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Posts tagged pets

Japanese cat

cat japan

If one had to sum up Japan in three words, all three could come from this photo: beauty (the roof tiles), cement, and pets.

By request, this could be a scene out of Kafka on the Shore as well.

Guinea Pig (モルモット) bliss

Who knew that putting a rodent in someone’s lap could cause such a change in happiness?

Arakawa Amusement Park (あらかわ遊園) was the place. If you are visiting Tokyo with kids this is an easy place to get to on the Toden Arakawa Line (都電荒川線) (and it’s cheap).

Guinea Pig holding festival

Which of these kids, holding or wanting-to-hold a guinea pig, do you think is mine? I’ll give you a hint. It isn’t the one making the Mr. Spock peace sign. Which brings up another question, also a hint. Is it more interesting for a Japanese kid to hold a guinea pig or to sit next to a giant, jolly green foreigner? In Tokyo, it appears, the former. Get out into Japan’s countryside, and I bet it would be the latter.

This photo was taken at the Arakawa Amusement Park (あらかわ遊園), which can be found if you hop off at the right stop on Tokyo’s last remaining street car line.


As promised, I took some cherry blossom (sakura) pictures of the Kanda River this morning. In the above photo some people are staking out a spot for flower viewing (hanami). Blue tarps are always used for some reason.

We sat on one of the blue tarps this past weekend at a hanami we were invited to attend. There weren’t many flowers yet, but the food was great, the company much more pleasant than the non-smiling faces above indicate, and we played loads of tennis with them too.

Everyone (except those suffering from allergies I suppose) loves sakura, but there are three groups who really love the cherry blossoms. They are the photographers, …

… the kids, …

and especially the (old) ladies (with a camera).

Kansenen Koen (甘泉園公園) has only one cherry tree. What it lacks in numbers it makes up for in magnificence as that one tree is really spectacular.

Basho’s hermitage is in the background of the above photo. The river is once again the Kanda.

Watching this guy try to get a picture of his bulldog along with the cherry blossoms brought a bigger smile to my face than the blossoms themselves. Everyone is happy when the blossoms are out. It’s a great time to take a walk and see everyone smiling, even if you can’t get your pet to grin.

More pets than children in Japan

A recent article in the Japan Times says that there are now about six million more pets in Japan than there are kids under 16 years of age. This is very different than my experience in Japan during the late 1980s. I’m guessing there were probably 10 million more children in Japan than pets back then. That’s quite a change is just over 20 years.

Jizo (the six statues) are associated with children so I’m trying to show you a bit of irony in the above photo. I took this picture at Gokokuji.

Taking your pet for a walk in Tokyo

While out for a walk along the Kanda River (神田川) we came upon some Tokyoites taking their pets for a walk.

tokyoites walking their pets along the kanda river 神田川

Someone had a dog on a leash. Another had his pet tortoise walking behind him, no leash required.

tokyo man out for a walk with his pet Tortoise

The tortoise was almost as fast as the dog and seemed to know exactly which way to go.

pet turtle Tortoise tokyo japan

The tortoise sported some fancy booties. I’m not sure if the booties were just for looks or if they protected the tortoise’s hind feet.

Tortoise shoes booties

Another time I was out in the rain, without a camera, and watched pet owners walking their dogs. The dogs had on raincoats. They looked rather miserable–not because it was raining but because they had to wear raincoats. I think they wanted to enjoy the rain hitting them, but that wouldn’t have been fashionable in this town.