Yesterday Abby, Pippi and I were hiking on the Yamanashi Prefectural hiking trails. It was our last hike before relinquishing our country house and we were feeling a bit morose. But I digress. So we were on our ascent back up to the “radio tower” (not really a radio tower but it looks like one) when we spotted something, uh, unusual about 30 feet in front of us. We stopped dead in our tracks (no pun intended). OK. So you can probably tell where this is going. ANYHOW, there were some hooves (yes, HOOVES!) jutting out into the trail. The question was, what were they attached to? Being the good mother that I am I said “Abby, go check this out.” Abby, being the intrepid hiker that she is, went to take a gander and then reported that the rest of the animal was a …. (scary movie music) DEER! Needless to say, I was enormously relieved that it was not a wild boar (three weeks ago in almost the very same spot David, Eve, Pippi and I saw an inushishi [wild boar] and her three babies). I was also happy to learn that it was dead. Well, not exactly happy but relieved. Until I started to get the heebie–jeebies. I suggested to Abby that we turn back. Right then. Right there. But Abby’s clear reasoning prevailed and we decided to mush on. Deep breath.
Instead of leaving Pippi to her own devices, Abby held her by the collar and we set out. Naturally I had to take a look at this critter. It was a very Coen Brothers moment. The deer was decidedly dead. It was also big. We estimate it weighed in at about 200 lbs. It was a deep brown/grey color that blended perfectly with the foliage. Well done Mother Nature. And it had some serious antlers. Its eye was still very clear leading us to believe that it had not been dead for long, under 60 minutes I guess (but what do I know about death times and wild animals?). Abby’s diagnosis was that it had a broken neck because its head was at an odd angle in relation to its rather corpulent body. The sight was both incredibly beautiful and incredibly scary at the same time. Definitely seared in my memory forever.
So there you have it. The dead deer sighting (my first in Japan) (maybe my first ever) marked the end of our time in Yamanaka–ko. I took this experience as a sign that it was time to high tail it out of there. Maybe find a new weekend home. Maybe not. But endings can be new beginnings and so I decided it was time to start my blog.