‘It’s a dog’s life’ is given new meaning in Tokyo
Did I think before coming to Tokyo that one year on I would be talking my husband (who has never shown an interest in having a dog before) out of getting a little fluff ball to call our own. No. I did not.
I had seen photos of little dogs dressed up before we arrived in Tokyo. But I’d kind of assumed that someone had just hunted out that kooky insta person who has a fetish for dressing up their dog and sent the pictures viral.
How. Wrong. Could. I. Be.
Little dogs in cute outfits are literally (certainly where we are living) everywhere.
This morning on my walk through the quiet backstreets to a friend’s house, I passed a rather cool looking young man carrying a stylish tote bag over his shoulder out of which was peeking a tiny pooch in a pink diamond studded tutu. After almost a year here, I didn’t bat an eyelid. Said friend lives on a fairly quiet street and her local shop is a pooch parlour selling a multitude of beautiful outfits for your dog, with a doggie salon, spa and hotel attached. Totally normal. I have spent quite a bit of time looking through the windows of busy doggie salons that look like blow dry bars in New York, watching a team of 5 or 6 women blow dry, clip and curl pooches to perfection while they stand very patiently (this is Japan, even the dogs are patient and calm).
So, if this is happening in your local residential neighbourhood, what of the big stores in the shopping malls I hear you wonder (maybe)? Well, frankly, the first time I saw one, I did a massive double take. My first impression was that it was a large baby store. Outside were displayed a long line of prams in different styles next to a long line of cots (yes. cots). Inside, you can find anything you could possibly dream up to make your pooch happy or a fashion icon (I’m not sure which is the prevailing desire). Sweatpants, dresses, kimonos, hats, backpacks, shoes, sunglasses, leads with umbrellas attached to stop your pooch getting wet in the rain. And this is not just one random shop.
You will probably have heard of, or at least seen, the trend for all things Kawaii (cute) in Japan and this passion clearly extends to their pets.
For those who can’t have their own, animal petting cafes have sprung up all over the city where you can go and sip on a latte whilst stroking a cat, rabbit, hedgehog or owl.
Having visited one, I’m not sure how I feel about them to be honest. They seem very well looked after, but I couldn’t help wondering…shouldn’t the hedgehogs be asleep?
So, if the animal cafes aren’t your thing, you can always head to a photo booth store and choose to turn yourself into a kawaii half human/half bunny or kitten. Turns out, this is somewhat addictive as it shaves about 15 years off you. Trust me. EVERYONE, looks good half bunny. Weird but true.
So, back to my other half. Action needs to be taken. He keeps pointing out the particular breed he thinks is the most kawaii and has now twice mentioned the need for a tote bag. I had to shake him a little when he started picking up the kawaii dog magazines in the book shop.
Perhaps I am being too narrow minded. But frankly, having checked the price tag in the local pet shop (around £8-10,000), I’m sticking to my guns.