Thursday, October 28, 2010

In Japan, a Dog's Life is Heaven - and the Wine Flows Freely!

Japanese people loves pets, especially dogs. While it is somewhat rare to see a person walking a large dog, like a St. Bernard, it is extremely common to see a housewife walking their minuscule tiny breeds that are everywhere in Japan.

Tokyo, especially, must be the tiny dog capital of the world. In my neighborhood alone I'd say that about 30% ~ 40% of the families have a small dog. Trust folks, when I say, "Small dog" I do mean a very small dog. Many of these dog breeds are smaller than cats.

Tiny Chihuahuas that look like mice (with brains no larger than a peanut) are quite common. People treat these dogs better than their own children. I've never seen such pampered pooches in my entire life! The Japanese go crazy over these dogs and their spending shows it.

The Japan Times Reports:
The average amount spent annually on pet-related expenses by households with at least two members rose 4.6 percent in 2009 from the previous year to ¥18,323, the highest figure since comparable data become available in 1990, according to a recent government survey. While family spending as a whole is on the decrease, there are no signs of recession in the pet industry, as high-priced pet food and stylish clothing are selling well, pet cosmetics, insurance and various other services are now available and medical costs for pets are rising as they live longer, according to the survey.

The article goes on to break down the money spent:

Since 2005, expenses have been growing for five consecutive years.

By generation, people in their 50s spent the most on their pets, at ¥28,951 (about $347 USD annually at 81 yen to the US dollar) on average in the reporting year, which was about 4.7 times the average of people under 30, showing that the middle-aged and above were the main group supporting the market, having finished raising children.

On the other hand, data on single-person households showed that women aged 35 to 59 spent the most on their pets, at ¥20,752 (about $249 USD annually at 81 yen to the US dollar)

The other thing that is common is that these owners (the dog's "moms") treat the dogs like babies. Many people put their dogs in sweaters and sports clothing when taking them out for a walk. Many ladies do not walk their dogs but put them in baby carriages and push the dogs around like they would a 2-year-old.

These dogs have a newer - and cooler - wardrobe than I do



You might think I am joking, but if you've ever been in Tokyo, you know I do not exaggerate about this.

Some of the ladies in my neighborhood will hug their dogs in their arms as they stand and chat for hours on end on the street corners... Sometimes there will be four or five of them all at once yapping away... The wives, I mean, not the dogs.

I think these dogs don't know that they are dogs. They think they are human.

I usually don't really care about dogs too much but just yesterday, I heard something related to dogs that just made me laugh and made me wonder, "Why didn't I think of that first?"

Recently, I have been working with a very popular online wine service in Japan called iwine.jp. iwine.jp is Japan's online wine superstore. You can order wine online and have it delivered anywhere in Japan. It is very simple to use.

Well, what does that have to do with dogs? Bear with me for a second. This gets funny.


Recently, iwine.jp made a deal with the #1 most popular and widely read women's magazine in Japan, "Josei Jishin." Josei Jishin is a gossip magazine for housewives. It is the oldest women's magazine in Japan and is read by over 1.5 million Japanese ladies a week! It is one of those magazines that you see at every beauty salon, nail salon, doctor's office waiting room, well, you get the picture.

There is not a girl in Japan over 18 who doesn't know Josei Jishin. Of course, there isn't a woman dog owner in this country who doesn't know that magazine too!

Josei Jishin

Anyway, Josei Jishin and iwine.jp have started a wine club together and it includes a fortune telling service. Besides dogs, the women in this country LOVE fortune telling. At the fortune telling part, women will be able to enter their birth date, etc., and get their fortune told by a very famous fortune teller and be recommended different wines to drink if they want, say, romance, beauty, luck, success.


This sounds like a lot of fun and I hear it is the first time in Japan that this sort of thing will be launched.

What does this have to do with dogs? Well, besides wines for luck, fortune and love, women will also be able to find...are you ready for it?... Wines to drink with their dogs! I kid you not.

Laugh now, my friends, but I think Josei Jishin and iwine.jp have a wild but winning combination here...

And, when you realize that the pet industry in Japan is a $14.4 billion dollar industry  you realize that people like iwine.jp and Josei Jishin know what women like.

I'll report more on this as this "pet" project gets going....

But, I must admit, I just can't imagine giving my pooch a $150 dollar a bottle Dom Perignon, but, I wouldn't put it past the lady next door.

See iwine.jp website here.

See Josei Jishin website here.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Funny, I thought dogs love beer...