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California born by a Cuban mother, married to a Japanese man, and have lived in Japan since 2004, minus one year living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I have friends and family in many places in the world. I dreamed of traveling to many distant lands, creating music and dancing to it, meeting interesting people, and discovering treasures in the most unlikely of places.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Race Horses In the Japanese Countryside

Two years ago, Shinpei and I were driving around Saga randomly, off the beaten path. I saw many horses in pens, which is rare in Japan, so we went to take a look. The stables had "No Entrance" and "Stop!" signs all over the doors... so I was intrigued. The horses were all thoroughbreds and arabians, some huge, and a few who looked very, very sensitive and intelligent, and looked at us as though they wanted us to play with them or interact. I was struck by their majesty and obvious sensitivity and intelligence. There were three that I liked in particular, which when I spoke to them, looked up very curiously. One was at least 18 hands high, his dark brown head towering above the others. The other two were chestnut, and I will never forget the look of one of them, who was about 15 horses away. It looked so much like it wanted me to go to it. After a few moments of gazing at the lovely beasts warily, which were all quite well and very beautiful, a young man came around from the back. We asked him if we could look at the horses from the gate, and he said yes. We then asked why there were so many obviously expensive horses there. He said that they were being fattened up for horsemeat, and, get this, that they were former race horses (thus the VERY EXPENSIVE nature of them!), When they arrived, they would be fattened up in the stalls for three months and then would be butchered. Horsemeat is a delicacy in Japan, and eaten raw, not too differently from the way some people eat their beefsteak still dripping "rare". I am not making a statement about them being horses in particular, or not eating horse, because I think cows and pigs, and even chickens can be very sweet and become great pets. But I think it is a horrible shame, because they ARE pets already, trained and very well-bred to be so, and it is a horrible WASTE to eat them when they could live much longer lives and enrich ours in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine...for example, as per this article. I want to do this! I have never heard of anyone saving racehorses in Japan, but if Shinpei and I stay here, I would love to someday save some of those horses and give them a new home. There is a woman who writes about animals whose name is Temple Grandin and is autistic. She wrote in one of her books, I believe it was Animals in Translation, that she went to a special school where the students, who had emotional or other disorders, worked with the horses. It is also an interesting idea, and if someone were willing, could give the horses yet another reason (for humans) to (let them) live.

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