When I was a child, I loved reading books. More precisely, I loved living the books. What this meant was that I often got so absorbed in my reading that I started to live my daily life feeling as if I were the hero or heroin of the story I was reading.
When I was about nine or ten, I read a book about a cat’s adventure written from the cat’s perspective. This cat was once happily owned by a lovely young girl in rural Japan, but one day, as he was trying to escape from a mean shopkeeper in the neighbourhood, he hopped onto a commercial truck and travelled to Tokyo, miles away from home. Suddenly finding himself a street cat in a big city, he struggled to survive at first, but after making friends with other street cats and a few kind-hearted humans in the neighbourhood, he eventually thrived and grew into a mature cat.
I became so fond of this book that I read it over and over again. One thing I particularly loved other than the storyline was the description when this cat and his friends visited an elderly human lady and received food and drink from her. The old lady always fed the cats with a few dried fish and a bowl of milk. It was written in detail how they sipped the milk and how delicious it tasted. I was fascinated.
Back then, on weekends, when we had sandwiches for breakfast, my mother used to give me a glass of milk. One day, I asked her to pour the milk in a flat bowl.
“See, Mom, I want to drink the milk like a cat!” I explained to her.
My mother rolled her eyes and looked at me with a face that said “There she goes again!” but nonetheless poured my milk in a flat bowl.
I imagined myself as a cat hungry and thirsty. I imagined that somebody had given me this bowl of milk just like in the book. Then, like a cat, I started to use my tongue to sip my milk from the bowl. It was difficult since I wasn’t used to drinking milk like that.
“So, how does it taste?”
asked my mother after a while. Still sipping the milk from the bowl, I answered her.
“It’s not easy, Mom. But I can tell you, it tastes better this way!”
I didn’t have the patience to sip all the milk with my human tongue, so after several minutes of trying, I switched back to the human method, and held the bowl and drank the rest of the milk. Even so, the milk tasted better in the flat bowl than in a normal glass. At least, that’s how I felt.