|Pets||Wine and Dine|
|It's a Dog's Life||All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go|
|Let Sleeping Dogs Lie|
It's Raining Cats and Dogs
Not to be sexist or anything but you've all heard the saying, "A dog is a man's best friend." That applies everywhere, and yes, even in Japan. Well, not just dogs, but cats and pets in general. I mean, the average apartment in Japan and an average doghouse isn't much different in size right? Well, okay, maybe a little over exaggeration there.
When you first come to Japan, a pet might not be such a bad idea. I'm sure you've all heard of the scientific research that proved that stroking a pet reduces stress. Now you're thinking, Japan=stress, now follow that train of thought, stress relief=alcohol, whoops, went a bit off course there, try again, stress relief=stroking a pet! There you go! Obviously you need a pet to stroke, of course you could stroke your sofa or bed or something but somehow I don't think that was included in the scientific research.
Time to venture out into the city and find yourself an ideal pet. This might be a bit stressful, but like I said, once you get a pet and start stroking, your problems will seem miles away (hopefully). Where to go? Try these places. If you live in an apartment, be sure to check whether pets are allowed in your building. Oh, by the way, be prepared to shell out some cash to get the pet you want. More stress you say? Like anything else, stress relief doesn't come cheap in Japan!
Wine and Dine
Welcome back partner! Grab yourself a cup of coffee and have a seat. Now that you found yourself a nice soothing pet, there are some things that you have to do that I regret to say, causes more stress. I guess since you're going to be stuck here for a while, might as well get used to the stress, but think about it, now that you have a pet, at the end of the day you can wave your stress good-bye. I can guess that one word that's going through your mind right now, "WHAT!?" Okay, if you bought yourself a dog read on, if not just drink that coffee and play with your new pet and erase that thought from your mind, gone? Good. New dog owners, brace yourself, ready? You now have to go down to the ward office and register your dog if it is over 3 months old, but don't worry in most cases you only have to register your canine friend once. However, rabies shots are required once or twice a year. As with everything else, you have to pay for this as well. For more information, call the Tokyo Office of Animal Administration at 03-3302-3507. Once you've got that out of the way, you can now happily go home and relax with your canine buddy. Hey, since you're already outside, why not go for a little stroll with your new pal? Bet all that walking and bureaucratic red tape's got you a bit hungry. What about "Rex" you say? Well, these restaurants allow you to take Rex with you to eat. Most of the time, if they place has open terrace, it's usually okay for Rex to be with you while you chow down.
It's a Dog's Life
It's a Dog's Life
Well, not always, besides, dogs aren't the only pets around. Cats, fish, birds, snakes, rabbits, you name it, you can find it· some people even have pet alligators lounging about in their houses (so that's where all those alligators in the sewer system came from!). Jokes aside, remember this though, once you get a pet, consider it family. There seems to be an increase in people just throwing their pets away when they get too large or the owners can't look after them any longer. You bought the pet, it's a living, breathing animal, take care of it until the end or don't buy one in the first place! Okay, now that we got that little public service announcement aside, like any living thing, pets get sick and they get hurt. Just as you or I would go to the local doctor to get some really expensive prescription to cure a minor ailment, taking your pet to the vet is the wisest option.
Cat Lovers Unite! (Almost)
Okay, we seem to be talking only about dogs, well I guess that's because dogs require a bit more attention than cats, and forget about alligators! Cats don't need any instruction either, how many cats do you know that "sit" or "stay"? So, either that's a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. Not many cats bring you the paper in the morning either. So if you want your dog professionally trained to obey your every command, here are a few of the many schools that are around town.
Like I said, stress relief doesn't come cheap in Japan. However there is one place you can get basic dog training for free. Free? Really? Of course there's a catch, you have to be a resident of Tokyo. The Tokyo Office of Animal Administration will provide basic dog training for free, call in advance for registration. For those living in the Eastern part of Tokyo, 03-3302-3507, those living in the Western part of Tokyo. 03-3802-4424. Who said it was a dog's life?
All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go
All Dressed Up With Nowhere to Go
Okay, your pet pooch has been registered and trained, your feline fed and pampered, your alligator· well, anyway, so what next? Try and keep in mind that you are not living in a doghouse, no matter how small a Japanese apartment may be. For those living in a house (lucky you!), how about a real doghouse for your pooch? A little pillow for your cat? A bigger cage for your feathered friend? What you need now my friend is a store that sells pet accessories. Whoa! Hold on a minute! Before you stampede out that front door, let me ask you a question. What are you looking at now? Yes, that's right the computer, which is what? Connected to the Internet! Aha? Did I manage to light a light bulb somewhere in your mind? You're already on the Internet so why not do your shopping online? Good idea huh?
So, open a new browser window (wouldn't want to lose this page would we?) and check out some of these sites.
Even Lovers Need a Holiday·
Be it Summer, Winter, or any time of the year, some of us are bound to do a little vacationing, overseas or nearby. I'm sure your pooch wouldn't mind some fun in the sun or a little snowball fight but hey, like they say, you can't take it with you. So unfortunately your pet is stuck in dreary, congested, polluted, Tokyo (am I giving you a guilt-trip yet?). So, you have two options. One, you can leave your pet at home and hope for the best. Nah, I'm just kidding. Yes, you can still leave your pet at home, but have a friend or relative come over and look after it while you're gone or you can have them take your pet home with them. This is probably the cheapest option. If you're prepared to shell out a little extra money, you can pamper your pet to a "pet hotel" while you're away in a real hotel in a real resort.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
Well there you have it, a beginner's guide to owning a pet in Japan. If and when your pet dies, be sure to notify your ward office, but let's not get too morbid here, besides, you just bought your pet!
Anyway, enjoy raising your new family member, don't forget to curb your dog, and try not to stress yourself out too much while you're in Tokyo!
|Copyright by IMA Co., 1999|