Friday, October 22, 2004

Japan, pets.

I knew someone had stolen my glasses back in Niseko. I mean, I don't just get drunk and lose things so easily.

Perhaps you didn't know, but when Japanese people see a cat dreaming on a fence, 54% of them feel envy. And according to a survey I've just found, only 11% think cats are an eyesore. Does that really surprise anyone? It certainly perplexed me.

What really perplexes me is the relationship that Japanese folks have with their pets. There's this guy who lives in our neighbourhood who walks around with these two little kitten-size terriors that he dresses in pink and blue jackets. The guy doesn't exactly look gay, but the dogs he walks around with and the way he treats them certainly convey that image. He looks at passers-by with extreme caution, as if he'd do anything to protect his little babies. I walked past him the other day and he didn't take his eyes off me until I'd disappeared round the corner.

And then the other day on my way to school I came across this woman who was 'managing' her dog while he was trying to have a crap. I know that it's against the law to let your dog excrement the streets in Japan and that owners should carry a pooper-scooper at all times, but this woman actually wiped the dog's arse afterwards. What's that all about? It must be really demeaning for the dog; poor bastard must be made to feel like he can't even wipe his own backside.

And another thing I've noticed is the lack of movement that dogs in Japan are allowed. Most animals I see are cramped up in their cages most of the time. People in Japan don't exactly have large yards in which dogs can roam around, and the Japanese would never put up with stray dogs ducking around on the streets. It's a difficult situation in a country that is lacking in space, but the consequences are real. Being kept in such a restricted environment gets these dogs angry, and it's rare that you'll come across a Japanese breed with a friendly character. I can speak from experience. In Niseko last year I got bitten by a dog after it had seduced me into it's environs with a fake smile and placid aura. The little bastard just snapped and went beserk, and I was left with blood all over my left hand. The dog that bit me was one of these indigenous breeds

This is a picture of Myuu, who is a dog aside from all the rest. This little old fella lives just down the road from me and is as placid as they come.