Thursday, September 20, 2012

Japan Bad Animal Report, Part 2

As I mentioned before I left, I went to Tokyo in hope of meeting a bad animal that I'd heard much about, the city's famous crows. I'd even seen an entire movie about them not long ago. So along with fulfilling my lifelong goal of seeing a dugong, this was one of my priorities for the trip.

I'd read about the city's years-long struggle against crows getting into the trash, and it wasn't hard to catch them in the act: this picture was taken one morning barely half a block from the inn I was staying at:

And the warning in the sign pictured above (in Ueno Park) was verified as necessary by my Japanese friend, whose son had had food snatched from him by these winged delinquents. And it's not just a child that would lose a battle over a snack to these creatures. What I hadn't been prepared for was how huge the birds are: They look twice as big as the crows in my own backyard.

And yet as we see again and again everywhere around the world, no matter how bad an animal is, there are those that admire it. I visited a particular crow-related site on the advice of this blog entry which relates some of the problems crows create and then delves into their place in Japanese folklore.

One particular rather interminable tale is about a three-legged crow sent by the gods which is now, among other things, used as the symbol of Japanese soccer, presumably because an extra leg is so useful in a sport where you can't use your hands.

The blog mentions a temple where you can see these crows on the lanterns in the main hall, fairly conveniently located in Shinjuku, so it seemed appropriate to make a pilgrimage to a place that honors these bad animals.

So you know in case you ever visit, everything in Tokyo is much farther from the train station than it sounds like it is, the train stations themselves are several blocks long so if you get out the wrong end that adds to that problem, and what's more, in early September it was still in the mid-nineties with eleventythousandpercent humidity. But I felt that my schlepp was amply rewarded when I arrived and the shrine was immediately approached by this worshipper - look closely and by his feet, you'll see a soccer ball:

All in all, a successful trip to see bad animals in action and the people who revere them.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.