a (possibly) (absurdly) awesome thing i did today… dog edition!
so after 3 days of trying to rent a dog (the first day i got there past the reservation time, the second day it was raining and they don’t rent on rainy/wet days) i finally did it.
i’d like to preface this report by saying i only found out about this uniquely asian service because of the second bear suit project… basically every american said that the odaiba rent-a-dog place was their favorite place in all of tokyo (well, thats not true, almost every american said odaiba… but alot said the rent-a-dog in odaiba, so i’m going to make a broad blanket statement…) [i personally dont think odaiba is that great... i found some clothes shopping deals while wasting 3 hours waiting for my rent-a-dog, but overall i didnt think odaiba was that great... granted, it is "scenic"... but whatever... you can't really get the best of both the urban and rural areas in a city like tokyo... you have to live in an awesome city like seattle! odaiba is nice for tokyo, and it is sort of pretty, and you can rent a dog, but its no discovery park... or even lincoln park in west seattle (i saw a bald eagle there once)] the odaiba waterfront is pretty if you look at it like enjoying staring across a bay to see tons of skyscrapers… and it certainly beats seattle in terms of the number of skyscrapers… but its no kehoe beach (which isnt in seattle.. its on the pt. reyes peninsula in california… best beach ever made (that ive seen))…
secondly, id like to talk about the rent-a-dog service in regards to what little i know about japanese culture… i noticed 2 or 3 trends in my limited experience with a rent-a-dog service… first: the internet reports of expats wishing they still had their dog with them (i.e. me and some other people… google it), second: japanese with super restrictive leases that don’t allow them the awesomeness that is owning an awesome dog (i.e. like me… although i’m not looking to get another dog in japan and it did prove to be prickly over the first 3 years in the states) and japanese couples that just wish they had a baby… or a dog…or a living thing… to coddle.
so, it took me three days to reserve a dog… the first day i got to “puppy the world” (that is the actual name of the place in odaiba.. .there is also the “cats livin'” store where you pay a nominal fee to go into a room with a bunch of cats and you can pet them and stuff… i did it, it wasn’t that cool.. these cats, let alone cats in general.. dont care about people) it was after 2, and the second day it was wet.
so some people would say that the rental dog service is pretty unethical… i kind of agree, except that stupid people like me are willing to pay money to walk some persons dog. so these dogs are getting tons of people that want to pay money to walk a dog and shower it with love for a limited amount of time. granted they live in a glorified shelter, but people are coming every non-rainy day and paying attention to it. i certainly dont think this is the same as owning a dog… because i feel like kaya and i have some kind of relationship, i got him off a shitty farm in valley ford when he was 6 weeks old. maybe he just pays attention to me because i gave him food and didn’t yell at him for pooing outside of our typically meager housing situations, but i have never met anyone else who would wait at the door/gate 5 minutes before i got home. and i dont know anyone who could recognize the sound of my car a mile away. and i dont know many people that like to go on really long drives and listen to reggae music and then walk on some beach or up a giant hill (well, i guess i do).
i really just did this because i miss my dog.
there were mostly couples in line with me to get the dogs… you have to show up between 12 and 2pm and reserve a dog, then show up again at 3 to claim the dog… after 2 days of disappointment, i was there at 12pm sharp. 11:57 maybe. when i saw the dog i picked (in picture form) i kind of got the impression that it was a german shepherd puppy… boy was i wrong… it was a black and white shiba inu… really small… about 15lbs tops… it might have been a puppy, it just might have been really small… but it was cute.
you also would think that a rent-a-dog service would employ trained dogs… nope! i kind of think this dog was a pup because it was impossibly hyper… it might also be that they only get walked when they get rented… questionably ethical… the funny thing was that they asked if i could handle an “active” dog… this dog was only 15 pounds! it pulled on the leash alot… but i mean, this is a tiny dog… the dog i grew up with weighed more than me most of my life… but of course neither of us really spoke each others respective native languages, so i guess it makes sense to ask.
so i show up at noon… choose the dog from the bulletin board of photos and find out i have to wait until 3pm to claim the dog… so i walked around the many malls of odaiba for 3 hours.. visiting the sony explorascience center (not that cool) and eating a crappy tuna sandwich at a “hawaiian” joint until it was time. i get back to “puppy the world” and wait in line with a bunch of people (10 maybe) and we show our claim tickets and get our dogs and our tote bags with poo baggies and water (to clean the poo off the asphalt, not water the dogs… you get a bowl and have to fill it with water that isnt in the poo cleaning bottle)… most people got french bulldogs… i think they are kind of silly looking… and i find out that i am not getting a german shepherd but a tiny shiba inu… oh well.. a dog is a dog i suppose. the dog is stoked to see me for a second, then is ready to tear off… she is totally straining the leash until i ran with it for 20 minutes… unfortunately, this is just some random dog, so its not like i can let it off the leash and hope it comes back… plus i dont even think it understood english…
it was a cute dog though… we went on a nice jog/walk through this old japanese military training spot and when i’d stop at a bench to observe the view, it would totally sit in my lap and let me pet it… adorable…
it was actually more interesting to watch the other peoples experiences… we werent walking together, but everyone is basically walking around the same waterfront park, so i’d pass all the other people at some point during the hour… the most interesting/surreal/adorable couple had this french bulldog that wasnt really into walking (as i said, these dogs are really untrained) and they just carried it around for an hour… when i passed them about 45 minutes into it they were just cuddling it on a bench and cooing to it and petting it… so weird, but kind of cute too… they just want to love on something for a bit… and are willing to pay money for that privelege… saps like me i suppose!
my dog payed little or no attention to me really unless we were running or sitting, and i guess i wouldnt expect it to, it has probably been walked by tons of people and in my experience animals only care about the people who feed it. it obviously didnt respond to my english “hey!”s… but it did like to be pet and walked. this was certainly no substitute for owning a dog… but it did somewhat relieve this weird desire i have to walk my dog again. all these dogs are too jaded.
this was a really weird experience.. i dont think ill rent a dog again. it was a gorgeous day though, and it was cool to walk a dog on the waterfront on a sunny day… almost like having my real dog with me
my real dog (flying in the air circa december 2005 on a randomly post-snowy seattle weekend):
even older… april 2005 46th st.
so here are the pictures of ayame the rent-a-dog:
it was certainly a cute dog… but its not my dog.