Thursday, July 15, 2010

Monkey Business

When the girls were little we took them to Tsubaki Wild Monkey park. It's only about an hour and a half south of Tanabe, but the road is, as always in Japan, narrow and windy. We got there, parked the car, and started walking down the mountainside, down some switchbacks that led to a cove. We're walking and looking all around and see - NO monkeys. Not any. Anywhere. And I think, oh no, this is going to be like a trip to Yellowstone when you don't see any bears, and we've come so far not to see any monkeys! I had taken our essential supplies in a little red napsack, along with some bananas, because we are going to see monkeys, so of course, I should take bananas. Well, I reached in to my backpack and pulled out the bananas and at the flash of yellow, the very rocks began to move. The monkeys had been camoflaged and had blended in so well, we didn't see them. But now they are on the move and we can see a thousand monkeys from all over coming toward us.

I shove the bananas back in the bag, thinking: out of sight, out of mind. Right? Well, the monkeys keep coming and one gets up on the 3 foot wall behind me, and we're doing the Virginia Reel with the kids trying to keep us all together and keep away from the monkeys, when suddenly the female from the wall jumps down and grabs my back pack. All of our important immigration papers we are required to carry with us, are in there . Along with my wallet. My arms straighten out as she pulls, I pull back and her arms straighten, and she bares her teeth and growls at me. We do that a couple of times. I look at Scott and yell, "What do I do?" "Give her the bag!" he yells back. "NO!" I say.

Then the monkey reaches up and flips opens the flap on the backpack, sticks her hand in and grabs the bananas. She starts running, awkwardly upright, cradling her loot. But now all the monkeys are after her. So she tucks the bananas under one arm like a football, and races off on three legs just as fast as she can go.

I look at Scott, blinking and stunned, and I hear myself say, "I just got mugged by a monkey!"


  1. What a GREAT story! Who would have thought that the monkey would actually open the bag! Good thing you stood your ground.
    That's one of the best and most unusual animal stories I've ever heard. So, my question is, were the girls happy they saw the monkeys or sad the took off with the whole bunch of the bananas and just about took your bag?!

  2. Hold on . . . I'm still laughing. *sigh* whew . . . thanks for sharing this story. It certainly is a memory maker. I'm glad you survived to tell this monkey tale.