Mar 4, 2018

Overtaken by monkeys on the highway, a real 'life in Japan' moment

It's gotten to the point now that I can drive back from the beach I surf in Chiba in my sleep, figuratively at least.  The roads hold little surprise for me these days save for the unpleasant prospects of an unmarked police car nabbing wanna be Niki Laudas (I usually see two or three on an average beach run) and gangs of bosozoku noise polluting the weekend.

It came as some surprise then to see a couple of monkeys riding on the back of a three-wheel motorbike on the highway this morning.  Rather embarrassingly, it was the three-wheeler that overtook me and pulled into my lane to give me an amusing view of two furry heads sheepishly poking out of the storage trunk on the back of the bike.

They sped off but we later crossed paths at the highway service area a little further on.

While the driver (a middle-aged Japanese man) went off for his toilet break / smoke / food, the two monkeys idled about in their box and on the bike seat.  They were on leashes so couldn't actually get down from the bike.  Needless to say, everyone who pulled into the service area made a beeline for the small crowd of smartphone wielding travelers loitering around someone's ride.  

In my experience, pet owners in Japan who have some kind of "unique" pet situation going on (typically a pram stuffed with a squad of dogs in fancy dress) are happy for passersby to take photos of their "pack."  (I think the attention is part of the appeal.)  And this was the case with the owner of the bike and its primate passengers.  

Quite how I feel about someone taking a pair of monkeys for a ride on the back of a bike down a highway, I'm not sure.  I don't suppose the monkeys had any say in the matter.

Seen anything odd in Japan this weekend?



Traveler, surfer, and scribe. Based in Tokyo for six years.