The Japanese love their dogs. Especially popular are small dogs, breeds which Jeff and I have never been fond of (sorry Nadine :-)). Shortly after coming to Japan, we met the neighbourhood watchdog, a vicious little Chihuahua. We are still not sure who the owner of this pesky dog is, as he seems to roam freely both night and day. But one thing is clear: he doesn't like other dogs, and he doesn't like gaijin. That's right. He doesn't like gaijin. That would be foreigners. That would be us. He fiercely defends his neighbourhood, barking at all manner of dog who dares to be walked along our streets. I have seen him take on two or more dogs at a time, even a Golden Retriever! And he also fiercely defends his neighbourhood from US. One day, soon after moving into the apartment, I opened the front door and was greeted by vicious (if laughable) barking. Now I LIKE dogs, and I was not to be deterred by this hostile behavior. After much coaxing, I finally got him to come over to me, at which point I learned of his fondness for behind-the-ear scratches... and of his skooching (hence rectal glandular) issues.
The Chihuahua still doesn't like us. He doesn't generally come over to us when called, although I was pretty excited when I told him once to sit in Japanese (suwatte) and he did! I would say he simply tolerates us. So what do you think folks? Do we have a racist dog among us? Does this dog know somehow that we are not Japanese? Is he discriminating against us in his behavior? Cause you know, I've seen him run happily up to Japanese folks dozens of times, tongue a-hanging, bum a-waggling...Tell me, Mr. Chihuahua, what gives??