Yesterday I will have to chalk up as being one of the ultimate Japan experiences. I was really hoping it was not going to be one of those things where I had hyped it up too much and it turned out to be ordinary. There was absolutely not a single thing that was ordinary about it. Watching the Japanese macaques, up close and personal, literally centimetres from them at times, was beyond brilliant.
You do have to be careful though, the monkeys are wild, there are simple rules to follow.
Rule #1, don't try to touch the monkeys, or more specifically, try all you want, but don't succeed in touching the monkeys, or they will go ape and gnaw your face off.
Rule #2, do not eat in front of the macaques or give them food. There are two reasons for this firstly, the animals are wild, and should not develop a dependency on humans for food, and secondly, in monkey society the alpha animal always eats first, eating therefore is seen as a challenge for the leadership and they will go ape and gnaw your face off.
Rule #3, do not make eye contact, once again, in monkey world, this is like a high noon standoff, a challenge for supremacy, and keeping in trend, they will go ape and gnaw your face off.
There was many a screech and scuffle whilst I was watching, little everyday tussles in the ever changing environment that is macaque hierarchy, and I thought office politics were bad in Australia.
On the other hand they don't mind cameras at all, so I walked around, happy as a macaque in an onsen, until my battery ran out.