One of Hachi's Special Friends, Sira Sudhindranath, who we call "World Wide Hachi Ambassadors" took a group of 12 families and 17 dogs to visit Hachi's statue at the train depot in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. They call themselves the "I Luv my Coton de Tulear" group.
The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council Members kindly hosted the group who came from California, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. They were welcomed by Oscar Hancock of American Beauty Signworks of Woonsocket and Donna Houle of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.
After seeing "Hachi: A Dog's Tale" in late 2013, Sudhindranath was curious to see which real-world town was chosen to portray the town of "Bedridge" where the film story took place. Using Google and Bing Maps, he located the train depot at Woonsocket and other film locations. Along with help from the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, he gathered a group of dog-lovers and their dogs to visit the film location.
They walked the Hachi Trail in Woonsocket, which follows movie site locations from the film. The popular trail (www.facebook.com/thehachitrail) was designed by Sudhindranath and the group walked their dogs, learned about the history of Woonsocket, enjoyed lunch at Palace Pizza, followed by hot dogs and coffee milk (the official state drink of coffee syrup and milk) from New York Lunch at Market Square. "The weather was good and we all had a very enjoyable tour of the movie locations, plus some excellent food," said Sudhindranath.
Many Hachi fans have followed the Hachi Trail that was so generously mapped by Hachi's Special Friend. If you have a chance, it's a lovely visit to a charming town with many warm memories of Hachi! Be sure to say hi to Donna Houle at the train depot. She was present during the entire shoot and has many stories.
Vicki Shigekuni Wong
I first spotted Hachiko's statue many years ago at Shibuya Station. Upon returning home, I adopted a dog and named him Hachi. When he passed away, I missed his reflective, welcoming and calm ways. We can all learn from the innate emotional grace of our animal friends and the Way of Hachi. I love sharing the story of the loyal dog of Japan, and hope he inspires more people to "Be Hachi"!