Sensuijima, an island just off the coast of Fukuyama. During the day, we noticed a couple of tanuki hanging around the outdoor eating area begging for food. They looked incredibly diseased, scabby, and were even missing their tails. They were awake during the day, which is strange for tanuki, abnormally comfortable around humans, and seemed to be in pain. I thought it was incredibly cruel that the restaurant owners had not decided to take responsibility for these creatures and put them out of their misery.
As soon as night fell though, a whole army of healthy, bushy tailed tanuki emerged from the forest. Every where you shone your flashlight was a little raccoon dog that would stand stunned for a moment before scampering off into the trees.
|Just in case you were wondering, this is what nightmares|
are made of.
|This is what my arm looked like a few hours later.|
The actual bite is on the bottom near my armpit and all
the little red dots are where its legs scratched me.
We also had our first encounter with a suzumebachi, or asian giant hornet. It came buzzing into the yard and died a few minutes later when Dustin smacked it with a broom. Like the giant centipedes, these are far larger than any hornet has a right to be and can be pretty dangerous if you are stung multiple times or if they sting a child. Once again, I counted my blessings that none of the children were around.
|This is definitely not the one that flew into our garden. I wouldn't have been crazy enough|
to let it walk around on my palm.