From The Japan Times:
CHICHIBU, SAITAMA PREFECTURE – It was around 3 p.m. on a chilly day in December. The sky was overcast and the scent of rain hung in the air when Rina Kambayashi happened upon a creature she had never seen before. Opening the front door to her family’s gracefully weathered 150-year-old traditional wooden house, Kambayashi stepped out into the garden. She froze when she noticed a lone, dog-like animal standing among the withered shrubs growing by the rim of a small, empty, man-made pond. The distance between them was around 3 to 4 meters, the 53-year-old homemaker recalls when we meet in April at her residence on the outskirts of Chichibu, a mountain-ringed city in Saitama Prefecture.