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"INU" a well travelled soul

  • Reaching into my bag, I could always find it, simply by the soft feel of it and its long cylindrical shape. As I pulled it out of my handbag, I could recognize the feel of a long crisscross metallic line across its sausage shaped body, with a carefully attached zipper, laid across its back.

    Once the item was lifted out of the bag into the light, a round sock-like head appeared, with a somewhat dirty white face and two chocolate colored strips of cotton material forming two floppy ears, complemented by two black beaded eyes and a black bead for its nose, giving it an appearance of a King Russell Spaniel. The bottom of the little animal consisted of white terry cloth material for its tummy with two white balls at the front and back to enable the little animal to sit serenely on a desk. The top of this little dog was ocher to match the ocher strips placed just above its small dark imploring eyes.

     Seeing it for the first time, many observers smiled, believing it was an insignificant object, however, it had soothed the nerves, of most of my English language students, who appreciated its sobriety and “Zen” qualities, when they entered the classroom. Instantaneously, taciturn individuals were magically transformed into garrulous ones, who wanted to know all about the sausage dog.

     “Where did he come from?” “What’s his name?” “How old is he?” they inquisitively probed.

    Amazed and pleased by the personality changes of my former reticent students, I tried to satisfy their curiosity without correcting any of their pronunciation errors.

    The little dog sat solemnly as I answered their questions. No, the plush dog did not come from China; he was manufactured in Korea. No, I didn’t give him a Korean name, his name is” Inu,” which means dog in Japanese. “How long have I had him”, as you can see by his worn looking body, he is over ten years old. “Who gave him to me?” “Well, it was my son’s wife’s mother, Keiko.

     Reminiscing I pictured the day, when my Japanese daughter-in-law, Yuko, handed me the package. This is a gift for you from my mother”, she explained. “She thought it would suit you. It’s a well-travelled dog; my mother bought it when she was visiting Korea, it travelled back to Japan, she brought it to us in Spain, and now it is here with you in France.”

     “Where was he made exactly?” another student quizzed me.

    This question had never arisen before; so not being able to answer him, I looked up the origins of the little dog on internet to find that there were more than 38 companies, in China and Korea, that produced this type of toy, employing from 101 to 200 employees, who worked in a factory from 101 to 200 meters square. The revenue of one of these companies was quoted as 2.5 to 5 million U.S. dollars in revenue each year. Inother words “Inu” was priceles

     

     

     

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