Tuesday, May 10, 2005


yamaneko and crew copy.

The night was to prove eventful. Discovering we had left our pots at Ikeda beach while packing the morning before, we had no means to cook dinner. Although we could have stuffed ourselves with our ample supply of 'Calorie Mate', a kind of Japanese Power-Bar, we decided for no good reason to walk to the nearby town of Sago. It would have been much faster by boat, but we walked anyway, not really sure what we were expecting to find (instant Ramen at best?). The road wound lengthily up and down the hills and the lights of the town seemed few, dim, and far away. In the hills it was totally dark. Suddenly a van came up the road and stopped beside us. The driver, looking distraught, told us we mustn't walk here with sandals since there are many vipers. I've heard this kind of talk many times before, but the vipers are not nearly as common as they say; though it is always good to be cautious. Nevertheless Mr. Yamamura, the nice man, insisted to take us to his house and donated one of his own pots after learning of our predicament. As we were driving back into the hills, Yamamura-san casually asked if we wanted to see a 'mountain lion'. He explained he was going to feed the rare Tsushima mountain cat, as he had been doing every night for the last 12 years! We were delighted to tag along, and were treated to a show of not only the cat but also a Tsushima-Ten, a weasel like creature that the cat does not get along with very well, hauling off large pieces of raw chicken. As there are less than 100 wild cats left in the wild, we felt very privileged to see one of them. Perhaps the idea of feeding them seems odd, but Yamamura-san explained that due to the destruction of their habitat, their natural food source has all but disappeared and feeding them seems necessary if they are to survive. We were deeply impressed to see that someone cares enough about the environment to do such dedicated work at one's own expense. More people like Yamamura-san are needed in Japan.


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