Dog Craziness in Japan

January 22nd, 2013By Category: Arts & Entertainment, Culture, Shopping

I am about to admit to something that you will most likely find unbelievable, shocking, disturbing, (insert relevant adjective here). This is very difficult for me to write, I can’t quite believe it is true myself.  But at one point in my life, actually if i’m honest, for all my life until about two years ago, I hated animals. ALL animals.

I know what you’re thinking, what an awful person I must be. However, did you notice that my admission was written in the past tense? That’s right, I am now a true animal lover. What changed I hear you ask? Most likely the introduction of a boxer dog named Jessy into my family home. Growing up in a city, the only animals I ever saw were wild horses and the odd rat. Jessy came into my family’s life and changed my opinion forever. Now, I’m one of those people who cries at animal cruelty and could almost imagine living my life surrounded by animals.

jessy

Our beloved dog Jessy

In Japan though, they take it to whole different level. Animals, specifically dogs, are idolised. And I mean truly idolised:

A dog getting a blow dry at the grooming parlour

Grooming parlor. Photograph: Ruth Evans

There are clothes stores for dogs to be found everywhere. They are very cute and often easily mistaken for baby stores.

japan dogs

Clothes for your pet. Photograph: Ruth Evans

Fashion for dogs. Photograph: Ruth Evans

Fashion for dogs. Photograph: Ruth Evans

Putting the outfit altogether. Photograph: Ruth Evans

Putting the outfit altogether. Photograph: Ruth Evans

Dog parlours go above and beyond; massages, combing and even nail painting are common.

Luxury dog bath. Photograph: Ruth Evans

Luxury dog bath. Photograph: Ruth Evans

False nails on a dog?! Photograph: Ruth Evans

False nails on a dog?! Photograph: Ruth Evans

Dogs are often treated like babies. For instance, a while back I went to ’coo’ into a Japanese ladies pram, only to be met by a dog. A dog in a pram? Oh dear.

Dog prams. Photograph: Ruth Evans

Dog prams. Photograph: Ruth Evans

Dogs in a pram - who would have thought it. Photograph: Ruth Evans

Dogs in a pram – who would have thought it. Photograph: Ruth Evans

Photograph: Ruth Evans

Photograph: Ruth Evans

Statistics (guardian.co.uk) show that there are now more pets than children in Japan households. They are often treated to holidays at hot-spring resorts, yoga classes and designer clothes. The estimated value of the industry is $10 billion. Incredible.

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Author of this article

Ciara Lynch

Ciara Lynch is a teacher, writer and enthusiast of all things Japanese. Readers can find more of her experiences about living abroad in a country so very different to her own. Travels, ramblings, photography and expat advice make up a lot of this blog: http://www.travellingtalesofciara.com

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