In the doghouse

Features - May 3rd, 1974

by Dr. Herb Friedman

I promised in a previous article to describe Japan’s secret weapon. This defensive—and very offensive—apparatus is compact enough to fit into the smallest Japanese home for storage, inexpensive enough to be supplied to the whole populace and uncom­plicated enough so that school-children and elderly people alike can readily achieve mastery of it.

Women are especially pro­ficient in its use and old women, appearing grandmotherly and virtually help­less without this weapon, instantly turn into danger­ously savage warriors when it is in their possession. Manufactured in Japan proper, this instrument of pain and destruction is available in automatic, semi-automa­tic and manually operated models.

Known as an “umbrella,” its main destructive blow is delivered from its barrel end which has been sharpened to a very fine point. This end is used by beginners and can be used either for strik­ing or spearing.

Experts in the art, known as “white heads” rather than “black belts,” are rarely under the age of 70 and utilize both ends of the instrument with equal facility. The handle end is usually in form of a straight heavy bar but very often may be rounded in a U-shape for easier use and handling. This end is de­signed as a blocking force which is stunningly effective in halting the movement of enemies behind the user who arc heading in the same direction (such as in the direction of a subway seat).

Two styles of use are cur­rently in vogue: the first is achieved by gently bringing the handle end up into the face of those too close behind you; the second is by bringing the handle end up ungently into the abdomen of one following too closely. Grand masters can be seen utilizing a two-pronged attack fending off enemies in the rear while quickly utiliz­ing the barrel end to harrass and propel slow moving enemies in advance posi­tions.

These weapons can be bought easily and do not have to be registered at the local ward office. Crowded JNK stairways are most effective, for their use although they have been proven extremely effective in securing a seat on crowd­ed trains when few are visibly available.

No school now trains in the use of the weapon, but one is encouraged to prac­tice the fine techniques in crowded places. If instruc­tion is desired, contact the nearest old lady you see on a rainy day at Shimbashi Station and she will gladly let you observe a technique that, developed over the years with patience and practice, literally defies des­cription.

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If your dog is lost in Ja­pan, probably you are the culprit! Do not let animals out to roam on their own if you live in crowded population centers such as Tokyo (and suburbs) or Yokohama.

If the animal is in the yard and workmen are com­ing to the house to do repairs, bring the animal in­side because you can AL­WAYS count on Japanese workman to leave the gates unlatched and the doors open. This is a rule of law that is as certain as death, taxes and JNR strikes in the springtime.

Purchase an identification tag for the animal listing the pet’s name, your family name, phone number and homo address. Make sure that the pet wears a collar and that this tag is on the collar at all times.

If the pet escapes the house, immediately report the loss to the local hokenjo (health office) and the municipal animal pound nearest to your home. Des­cribe the pet well and advise them of all tags on the collar (I.D. tag, Rabies tag, etc.).

Scour the neighborhood with someone who speaks Japanese and tell all the homeowners, maids of home­owners and schoolchildren in the neighborhood that the pet is missing. Don’t pro­crastinate! Get busy right away and odds are that your pet will be recovered quickly and in good condi­tion. Also, if your pet is a breed that many people would want but few could afford, please don’t leave him unattened in a place from which he could be ex­propriated.