperatures that we've had this year, the weather today was too nice to stay home. A family picnic was in order and Ochiai is generally a good place to have one. Free parking, several square kilometres of open grass, and being less than 15 minutes away by car makes it an ideal getaway. As expected, everyone enjoyed the time together.
At some point, we'll have to encourage Nozomi to come along with us again2.
- Nozomi doesn't like being driven places anymore, so we generally don't take her very far from the house unless we plan on being out for an entire day or overnight. Then she doesn't have a choice in the matter. ↩
- While Nozomi is very gentle and has never so much as even barked at The Boy, I think she feels forgotten when we're all out together. If it's just her and me, we get along quite well. When she's near the boy, she seems bored and uninterested in the world. ↩