Japan Diaries Day 23 – Dog Days of December


My one-month trip to Tokyo, Japan was on it’s 23rd day! The day before, I had a great time visiting my friend and her son in Tachigawa, but now I was back on dog-sitting duty.



My fiance’s mother likes to travel to concerts with her friends outside of Tokyo. She seems like a mild-mannered housewife, but in reality she may in fact have been a roadie in her younger days…

In December, her favorite band to see live was Jaywalk (ザ・ジェイ・ウォーク), and she went to Nagoya to see their concert on the 21st, and then she went off again with her friends to a concert on the 27th. So on Saturday, my fiance went to the gym and his father went to practice Aikido (合気道), so I went to his parents’ empty house to play with the dogs again.


The girls! – photo by kei

While at the house, I watched some Japanese TV shows and took Megu the English Springer Spaniel (the black and white one) for a few walks. Mona the Dachshund is a rescue, and she is very shy. She doesn’t go on walks with anyone but my fiance’s mother. She will only come to my fiance’s mother, unless you have food. She will beg you for your food, but if you don’t have any, she loses interest quickly and runs back to sleep in her blankets on the couch.


I’m pretty sure that senbei is for me…
photo by kei

When it was time for a walk, I was pulled around the neighborhood by Megu, who also enjoys eating plants, and so I had to make sure she didn’t eat the neighbor’s flowers. The weather was still really nice, so I enjoyed being outside.

Space is at a premium in Tokyo, but in the neighborhoods in the outskirts of Tokyo there are plenty of parks to exercise your pets and for children to play at. When I was walking Megu we stuck with the smaller park right down the street (photo below), but when I was on my own I took my fiance’s bike a little farther to the larger park where I could ride on the trails. There were exercise stations set up with instructions for different exercises you could do, tracks for biking or running, and playground equipment for the children. Dogs are also welcome, as long as you keep them leashed and are responsible for their messes. Although Ikebukuro is just down the train line, being in the outskirts seemed far away from the bustling metropolis that is Tokyo.

Japanese neighborhood park

Japanese neighborhood park – photo by kei

On my dog walking I kept away from the busy streets down near the supermarket and stuck with the quieter neighborhood streets around the park, but even so you still need to be careful of cars. Most street intersections have mirrors angled so that pedestrians and cars alike can see around the blind corners, but some people still don’t pay attention so you must be careful when crossing a blind intersection.

Tokyo Neighborhood

Walking around the narrow neighborhood streets
photo by kei

When my fiance’s mother was home she would cook amazing food for us, but when she was away at the concert my fiance’s father took us out to eat delicious Chinese food! It’s no wonder I gained about 5 kg on this trip, because it seems all I did was eat!

It was a quiet “dog day”, but I enjoy the everyday life aspects of Japan as much as I enjoy the tourist attractions. When I lived in Japan during study abroad I got used to everyday life here, and I began to really enjoy it. When I think of why I miss living in Japan, it must be that everyday life really suited me, and it was hard to go back to the daily life even of my own home country. I also really love dogs, so playing with these girls was less of a responsibility and more of a treat for me!

Have you lived in a foreign country long enough to enjoy everyday life? Were there aspects you didn’t like about that daily life? Let me know in the comments!

Next Up: New Year’s Eel

Japan Diaries 2014

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