Two fewer inoshishi

Living in the countryside is not for the faint of heart. Neither is this post; turn back if you don’t like death.

After writing here yesterday that the inoshishi weren’t getting into the trap, I woke this morning to find two of them in it. And one on the outside. He sensed me, snorted loudly and ran off up the mountain, leaving his family behind.

I texted Kawasaki-san to let him know. It was 6:20 am. The Kawasakis came by within 30 minutes to tell me the hunter would be here around 9. He was having a busy morning.

The boars were angry and threw themselves at the cage trying to escape. The bigger one figured out she could lift the cage door a little bit, but it self-locks a few centimeters off the ground with the steel rebar that drops the door.

Watching them from a safe distance, even behind a wall of earth and trees, opened an instinctive fear. It’s not a feeling I have often, so I tried to take it in. I felt the sensations in my body of being ready to run, being wary, and physically keyed up. The fear was tempered with sadness because I was pretty sure of the outcome of this situation.

So for two hours I felt conflicted, guilty, and stressed. Inoshishi are a troublesome pest to farmers, but they are living creatures and smart ones at that. I really don’t feel okay killing them.

How can I practice amhisa, the yogic concept of non-harm, if I participate in trapping and killing animals? Even if the traps aren’t mine and the killing isn’t done by me, I alerted Kawasaki-san to the existence of the boars coming through the property. I have some responsibility for this.

Looking for solace, I decided to set some fresh greens at our little shrine. I communed with the gods who reside there. Then I looked up and realised that the boars had been snuffling around there in the night. A half-eaten grub looked like a forgotten offering.

Crows and hawks came to check out the scene. These two birds bring on panic for me, but I knew they were not here for the cats and I watched them interact with the boars. Swooping down for a look and a sniff for blood. Do birds smell blood? I don’t know.

Around 9:30 the hunters arrived and the Kawasakis came back, too. Within 10 minutes, the work was done. While the men did their thing, Mrs. Kawasaki and I chatted about the damage wild boars do, and how horrible yet necessary it was to kill them.

気持ち悪いでも気持ち悪いです。

Stop reading now if you don’t want to see blood or dead things.

These two hogs joined another one already in the back of the truck along with a kyon and a tanuki. The hunters were off to collect a deer and at least one more inoshishi. They really were busy today.

With at least one more wild boar on the loose here – the one that got away – the trap will be set again, after being moved to a place that doesn’t stink of blood and death. Also, Kawasaki-san needs to fix the self-locking rebar piece – it was badly bent. A little more and those inoshishi might have freed themselves.

As it is, I expect to dine on them. I was asked if I would eat the meat – the Kawasakis know I feel conflicted about eating animals I met in person. But let’s not waste what we have done.

Maybe in 2024 I will become a vegetarian again. In the meantime, I am going to do a ritual cleansing around the house and the grounds with bells and incense.

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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.