Wildlife: inoshishi

Inoshishi are wild boars. They are agricultural pests with a price on their heads – or their tails, as the city pays for every tail you bring them. We have some that live in the hills and vales surrounding 555.

Wild boars eat roots, bulbs, grubs, and worms. They get into rice fields and roll around in the cooling mud which crushes the crop and apparently stinks up the whole field amking it unsaleable. They are territorial and can be aggressive. They are also rather large – adults are heavier than me, for sure – so encountering one is not a good idea.

My closest encounter was in January, when a 98 kg sow walked into the cage trap the Kawasaki’s set up by the blueberries. She was furious and banged the cage around before she was dispatched. I got close enough to look her in the eyes and apologise for what was about to happen. I have a piece of her in my freezer, still. I can’t bring myself to eat someone I talked to.

Her children tore up the garden in the spring, digging me some handy steps up the hill. And in the past few weeks they have been back, leaving pockmarks all along the back road, digging up the Jerusalem artichoke I missed, and ravaging the earth within a meter or two of the house.

When I told Mr. Kawasaki that, he set up a trap in the old rice field. He cut back all the weeds with the hammer knife rotor and placed a cage trap there. It’s been closed twice, but without a boar inside. The boars are getting close, but not getting caught.

Fritter likes to lead me outside to see the boar damage in the mornings. We walk up the driveway to the old road and look into the fields together as the sun rises. It’s a peaceful way to start the day and be aware of the status of our space.

The boars are getting close, but not getting caught. Yet.

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Mediatinker, Kristen McQuillin, is an American-born resident of Japan since 1998. This blog chronicles her life, projects, thoughts, and small adventures.