7:  Anne’s agony

My heart was full with memories of from when I first saw Anne until the time she left. She never showed bad feelings towards me, even though I first took such an arrogant attitude towards a respectable English animal technician such as herself. On the contrary, every time we met, Anne would smile and say good morning and hello in the Japanese she had learned. I told her to wash the blankets and bandages soiled with excrement using the washing machine in my office, but she said that she did not want to cause me any trouble, and would take them to the rooftop and wash them using a metal basin and washboard. In winter, her poor beautiful hands would become chapped and frostbitten. She would stay up all night nursing postoperative dogs that were progressing poorly and were about to die. A flood of such memories flashed before my eyes.

Even after we met she had trouble with certain breeding technicians and researchers, as she would feed the dogs bread and milk she had bought herself, in addition to the usual solid food. She was always quarreling with those people about her feeding the dogs, because they gave what she though was an absurd reason for not doing so, namely that the amount of droppings would increase and would be bothersome to clean up. Researchers complained that they felt uneasy because Anne would point out their poor handling of the animals every time they tried to perform experiments. Knowing the way experimental animals were treated in her home country, Anne was probably in a quandary about why people in Japan did not understand what she was trying to accomplish.

With increasing frequency, she would visit my office after work, sit in a corner chair, and smoke and drink whiskey heavily. If I had been able to speak English, I would have been able to listen more attentively to her agonizing. She looked very sad, drooping her head and slouching while she drank. The gift that she left me might have been a sign asking me to speak up for her.

I had heard of an episode where, before she came to our university, a TV station found out about her activities and asked her to appear on a program. Even during taping, she would say, “Right now, while I am sitting here, dogs are suffering,” and would offer the interviewer heartfelt remonstrations. This shows how deeply she worried about the plight of the animals. Perhaps she was resigned that no matter how vigorous her appeals about the present sorry state, only a few Japanese would understand her. Anne was a perfectionist with all she did, and hated dishonesty. So, taking her personality into account, the fact that she had to return to England meant that she must have been severely ill, but at that time, I thought emotional entanglement, rather than disease, was the reason.