Our neighbors (2004-03-15)

There are five apartments that make up our little complex. Three two-storied apartments adjacent to each other face the street and two single-story ones, one on top of the other, are tucked inside the courtyard behind us away from the public. The tenant occupying the top level is a single woman in her late twenties who has a ginger tabby tom cat. She takes him for a walk on a leash occasionally in the car park just in front of our apartment.

The one who lives under her has never shown his/her face. The curtains are always drawn, be it day or night. Sometimes a package left outside the door will sit there for months before it's picked up. If not for the few times when the washing is seen hanging in the balcony area outside the living room, you would not have thought that apartment is actually occupied.
The tenant who lives furthest away from our apartment is a single man in his late thirties or early forties. He wears his hair long and likes to really turn up the volume of his music during the day and treat everyone who walks past his apartment to some thundering pop and rock. But the music never continues past three in the afternoon. He is reticent and he likes cats. I saw him feed treats to a couple of stray cats and play with them last summer.

Our nextdoor neighbor's name plate on the door has three names on it. The name of the husband, the wife and their ginger tabby tom cat. Yes, they put their cat's name on the plate. There is no excuse why the cat's mail should end up in someone else's mail box now. The couple is polite and quiet. The wife is as elusive as our neighbor in the back. I have only seen her twice in the whole time we have lived here. Once I caught them leaving their apartment late at night. The second time they were out trying to walk their cat on a leash right outside our apartment when I was on my way out to see a friend. "Trying" is the right word because that cat obviously wanted nothing to do with the walking nonsense. He was freaking up to his eyeballs yanking on the leash using his neck to go anywhere but ahead. Who knows how long it had taken them to trudge that one lengthy meter (three feet) from their apartment to ours? I would've stayed to watch this farce unfold but I was in a hurry.

There is an empty styrofoam tray wedged between some branches in their tiny "frontyard" area. It's been sitting there when dinosaurs walked the Earth and they have made no attempt to remove it. I could've removed it for them like the numerous time I picked up bits of trash that got blown over to their apartment and stuck behind some branches before. This time I want to see whose tolerance for frontyard refuse wears out first. I have a feeling it won't be theirs.

Coincidentally we also have a ginger tabby tom cat. I also take him for a walk everyday from our apartment to the parking lot. That's the least I can do for him to make up for the backyard freedom that is taken away from him moving to Japan. He doesn't need a leash because he never tries to run away. When he starts to wander off course, a "no" is all it takes to steer him back on track. And he never misses the way home.
So there you have it, a unique clique of people sharing a small patch of land in Tokyo. We like to go for a walk, cats and all.

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