I was walking around the Decks shopping complex in Odaiba, and suddenly, MONKEY SHOW. Seriously. Right in the middle of the mall. A monkey show.
Of course, trained monkeys have been entertaining people for a long time in Japan – the tradition dates back to before the samurai era – but usually you have to go to Nikko and buy tickets to the Nikko Saru Gundan or hope that a trainer brings his primate performer to one of the big traditional festivals in Asakusa.
This dude didn’t seem like a Secretly Angry Monkey who was just biding his time until he could show the audience what he REALLY thought of us, but I did kind of wonder what would happen if he did suddenly decide he was mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. Would his trainer be able to reel in that long leash before he did serious damage to the front row? And what would it be like, being a trained monkey? Did he enjoy performing? Or was this the monkey equivalent of flipping burgers? Where did he live? Did the neighbors object to having a monkey living next door? These just aren’t the kind of questions that usually come to mind back in San Francisco…
Read a novel set in Tokyo