Forget the sushi, mochi, temples, shrines, and sake (well, maybe not the sake)—the Japanese experience at the top of my list for this trip was to stand next to Hachiko at Shibuya Station in Tokyo.
The “loyal dog Hachiko” is a beloved Japanese icon. Born in 1923, the purebred Akita would accompany his owner, Hidasaboru Ueno, to the train station every morning and wait for him to return in the afternoon. Ueno boarded the train one day in 1925 and never returned as he died of a heart attack. Hachiko, however, continued to wait at the station every day for ten years. A statue was erected at the station in 1934, and has become a landmark and popular meeting place.
This morning’s Japanese Times headline: “Shibuya’s ‘loyal dog Hachiko’ Vanishes Overnight: Metal Thieves Suspected.” Teenagers gathered around the site of the empty pedestal and were close to tears. “Can somebody do something?” one sobbing girl pleaded. The theft has caused international outrage, and France has offered a temporary fix of a poodle. Japanese officials are already constructing an emergency plaster replacement.
Jack Bauer—this is a mission for you! Please take some time from finding the nuclear drone missiles that the terrorists have brought to the US, and forget about Audrey’s death and your traitor father. We need you in Japan to hunt down these heartless thieves!!!!! (yes, I am keeping up with 24 on my trip).
PS: This was a lame April Fool's Joke by the Japan Times. Hachiko LIVES!