I shouted and started running at that time when I turned around.

     I was in a small village in Mugi, Gifu prefecture, where I had visited and written about the other day, on Sunday of the 17th. That was a peaceful afternoon. Some people were indulging in a nap, some were strolling in the village, and I was about to practice tai chi outside after lunch.

     I heard some snaps behind me when I went outside. I saw something gray crouch and eating something when I turned around.

     A dog? I thought that first. The next instant, however, it clicked with me that it was not a dog but another animal; a monkey!

       It was the first time for me to see a wild monkey. It was eating something in a leisurely manner showing its back to us. With my information, some of us came out and saw it, but the monkey didn’t look unaffected at all and kept eating something.

     Another big monkey, however, suddenly appeared from nowhere and squealed. And the monkey who was eating something swung round to us and then started running away to the mountain.

     The next moment, there was an unbelievable thing. All of a sudden, other three monkeys appeared behind us and dashed to the mountain, too. Scary! We didn’t know that they were lurking in the underbrush at all!

     For a while, the monkeys and we had been staring at each other across the mountain side. Then the monkeys might give up something and started going home (maybe). After they were gone, we checked the fields. Ah, yes. As we imagined, a row of potatoes were dug up.


        There’s a word “saru-mane” in Japanese, but it means mimicking something without thinking anything. Monkey can copy movements of human beings. That’s why if someone threatens a monkey with something, the monkey mimics the movement next time.

      I heard from a villager an interesting but scary story after our encounter with monkeys. A man found a monkey sit on a plum tree and he threw some stones at it to drive it off. Afterwards, monkeys started climbing up to the plum trees and throwing plums to humans! If monkeys are getting fiercer and fiercer, the root might be our behaviors… Learn wisdom by the follies of others…


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