Anyone who has read “A Street Cat Named Bob” by James Bowen would not have failed to have been affected by it. All these people, myself included, felt the recent loss of Bob too, illustrated not least by the huge out pouring of condolences and support for James at this sad time. At the time of writing over £100,000 has been raised to erect an memorial statue to Bob in London and support James to make documentaries around the world to raise awareness of homelessness. Bob continues to support James and make all of us look up and make eye contact with those we previously walked past. My story is just one of many thousands of interconnections that little ginger moggie enabled in our hurried and stressful world. If you enjoy mine, share yours in the comments below.
In 2013, I was up late looking through Facebook posts when I saw a picture of a Japanese magazine cover with James and Bob. I read the post from a lady called Tamako in Tokyo who had shared the picture and the article about James and Bob’s story. Being a big fan of “A Street Cat Named Bob”, I sent a message to Tamako saying I would be happy to send her a copy of the book if she sent me her contact details. After sending the message I wondered if I would get a reply, would I send my address to a complete stranger on the other side of the world? Fortunately, Tamako took that leap of faith and replied with her address and asked for mine to send me a copy of the Japanese magazine featured. This was the start of a lasting pen pal friendship across the world, brought together by James and Bob and their amazing story. We swapped James’ books, DVDs and music from the film, sending cards and cat calendars at Christmas not to mention copies of the Big Issue which featured Bob and photos of our respective vendors. Although I can’t read Japanese, Tamako’s English is excellent and photos of James and Bob transcend language.
Tamako is an outstanding artist and has created some amazing pictures of James and Bob. On their Japanese tour she met them at the airport and was photographed with James and Bob with her picture appearing in the September 2017 issue of the Big Issue here in the UK.
I had never had a chance to meet James and Bob but due to lockdown there was an opportunity to speak to James via a Zoom link. I told James the story of how Tamako and I had become friends, sharing his stories. He remembered meeting Tamako and reminisced about the trip to Japan.
It was 5.30pm in London, 1.30 am for Tamako but she was watching the Facebook feed and was thrilled to hear me tell James our story and that he remembered her. This meet and greet zoom chat would be the last opportunity to meet James with Bob before he crossed the rainbow bridge and I feel privileged to have had a opportunity to meet them both after and for the friendship with Tamako which as I said to James in the zoom chat, was just one of the many thousands of ways in which Bob not only changed James’ life but those of so many other people around the world, including me and Tamako.
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