While I did (and still do) have a lot of work for today, an emergency kitten crisis presented itself and I had to respond. One thing I needed to do was go over to the hokenjo (city health center), which has a department dealing with stray cats. It’s located over the Nakagawa, somewhat near the Katsushita city hall.
In the past, for a trip like that, I would either use my moped or a taxi, or maybe a bus if the routes were ok.
But I looked on the map (not the new Apple Maps; if I did that I wouldn’t be posting this message now) and saw where it was. It’s about 3 times as far as my usual bike route, across the river, into the Aoto area. I figured I’ve been cycling for months now and building up strength. And the weather had cooled off since Saturday. So I felt ready to expand my horizons and set off.
No foreshadowing of disaster here. It was a great trip.
First, I was completely floored by something. A mere 5 meters from where I always turn back (just 5 meters, just beyond what I was able to see until now) there is the huge Katsushita City Sports Center! Like, wow! I have been there before, but I always went by moped along route 7, not along the river, and I didn’t realize it was right there!
Amazed, I pedaled on, wondering what new adventures lay in store for me.
I crossed the bridge into Aoto. Not having the best sense of direction (and since Google Maps gave me 3 alternate routes) I asked a nearby workman, “Which way is it to city hall?” He looked at me like I was a half-wit and said, “See that orange line in the middle of the road? Just follow it straight ahead.”
“Oh. Okay, thanks.” Straight ahead on the same road off the bridge. Who knew?
And I was off again. I figured I could ask for more directions when I got to the city hall.
I passed the city tax office (so that’s where it is) and an Olympic store (nice to know) and sure enough, there was city hall, on a nice, tree-lined street. I pedaled into the parking lot and asked the attendant where the health center was and pulled out my iPhone. Looking wary he said, “Let’s go inside and look at a real map.”
Inside a nice lady drew over a hand-out map. “Just go to the end of the street. Turn right at Don Quixote (also nice to know) and go down to the Aoto 4-chome traffic light and turn right. You can’t miss it.”
Well, I actually can miss it. I have a notoriously bad sense of direction. But I found it. Along the way I passed a large Kojima Pet Store. Also nice to know. I made a mental note to pick up some bird seed on the way home.
The Katsushita City Health Center is a huge, modern – and almost empty building. I guess most people are healthy. Or maybe most people don’t know what a city health center is for. This is the first time I ever happened to visit one in decades. One thing they do is pet licensing and helping with stray cats. I really don’t want to think about what else they do – but let’s just say they are not a “no kill” rescue center.
There was no waiting, so I got info on getting Chako spayed. They will subsidize a whopping 4,000 yen of the cost, about 11% of the total. And I also got some free mokusakueki (wood vinegar) to keep cats away. (Foreshadowing on this – it doesn’t work at all.)
Thanking them I headed back. Stopped at Kojima I got some bird seed, looked at some cute birds and various little mammals, and headed back to the river. I turned left at Don Quixote, left again at city hall, followed the orange line back to the river, crossed the bridge, passed the sports center and I was back on my usual return route.
On the way back I did some grocery shopping and then headed home.
Total cycling time: about an hour and a half. And what’s amazing is – I wasn’t tired at all! If I had the time, I would take more longer cycling trips like that on a cool-ish day. It was actually very invigorating. And I used up loads of calories.
I actually didn’t accomplish anything though. Chako and the kittens are still here. It appears they love the smell of wood vinegar.