Year of the dog

A statue and posters of a dog

Here is the first photo shot in anger, so to speak, of 2018. In front of a house somewhere in western Tokyo, someone has erected a private Hachiko, perhaps to memorialize a well-loved pet. The next door neighbor has put up posters advertising a detective agency. These agencies don’t actually solve crimes but are hired to sniff out the pasts of potential mates or dig up proof of two-timing.

animal celebs

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Above is Kyoto’s famous “Ninja Dog,” which I have not seen in person. The photos, however, remind me of Tokyo’s own animal celebs — these cats below — that can be seen in Shinjuku and Ginza, usually on weekends.

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I don’t know anything about them except for what I’ve seen: Some man comes along and scoops these rather over-relaxed cats out of a bag and puts them on some signpost or stand. A crowd quickly gathers, and after a few minutes the cats get put back in the bag and are gone. Does anyone know what the story is?