Over the weekend I lost my beloved pet bird, Bobby. He provided a huge amount of joy to my late wife and I, and since Akiko passed away, he’s been a truly incredible companion. Always there with a chirp at just the right time, or chatting contentedly on my shoulder — both of us simply happy to be together. He was also a good listener, although despite being bilingual, his vocabulary wasn’t the best, so his responses were rather limited. But that was ok. He was always there. That was the main thing.
Time, however, can’t be stopped, let alone turned back, and despite being as tough as he was terrific, age finally caught up with the little fella. A long life ended, but one that was filled with fun, and no small amount of naughtiness, just like it should be.
A loss that got me thinking about many things, but it also made me realise how important pets are, along with animals in general, in a metropolis like Tokyo. The capital may well have a truly massive population, but it can be a very lonely city for many of its inhabitants. All that concrete and steel sometimes creates an unhealthy detachment from the natural world as well, so below is a series of photos I’ve taken over the years of Tokyo residents interacting with their non-human counterparts. Several of the moments are poignant. A few may even be deemed inappropriate. In one way or another though, I think they all show a connection and simple pleasure that it’s all too easy to lose out on.