Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hachiko

This trip to Tokyo is awesome! Let me start my Japan-related posts with Hachiko, known to be the world's most loyal dog. Besides my fondness for dogs, loyalty is one of the virtues I treasure most in life. One of the main reasons I wanted to visit this city of high rises and tangled train lines was to see Hachiko's monument in front of Shibuya Station, to visit his grave and to pay my respects in Aoyoma Cemetery. I have only watched the English version of the movie but already cried buckets of tears. I'm looking forward to see the Japanese version. I think it will be more realistic.

Hachiko is a Japanese Akita taken by Professor Hidesaburo Ueno in 1924. He greeted the professor at the end of each day at Shibuya Station which has become part of their daily routine until his master suddenly died in 1925, never returning to the train station where he was waiting. For nine years, Hachiko did his vigil at the train station until he died in 1935.


Shibuya Station's Exit.



The old train car.


Can you spot Hachiko?


After checking Hachiko's monument near the infamous Shibuya Crossing, Mike and I went to search for Hachiko's grave in Aoyama Cemetery by walking from Shibuya, Omotesando then Aoyama. It was a long walk. We were able to enjoy the beautiful sakura trees lining the area.


Sakura up close.


When we arrived in Aoyama Cemetery, we went to the office and asked for directions to Professor Ueno's and Hachiko's grave. The security officer gave us a map and explained directions in Japanese, although we didn't understand most of it, the directions on the map seem easy to figure out. Just follow the main path in the center and look for row 12.


Professor Hidesaburo Ueno's grave. On the right most side is Hachiko's.


 Hachiko's little grave up close.


Since we didn't bring flowers, I picked a stem of Japanese cherry blossoms and placed it in the center. Hachiko's bones are buried here but his skin was preserved and stuffed. I think it is on display at local museum here in Tokyo. By the way, Hachiko Day is celebrated every 8th of April in front of his monument that usually starts at 12 noon.

Hachiko's story is so moving. Seeing his memorial gave a deeper meaning. His loyalty and unconditional love is an inspiration to me and to many.

Photos taken using Canon 550D and iPhone 5

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