Monday, May 30, 2011

Japanese Dogs

This sign really needs no translation. It says exactly as you might guess: Savage Dog, Beware! (Mouken Chui).

Playfully ironic, I'm guessing, as I was able to get close enough to snap this picture without any growls or other signs of doggy life.

In America, one takes Beware of Dog signs seriously. I've had enough run-ins with mean, nasty, aggressive dogs to make a wide berth whenever I see one straining on a leash.

Dogs here are different. There's a shiba-inu on the corner whom I pass practically every day. He stands with his front paws on the top of the cement wall and watches me quietly as I pass.

The most you hear out of dogs here is when the sirens for ambulances or police go off. Then they start howling in unison, responding to the call. This midnight howler lives across the way:
I'm guessing the Dog Whisperer would go out of business in these parts.


  1. It seems the Japanese signs are much more pictorial than the American variety. Is there a segment of the population that can't read, or some such thing, that requires this style of message? Is it just because it can be read and understood faster? Have you found pictured signs in your travels? I would think that pictorial signs would be a big success in the states, everything else here is shortened or abbreviated.

  2. I think the only people who can't read are those under four years of age. Truly, the literacy rate here is extremely high. But pictorial instructions can be found everywhere — especially on products. I think because they have to practice drawing kanji for many years, the average Japanese person is at least adequate if not good at drawing. So you see the skill in use all around.