London has pigeons. Tokyo has crows.

They seem supremely relaxed. Unlike British crows, whose asthmatic GRAAK! makes them sound like bad tempered old men, Japanese crows make a sound like a posh English person casually referring to the author of Brideshead Revisited: WAUGH, they say. WAUGH.

I’ve heard people here say they bring bad luck. One young woman who lives near Yoyogi Park, where I took the first pic above, told me she lives in fear that one day a crow will peck her eyes out. Famous carrion eaters that they are, it’s easy to speculate that the crows’ prevalence here is a reflection of Japan’s impressively horrifying history of death, destruction and disaster, both man-made and natural.

I’ve only been watching the crows here for three seasons now, but I have a different theory…

I think they watch over Japan – and their intelligence, stylishness and resilience are reflections of their kingdom.