Gentle and Fierce is a new book of illustrated memoir essays by Vanessa Berry. 

Rabbit Island/ Ōkunoshima Map

Waiting at the ferry terminal, I picked up a map of the island and examined it. Printed on thin green paper, it showed an outline of the island decorated by cartoon people riding bikes and playing sports, as well as a little cartoon rabbit. When we arrived at the island, though, there were very few people, and hundreds if not thousands of rabbits.

When I was writing about visiting Ōkunoshima, Japan's 'rabbit island', it took me a little while to dig through my papers to find the map again. After a while, I found it in a manila folder with other papers from that trip, including a toy catalogue open to a page of keychains in the shape of capybaras, a ticket for the Kyoto Tower, a paper napkin for 'Sweets Paradise', an inflatable paper ball in the shape of an octopus, and so on, the kinds of postcards and ephemera that are readily collected on holidays as souvenirs. This time capsule captured two weeks of cities and trains and tickets to museums, with this map as a key to the day I caught the ferry over to Ōkunoshima. A hot morning, travelling across the inland sea, my bag packed with carrots. 

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