I woke up in a strange place

By Marc Heiden, since 1997.
See also: a novel about a monkey.

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April 10, 2004

It's been a good weekend. On Thursday, I went to visit the local monkeys with some friends. The babies were out and around, and although they were young, they appeared to be committed to the fundamentals, namely the tremendous importance of climbing on things and the equally tremendous importance of abandoning the basic principles of physics as applicable to self-preservation whilst launching surprise attacks intended to knock each other off said things. We met a Japanese researcher who was tracking what he referred as 'monkey male female intimacy'. He'd identified the alpha male of the mountain and kept following him around with a notebook, running if necessary. Did the alpha male have many girlfriends? No, he said, checking through his logs to be sure. Zero girlfriends. We weren't really surprised, given that some git was following the poor monkey around with a notebook, making even a master seduction process rather difficult. We gave sympathetic nods to the obviously frustrated monkey and I wondered how long it would be until he abdicated the alpha-ship in exchange for some time alone with the ladies. For everyone else, it was a beautiful day, with spring weather and the last of the cherry blossoms crying out life and peace and naps whenever anyone liked.

On Friday, I found an international foods store and gave the Japanese a fright by wandering around with a dazed grin. I nearly wept at the sight of some Newman's Own products. I blew the last of the petty cash on chips, dip and a jar of pickles.

On the left, you will notice a new photo gallery. Instead of a standard travelogue, wherein I would merely tell of the long journey and the train breaking down in the middle of nowhere and the crazy French nature photographer who hired me as his translator and the long hike through the forest and along the narrow, frozen mountain, let me quote to you from a pamphlet, some of which is available on the website.

An outline of Jigokudani Yaenkoen
Since 1964, Jigokudani yaenkoen loved by many people in all over the world. Jigokudani Yaenkoen as a place where the interesting the mode of life of the Japanese Macaque can be observed nearby, and as a place of Monkey’s Onsen. And many researchers and photographers coming too, and they leave their achievements lots. Jigokudani is located in a mountainous area in approximately the center of Japan. Jigokudani Monkey Park is located in the valley of Yokoyu-River that flowing from Shigakogen area of the northern part of Nagano-Prefecture. At 850 meters in elevation, it is a harsh environment where snow covers the ground for one-third of the year. People called Jigokudani (Hell's Valley) because they could see the spectacle that looks like the hell that steep cliff, spring out boiling water from the surface of the earth. But this place is a paradise for monkeys. Two groups of monkeys are living in naturally at present.

Remarkable points
The monkeys, they are animals near by the human being. In other wards the human is a kind of the monkeys. They have some resemblances between human being. For example, face shape, and their appearance of hand and when they use it, and so on. In other way, they have original peculiarity appearance of their hind legs and how to use, and so on. Please try to observe their body difference between human or other animals and monkey. The Japanese Macaque makes groups it have highly social structures for their lives. In their lives, they are able to keep good relationship each other because they observe and consider about their each active in their group. Please try to observe each monkey what they do in their group.

Most readers of this web-page will be able to make an educated guess about of the spiritual significance of what I found there. Needless to say, it was a powerful day, and I will bring those truths to you, in time. For now I have only the pictures, and may they be a spell for winter wherever it lingers.

(news) A warning that terrorists might strike trains and buses in major U.S. cities using bombs concealed in bags or luggage has the nation's transit systems ratcheting up security measures.

Is this really what it's come to at home? If they're serious about tackling concealed sources of terror on the trains, they need to start with buckets of barbecue chicken on the CTA. A whole lot of terror has been enacted upon my innocent stomach by those fucking things.

I woke up in a strange place is the work of Marc Heiden, born in 1978, author of two books (Chicago, Hiroshima) and some plays, and an occasional photographer.

Often discussed:

Antarctica, Beelzetron, Books, Chicago, College, Communism, Food, Internet, Japan, Manute Bol, Monkeys and Apes, North Korea, Oregon Trail, Outer Space, Panda Porn, Politics, RabbiTech, Shakespeare, Sports, Texas.


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Written by Marc Heiden, 1997-2011.