It was a sunny Sunday afternoon and a light breeze danced across my face, drying sweat from a soccer game I had just stopped playing, as I looked across the green grass of the German landscape and watched my father slam a German Shepard, which was locked onto his forearm it’s jaws securely fastened, into a tree and then onto the ground. Shortly there after he stomped on it’s neck in order to motivate it to release it’s death grip. Nearby, a 10 year old girl looked on in abject horror, she had been walking the dog when it tore away from her and attacked the dog my father had been walking.
Tokyo is a crowded city. It’s a busy place. When I’m walking down the street I’m scanning. I’m scanning up and down and back and forth and I’m trying to see a problem or an obstacle off in the distance before it becomes an imminent issue I have to deal with. It’s usually bicycles or some Ugandan trying to get me to come to his “Dope great club man. I’m from New York.” But another one of the obstacles/problems I am forced to deal with on the regular are dogs.
People in Tokyo love dogs. I realize this is not a phenomenon unique to Tokyo, however, the scale probably is. More and more people in Japan, and particularly big cities, have opted out of having children, because the narrative here for family is one of a slave like hellish existence with one doomed to lose the cutest-kids-outfit award and never ending trips to the personification of all my nightmares, Disneyland. Hence, all the dogs. Dogs are replacements for children. Since all the women’s ovaries are disintegrating while they spend their fertile years taking tours to Hawaii over and over ad nauseam, and all the men have had their testosterone ripped away via insane hot baths, estrogen high diets and the never ending hum of electronic devices, the kids are just not popping out but the maternal instincts to care and nurture are still there.
The guys have alcohol and their rape video games, the girls have alcohol and overly priced pets.
Hence, all the dogs.
Sure, I like D-O-G-S.
Who doesn’t like a good, well trained dog? I grew up with dogs, mostly Boxers, and I loved them all. That having been said, dogs are animals. Dogs have big spiky teeth. Dogs are fast and they can rip your face off. I saw a bountiful, er, beautiful girl, she was about 20, have her lower lip torn off by a Schnauzer; a goddamned Miniature Schnauzer. She’d hunched down to play with it, such a “cute lil’ doggy poo” and as she flashed those perfectly white, straight teeth in an award winning smile BAM: Fritzy blitzkrieged and ripped her lower lip 80% off her face.
So, my father, six foot two inches tall, maybe forty years old, Airborne Ranger Green Beret weighing in a fit 250 pounds and he nearly lost his arm breaking up a fight between a German Shepard and a Golden Retriever. After crushing the dog’s wind pipe and getting his arm back he strolled up over the grass, I just stared at him as he walked around to the front of our apartment building, upstairs he wrapped a towel around his arm and then my mother drove him to the hospital. Fun. Dogs.
Now, when I am moving down a street and I see an animal in my path I’m very aware of that animal because it’s an ANIMAL and it’s potentially DANGEROUS. Re-read the paragraph above:
…six foot two inches tall, maybe forty years old, Airborne Ranger Green Beret weighing in a fit 250 pounds
You, Japanese lady I don’t know and are five foot zero and weigh about 110 pounds, are being dragged down the street by a Saint Bernard which is BIGGER THAN YOU. If and when that beast decides to attack someone, you’re utterly powerless to stop it or even vaguely hinder it’s maiming efforts. If said animal decides it wants to eat you alive you have no recourse but to strip down naked to make the digestive process less uncomfortable for man’s best friend.
I see your beast stalking down the boulevard with you in tow and I prepare. I learned the hard way. And here I give my confession.
In 2007, Mike (R.I.P.) and I left Ihara gym in Daikanyama on a warmish May afternoon and began our jog into Naka Meguro and down the Meguro river. Most of the Ihara guys, at one time or another, have run this very course pre-training. The route is simple, you run most of it on a nice path which runs along the river and at the right times of year the trees are in bloom and it’s all perfectly lovely.
As Mike and I cruised down the jogging path up ahead of us, coming in our direction was a petite woman, probably in her 40’s, being lead by a fat, pompous looking wiener dog. I wouldn’t even have noticed if the dog hadn’t been wearing, oh Jesus, a plaid cardigan and looked like it had just ate a pound of foie gras for lunch. As we approached the dog began growling and bouncing up and down on it’s little legs, which were indistinguishable from it’s brie-stuff wiener body and my alarm bells began to go off. I would not be humiliated by this spoiled brat of a dog. I refused to allow it.
The battle of wills had already begun.
Mike jogged by as the wiener dog barked. I was a few meters behind Mike and for whatever evil reason, the little bourgeoisie terrorist lunged at me. I skipped to the right pulling both legs away just as it managed to nip my left ankle; First Blood. What happened next was obviously unplanned and I can only chalk it up to superior genetics and a superb life philosophy: From where I had skipped I then pivoted on my right foot stepping back with my left, crouching down at the waist and firmly grabbing the wiener dog’s collar with my right arm; my throwing arm. I then continued to pivot to my left, the dog now coming to my waist level and it’s leash being yanked out of the useless grip of it’s “owner”. I completed the 310 degree spin, finally releasing wiener dog at maximum velocity as if I was performing a one-armed hammer throw. Wiener dog sailed over the bushes and the railing and disappeared down out of visual range.
All I heard was a yelp and a splash and that little tyrant was gone.
In less than a second I looked at Mike who had spun around to see it all, his face a mask of bewildered horror, then I looked at the woman to my left, then up and down the path: Empty. Without a moments more hesitation I continued running down the path. About 3 or 4 seconds later we heard a bizarre wailing sound which I can only assume was the woman, watching her dog float down stream.
In conclusion I would like to say this to the people and animal owners of Tokyo: If you see me coming, get a hold of your pet. Because if it attacks me or anyone I’m with I’ll penalty kick it directly in the chops and then pick it up and chuck into oncoming traffic.
Fritzy, be warned; I’m coming to get you.