Pets & Animals in Japan (Part 1)
We are back from Japan, it has been about 3 weeks since our return! We missed Amber so much and went to get her from her caretaker the next morning! Amber was very happy to see us, we hid behind the gate and watched her but Amber noticed and turned to us right away, excited as she should be, it was understandable.
Pets & Animals in Japan - A Personal Perspective
Amber-like plushie in Japan
Even though we were on vacation, we had not forgotten Amber or any of the dogs out there, we purposely planned to visit some of the pet stores in Japan and tried to study their culture regarding dogs and other animals alike, fun as it should have been, there are often ups and downs for everything in life, which is what a blog is for, voicing out our opinions and views. Because this article will be pretty long, we have broken it down into 2 parts, do bear in mind that this article gets darker as you read further, do not hesitate to stop at part 1 if you are unable to accept harsh views, also do feel free to leave your comments and suggestions through the comment box or just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org !
People and pets in Japan
regulations to follow for bringing dogs on train
During our trip throughout Japan, we could see that Japanese loves dogs just like us, the thing is they (the people and government) are more opened to rules and regulations regarding pets in places like trains or shopping malls. Japanese are very wary about rules, most if not all owners that we saw had consideration in mind, they would not attempt to exploit loopholes on rules set by the government (at least for pet related rules), for example we see all pet owners picking up after their dogs, you may say that it is because we do not stay there long enough to find one that do not but there they are in front of us, we see these people picking up, we also could not find any leftovers even in streets where dogs are common unlike here in Singapore where dog poops are seen randomly wherever we go. We also didn't see anyone bringing their dogs/cats into places that do not allow pets and we believed part of the reason people listen so well is because the culture practices give and take, when you loosen things up, you will notice that people around you actually listens and respect you even more, of course not forgetting that Singapore is a multi-racial country, we also need to put into consideration that the country is also made up of different religions. However I do believe that if we were more considerate and think about others, even by letting us bring dogs into the train or even into malls in Singapore, dogs and humans no matter what religion will still be able to get along very well!
There were lots of dogs everywhere we go, most of the dogs we see wear clothings/accessories, even big dogs like golden retrievers were spotted wearing clothes, it was fun to see them in different costumes! During our 18 days in Japan, we also found that having a dog is a luxury, dogs/cats could range from 200,000yen (S$3000) to 600,000yen (S$9000), the clothings/accessories sold there were also not cheap, the cheapest t-shirt we saw for small dogs cost about 2000yen (S$30) and designer ones about 5000yen (S$80), not to mention branded apparels which can easily exceed S$200. Even so, the quality of items sold was really good, just touching them gives us a feel of how comfortable these items are, even when most of them are made in China.
in Japan, you can bring pets into certain malls
dog changing room, envy them!
We went into tons of pet stores during our stay, the animals there especially dogs are always well groomed, the glasses for displaying pets are also very clean and clear so that customers can view and interact with the animals without trouble. Almost all of the pet stores we visited had the same layout, where animals are kept in capsule hotel like glasses, this kind of stacking method is very common even in Singapore, reason is to save space and let customers have easier time to choose from many different dogs, in return the dogs will have to pay by having very small living space, even so I found that none of the pet stores we visited had any odor of any form, it is always cleaned regularly, poops are always picked up when spotted, some stores were even seen teaching the puppies to be toilet trained even before it was being sold. At some of the pet stores there is a service whereby if you want advice on whether a dog is suitable for you or what it takes to take care of a dog, you can proceed and inquire with the staffs stationed there, these staffs would then sit down and talk to you about your concerns and give you advice, this is the kind of good customer service we are talking about, and hope to achieve in the near future if we happen to expand our services.
dogs kept in relatively large room
already teaching puppies how to use the pee tray, and they really do it on the tray!
We then visited the pet for sale area at Tokyu Hands, where most were small mammals and fishes, I saw a bottle of marimo, you know the ongoing trend of a green round algae that is enclosed in a small bottle of water? The thing is when I looked closely, which is always my habit to scan at empty tank/cages to see if there are any living thing that are hard to spot, truth enough we saw a very tiny red shrimp in the same bottle as the marimo, and after awhile I spotted 3 more, it was very confusing at first because the bottle was air tight with a cork, we both wondered how the shrimp survive, and what does it eat, is it the marimo? I then did some research back in the hotel, and found out that these shrimps are actually starving on small particles and leftover algae growing very slowly inside the bottle, these shrimps can live up to a few years but fact is they are actually starving for years till they die out, and no they would never breed as the environment is bad enough even for surviving, the bottle labeling them as a pixie shrimp is supposed to be a marketing gimmick as seen in our research, but in fact these are actually Supershrimps caught from Hawaii. While I do not know how true these information are, it did not at all seemed fake to me, after all what kind of animal could live in enclosed tank without food? We also saw exotic animals like "upside-down" jellyfish(do not know the exact breed) and crayfish all enclosed in very small containers, this is more logical as they do sell the food for these little creatures, however those containers are very, very small, and they(the packaging) looked like it was meant to be reared like that. We also saw pets that are not sold in Singapore, hedgehogs and some kind of jumping gerbil like mouse.
Tokyu Hands, Nekobukuro is right at the entrance with the cat illustration
here are the infamous pixie shrimps i am talking about
hamsters with different kind of bedding, good for burrowing
puffers are cute
During our multiple visits to different pet stores in Japan, we can conclude that the worst pet store we had visited was at Osaka, a corner in kuromon ichiba near dotonbori, this store sells small animals like birds, terrapins, rabbits etc. They keep these animals packed together in square cages made of metal net, we even saw an endangered land tortoise being sold, and the shop smells pretty bad, something like the oldies pet store you see in Singapore during the 80s, and to be frank, 50% of the pet stores we see in Singapore are still like this.
This concludes the end of part 1, in part 2 we will mention about animals captivity in Japan, we will also end the next article with our final conclusion of Japanese towards animals/pets from our view, do stay tune and send us your feedback/questions if you have any!