Animals don’t like me, it’s as simple as that. Dogs bark at me. Cats scratch me. Cheetah’s chase me, and grasshoppers use me as their own personal launchpad. So, I shouldn’t really have been surprised when this monkey took a rather vicious disliking to my presence.
Like most stories in Japan, this one started early in one of those numerous seven-elevens, where they can microwave a full three course meal in less than ninety seconds. Delicious. I had a complete open day to do whatever I wanted, so I quickly fired up Google and searched for hikes around the surrounding area. This one showed up first. The waterfall looked suitably impressive, so I grabbed my ICOCA card, swiped my way into the metro and off I went.
Now if I was a sensible sort of traveler, I would have done some research first. I would have found out about the vicious monkeys and would have taken some precautions. I certainly wouldn’t have bought that sandwich from the local railway station and taken it with me on my hike.
The hike started easily enough, winding it’s way along this gorgeous valley.
Past spiritual Japanese temples.
And finally down to the rather impressive waterfall.
What a perfect walk I mused to myself. Google had come through for me. Who said you shouldn’t trust things you read on the internet? As it was rather warm, I finished my bottle of water and tucked into my now rather gone off, but still, in my opinion, edible tuna sandwich. It was at then that I first noticed a monkey on the prowl.
I should’ve really twigged when locals quickly started hiding their food and cautiously stepping from the monkey, but instead, being a typical and terrible tourist, and seeing that the monkey didn’t really mean any harm. I whipped my phone out and snapped away. A couple of other tourists joined in as we cautiously and at a safe distance, followed the monkey around the picnic site. “Ah, look. Monkey. Come here Monkey.”
Now, this is where things started to get interesting, as another monkey suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Let’s call him Kevin. Kevin’s a good name for a monkey I think. Kevin seemed rather more aggressive than the other monkey, as he started swinging his arms around, patrolling the picnic area like he was some Japanese beefeater. He was obviously on the prowl for something, and unbeknownst to me, my tuna sandwich was firmly in his sights.
The rather aggressive monkey, Kevin, made an advance towards me, I stepped back, finally noticing the don’t feed the monkey sign. No, my Japanese hadn’t suddenly improved. There was a big picture with a monkey eating and a cross over it. Didn’t take Einstein to work out what that meant. Fortunately, I thought, I hadn’t been feeding the monkey. I was safe and sound, until…
Kevin came flying through the air with all the subtlety of B-42 bomber and snatched my half-eaten, sun-dried tuna sandwich out of my hand, before quickly scurrying off up his tree. I watched in horror as he took one bite of my tuna sandwich, chewed it for a brief second, then picked up the rest and threw it in distaste at the waterfall…
That ungrateful monkey.
The waterfall I visited was Minoo Park.
To see more things to do in Osaka, click here.