Whilst I would never claim that this pic is representative of all of Japan I did see dogs walking down the road on two legs more than once.
Hiroshima was a very chilled out place. In fact I would venture as far as to say that it is one of the few places in the world that I would slap an ‘I want to live here’ sticker. It just felt quite nice, despite the mutilated nuclear down-town that we all know so well.
We were sitting in the Peace Memorial Park just up from the horrific (read amazing, heart-rending, traumatic) Peace Memorial Museum and had already been accosted, at length, by some Christians who were so kind as to leave me in possession of a pamphlet spreading The Word. In Japanese. Which I later left in a hostel toilet for whoever to express their religious views over. I noticed a man with his dog coming in our general direction. But this was no ordinary afternoon stroll because the dog was pretty much on two legs all the time.
I wish I’d plucked up the courage to take a video of his approach to us because the little dog must have walked about 200 metres almost entirely upright. It only dropped onto all fours perhaps half a dozen times, and those occasions were only momentary. The best thing of all was that the dog wasn’t using the tension in the leash to provide what would be in effect a tether that would stop it falling over completely – most of the time there was slack so this thing was actually walking properly on two legs.
The problem was that the owner was staring right at us with a ‘Yeah what?’ vibe about him, proud as a fly on, well, you get it, but also clad entirely in denim and little bit too scary-starey for my liking.
As soon as he passed us I leaped into action and managed to get a couple of shots and then a video of his puffy little hound, but they only do scant justice to the scene.
The thing was that this was only the first time I spotted similar Japanese men being taken for walkies by their dogs. No other animal was quite as accomplished as this one but it was a[nother] marked, adorable, and odd thing about the country. When I’m abroad I repeatedly notice native people’s interactions with animals because they seem to unlock little doors of madness that would normally stay shut. But this is definitely the nicest loony-door I’ve observed creaking open in the breeze.