Are you thinking what I was thinking?
This gave me quite a start! This pole is outside a local convenience store on the way to my school. Now convenience is one thing but outside and in public!!!!!! Having just read a book called “Tokyo Vice” which looked into organised crime and seedier side of the Japanese sex industry I found myself thing ” Surley not???????”
On closer inspection, please don’t take that the wrong way!,I realised that this wank pole was actually the innocent victim of the Japanese habit of making up cutesy words, poor choice of font and inevitably my dirty mind!
It is not a wank pole, thank goodness! It is a Wanko pole! Still none the clearer?
“Wan wan” is the onomatopoeic equivalent of woof woof. Cats say “nya nya” Pigs say “bu bu” and Roosters well they go “kokekokoooo” But I digress. Back to the dubious pole. In baby talk a wanwan is a doggy. Ko means child so a wanko pole is a puppy or a doggy pole for tying your pooch too while you pop into the convenience store.
Aaahaaa get it now. Do you still feel a little embarrassed about the thoughts and images that were initially were running though your head? I do!. This however does bring us to the world of the Japanese wanwan or pooch.
I am often surprised at the number of people keep own dogs in Tokyo. With high rise living and limited space keeping a pet could be quite difficult. However with young women marrying later and married couples choosing not to have children as early as before the pooch seems to have become the surrogate boyfriend, companion, baby and grandchild for many.
As one would expect many of the dogs are little breeds but it is not unusual to see Labradors, retrievers and other larger breeds being walked. It seems that the dog of choice each year is often linked to Crufts grand champion of the year. This is fine when it is a dachshund or a Chihuahua but the year it was a Siberian Husky was not a good year for sensible pet choices in Tokyo!
With this important family member comes all the paraphernalia and accessories that every mummy and daddy can not deny their young one. There are massive shops devoted to dogs and cats and suitable wear for them.
Doggy rain coats and booties are vogue. Cute outfits are displayed in shops like a designer boutiques for humans.
Doggy Beauty salons are everywhere .Doggy pedicures and hair dos cost about $60 to $100 and are regular events in the diary. Some dogs can even be seen wearing make up and false eyelashes.
Taking the dog for a walk has a new meaning. Pooches are wheeled about in prams and pushchairs by their proud owners. These are equivalent in price to those purchased for children. Paris Hilton has done her bit for designer doggy hand bags and they are popular accessories.
The cost of these pets at a pet store is huge. $1000’s of dollars for a purebred or designer mix puppy. Along with the necessary vet costs and the much in demand accessories owning a pet in Japan is not a cheap experience.
There are employment or business opportunities for those interested in Doggy gyms,Doggy day care and Doggy swimming pools. At the pool your dog is assisted by an instructor of the 2 legged type and wears a life jacket.
For those who can’t afford a pet and it’s associated costs or whose lifestyle is not suited to caring for a living animal there is. the option of a Robo dog who like the real thing come in various shapes and sizes
I am sure there is a pet counselor industry as well because these wee darlings are not sure if they are pooch, human,duck or dinner. They must be suffering from major identity crises Some are terrified they are being kept as a future snack as their owner dresses them while dribbling saliva at the thought of a nice juicy hot dog. Some have super hero fantasies and others think they are a camel. The school girl fantasy is alive and well ( or sick depending on your point of view). Cesar Millan is missing out on a very definite market if he is not here already! I can’t be sure if it is the dogs that needs help or the owners!
It’s a a dogs life alright!
Photos from Google Images and Wanko Pole from my IPod.
In response to Travel theme – Dogs
Yoroshiku Onegai shimasu