Yuka Yo

Yuka Yo

Business entrepreneur & mother


Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on February 2010

How did you learn English?
When I was 10 years old, my family moved to New York for work-related reasons. I enrolled in a local school for three years.

How did you end up opening a dog salon?
It all started when we welcomed a flat-coated retriever puppy, Rocky, back in 2004. As I learned about the relationship people have with dogs and the kind of healing power they have on us, I felt a strong urge to help people and dogs live together in peace. It became a passion, and eventually I decided to open a dog salon.

Is it difficult being a business entrepreneur as well as a mother?
I don’t think it’s that hard. But when my children were younger, I made sure not to talk about work at home, to plan for supper after 4pm, and ask the children how school was. I’d shift my thoughts as I left work so that by the time I got home, my mind would be set into mother-mode.

Working mothers are becoming the norm in Japan, but there’s also a backward trend of young, highly educated women wanting to become housewives. What do you think about this?
I can’t really say what’s right and wrong. In my case, I married into a family-owned business, so it was my obligation to be involved. But I strongly felt that there was no alternative to raising your own children: there’s always a replacement for your work, but never a replacement mother for your children.

What is the best and worst part of managing this business?
The best part is making people and dogs happy. I can’t really think of the worst part.

Do any strange customers or dogs ever come by?
Honestly, there are some customers that are maybe a bit too involved with their dogs. But then again, I’m not really in a place to judge whether that’s peculiar or not.

For more information about Dog Care House Motomachi, see www.dog-care.jp