Heads turn when Eru strides through Asakusa to the temple at Sensoji. His master is a local older fellow in a bomber jacket and one of those big baseball-style caps that the military issue, holding another scragglier looking mutt under one arm. He reins in Eru on a long retractable leash, issuing orders as they walk. Stop here. Pose. Stay. It’s unusual to see dogs this size. When the oohs and aahs reach a peak he says, OK let’s give the schoolchildren a picture here shall we, and they stop for a minute before moving on. He says the rare, snowy seven-year-old Shepherd used to work in maritime rescue. So maybe that’s why Eru doesn’t pussyfoot over cocking a leg while barely breaking stride, or seem fussed at being pawed by eager kids and aunties, or made to sit for the occasional snapshot with a young worshipper. But given his pace through the crowd, you sense he’ll be glad to be out of here, that he has something important to do.

Eru stockEru pagoda headEru Skytree pose