Boo the Ninja Dog a must-see in Kyoto
BY CHIEKO HARA, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Boo stands guard. (CHIEKO HARA/ THE ASAHI SHIMBUN)
KYOTO--He isn't particularly nimble, hardly stealthy and not big enough to inspire fear in anything much larger than a rodent, yet Boo the Ninja Dog is the talk of the town in this ancient city.
Tourists from far and wide report encounters with this 9-year-old Pekinese clad in full ninja regalia including a sword strapped across his back.
And after their moment of living dangerously, many upload their thoughts and photos to blogs that reach out to even more Boo fans.
Boo has been spotted strolling the grounds of Kiyomizudera temple or scampering across the premises of Nijo Castle, both major tourist attractions in Kyoto.
Last month, he was surrounded by throngs of tourists in the scenic Arashiyama district on the northern rim of the city during the Arashiyama Hanatoro light festival.
"Is it a samurai? No, it's a ninja!" exclaimed one visitor. Inevitably, cries of "how cute" could be heard over the clicking of camera shutters.
Boo's master is 66-year-old Atsushi Nishi, a Kyoto resident and tour guide who specializes in trips to the far reaches of China. Nishi bought the dog in China in 2000 for the equivalent of roughly 4,500 yen ($49).
He named the dog Boo after the Tibetan word for the sun.
Boo first donned his ninja togs in 2008 for the Oharame Jidai Gyoretsu, an annual period costume parade.
The appearance was a success so Nishi continued to show up with Boo at historic sites and events in the city.
Boo even has his own blog. To follow the superdog's adventures and information on dates of upcoming appearances, visit: http://nishiworld.spaces.live.com.