A stray cat gave birth to a white kitten in a barn on Ihara Misao’s countryside property in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo. The cat was soon adopted and given the name Fukumaru, which means ‘good fortune’ and ‘circle’ in Japanese.
Ihara said, “ *When I see the way my grandmother is living her life, I really feel that she has a kind of strength that my generation simply can’t match. She gets up with the sun, and goes to bed when it sets. She loves her cat and the vegetables in her field like her own children. If her vegetables come out well, she’s happy. She doesn’t have to worry about questions like ’what is the point of my work?’ Her way of life fills me with admiration and a sort of envy*.”