A wandering bird's-eye overview of most things even vaguely related to travel, and an opportunity for writers, artists and photographers to contribute the historical, the hysterical, the quirky and quixotic... anything with heart.

4 years ago
Waiting at Shibuya Crossing
Waiting at Shibuya Crossing

I'm standing at the  Hachiko entrance to Tokyo's Shibuya Station, and ask about this dog on a pedestal, passed by over 700,000 commuters each day.

In 1924 a rare pure-bred Akita dog arrives in Tokyo with his university professor owner, the dog seeing him off each morning and meeting him again each night at nearby Shibuya Station, rain, hail or shine.

The following year his owner  suffers a cerebral hemorrhage and dies at the university.That night the dog waits at the station.

The dog's name is Hachiko, and he's given away after his owner's death, but routinely escapes and returns to his previous home, with his professor master never there. The dog walks to the station.

Hachiko continues to keep vigil at the station every night at precisely the same time, searching among the faces of thousands of commuters for his master:  the dog becoming a permanent fixture, fed by doting commuters who know  the story. 

On  March 8th 1935  Hachiko is found dead on a street nearby, finally succumbing to terminal cancer and a fileria infection.

I rub my hand over the nose of the dog's likeness; this the very spot where the pining pet kept vigil for 9yrs after his owner's death, the now famous Akita dog still waiting for the return of his long-gone owner.

Photo: Waiting at Shibuya - Tokyo, Japan _ Ian Cochrane