Monkey Bite!

Posted on Sunday, October 04, 2009 | 1 comments

  Today, we drove to Izu, a nearby peninsula, to visit the monkey park there. We'd gone to the park once last year, and I fell in love with the place--gorgeous scenery and monkeys, what more could anyone want?? We stopped and had lunch near the park, at a little pension/restaurant run by a husband and wife team. It's known for having wonderful home-made pasta, the wild boar pasta being by far the best. (Before you go judging me about eating cute wild little piggies, please know that I usually prefer fish and seafood or chicken...but this pasta is so good that I can only muster a few half-hearted comments of 'Poor little boars...oink, oink' before stuffing my face like one).  I'll save lunch details and photos for another post, since our monkey park visit led to some much more interesting pictures.
 ...When you get to the monkey park, everyone has to buy an admission ticket and then board a bus that takes you down to the monkeys. Why everyone is required to ride a bus, I don't know, since the whole ride consists of about 2 minutes of slowly driving down the hill to the main monkey building, a trip that could easily be completed on foot. At first I thought they were afraid of having people attacked by random monkeys, but since there are a ton of the little vermin running around outside the bus stop, that's probably not the case. Whatever the reason, you have to take the bus. We asked previously if we could walk it and were told 'No'. Maybe they're afraid someone will try to steal a monkey??
 Anyway, after you get to the bottom, you'll be greeted with the sight of a large number of the troupe running, laying, sitting, scratching, you name it, in the area around the main building. After disembarking, you can either walk around and look at the ocean, monkeys, etc, or you can file into the main building and fork over ¥300 for a bag of dried Japanese sweet potatoes. You're welcome to feed the monkeys, as long as you pass food through bars from the inside of the building. Yep, in this case, the humans are behind the bars and the monkeys are outside. Beautiful. And, I just happened to have taken a banana in the car for a snack. Honestly, I wasn't even thinking about feeding the monkeys when I brought it, so I'll have to thank my subconscious for that one!

  We bought a bag of the sweet potatoes, but it wasn't until after the banana was all gone that any of the monkeys showed much interest in them. It's true---monkeys really do love bananas! One has to wonder how the baby monkeys actually ever mature, though, since it seemed like every time someone tried to feed a little one, a much larger and meaner monkey would simply yank the food from the baby's paw. This caused much screeching by way of the smaller monkeys, not that the fatty ones seemed to care, of course.
  After exhausting our sweet potato supply, we went outdoors for some better pictures. Seeing an adult male monkey sitting on the base of a large granite sign stating the name of the park, I thought it'd be a great picture spot. The monkeys mainly ignore the tourists unless someone has food, so it didn't seem like a big deal to get within 5 feet of this guy. Hah. Silly me. The first photo went fine: monkey was completely bored and still ignoring me. But...then I made the mistake of turning to look at him and accidentally meeting his eyes. Rule #1: Don't look ugly monkeys in the eyes. They will think you are challenging them. Rule #2: Especially don't look big ugly monkeys with sharp teeth and bad attitudes in the eyes. They. will. attack. you. Which this one did!

 Luckily, I saw him starting after me in time and managed to get away with only a quick slap, although in the photo it looks like he's having a nice bite of leg for a snack. Little devil. The best part of this whole incident came much later though, when I happened to be reviewing our pictures and discovered that Yuki had snapped one of the 'attack'. Beautiful! Although I'm still teasing him about taking a picture of it instead of helping his wife out! (He swears that his next step was going to be to kick the evil monkey, should matters have gotten any worse).

Yuki posing with the EVIL MONKEY mere minutes after the charge. Note how bored and peaceful he looks (the monkey, not Yuki).

After surviving the big evil male monkey attack, we decided to stick to looking at the ocean and watching the baby monkeys play. The baby monkeys also have quite sharp teeth and look like little old vampires when provoked, but at least they didn't seem like they'd be able to, say, sever an artery if they attacked! Still, as cute as they were, I think that I've finally been cured of any and all desires to have a monkey for a pet. People on that Monkey Baby show must either be crazy or have no idea what they're in for!



strwberrryjoy said...

I've been following your blog since you posted it to FB awhile back. Very funny story about the monkey!