THEY MUST BE BARKING

In Japan, dogs don’t go “woof woof” they go “wan wan”. So on 1st November,   1.11 or ‘one. one one’ with some allowance for pronunciation, it’s not surprising that it was a day for celebrating one’s pooches. In the late 1970s when I first came to Japan we English were known as, or accused of, being dog-lovers. However since I returned nearly 10 years ago I’ve noticed a proliferation of facilities for man’s best friend. Or should that be man’s best wan? Yoyogi Park even has a dedicated dog run where those who register their pets can let them run free and socialise with their canine cousins. They are segregated according to weight though to avoid playground bullying of the dachshunds by the Dobermans (or vice versa maybe). Near to the Sangubashi entrance to the Park is a row of poodle parlours and hound hotels for when your pet needs pampering.

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Most Japanese dog owners are socially responsible citizens and always take their plastic bags when out walking their ‘wan-chan’ (the diminutive term). As well as the bags, often disguised in more decorative canvass containers (don’t air your dirty stuff in public) many also take a bottle of water with them to sprinkle on their spaniel’s sprinkle or pour on their poodle’s piddle. But, in a country where guidance and instructions are all important at the park entrances visitors are reminded:

“In a lovely pet for you (owner), the animal of the dog etc. comes and feeling that it is scary hated one also comes. Tie firmly by the leash (dragrope) etc., and never pasture it in the park”!

The following sign is probably easier to understand though:

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I was also told that 1st November was national sushi day. So let’s hope the two occasions were kept firmly apart.

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