During these chaotic times of bombs, mass shootings and apocalyptic fires, I’m seeking comfort wherever I can find it. Needing more than DeathbedFood, I was lucky to randomly come across my favorite book from childhood: “Taka-chan and I” by Runcible (the dog) as told to Betty Jean Lifton. This happenstance was exactly the antidote I needed to fight the barrage of terrifying and tragic news.
Almost 50 years old, the book is dog-eared which is fitting given that it’s a story about a dog. I read it around age 7 with my mom. I’ve thought about it occasionally over the years. I remembered its name, cover and photos vividly. I even tried to find it by Googling but came up empty, not surprising given the book was written in the 60’s.
But, there it was on my parent’s bookshelf, torn cover and all. The first thing I did was open it up to find my handwritten “I Love You” in big bold 7-year-old letters. I assume I wrote that for my mom and dad but it applies for the book too.
I HAVE GOOD NEWS! You can get this book on Amazon. If you have children, or even if you don’t, order it. Guarantee it will lift your spirits. Here’s the story:
This story of adventure, bravery, daring, friendship, and honor begins when Runcible, a Weimaraner, digs a hole from Cape Cod all the way to Japan. There he meets Taka-chan, a little girl who has been imprisoned by a fierce and fearsome sea dragon. The dragon is angry that Taka-chan’s father and his fellow fishermen no longer pay him proper respect, but he is willing to free Taka-chan on one condition: Runcible must seek out the most loyal creature in all Japan and lay a flower at his feet. So Taka-chan and Runcible set out on a quest of discovery that takes them to the bustling heart of Tokyo. From palace grounds to noodle shop, Runcible explores the city, stopping at nothing to solve the mystery that will release his new friend from her captivity.
Taka-chan and I joins image and word in a tale that is as thrilling as it is poignant. Betty Jean Lifton, a lifelong student of Japanese folklore, and Eikoh Hosoe, a renowned Japanese photographer, have together created an enduring work of beauty that is fit to share a shelf with a classic like The Red Balloon.
I’ll leave you to marinate on the photographs by Eikoh Hosoe. I hope they help to soothe your soul as they have done for me over the years and as they are doing now.
*** The End ***