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  • Welcome to Takasakiyama in Ōita city these monkeys are native to Japan. They're pretty special

  • This is not a zoo. This is a monkey reserve they come and go freely. In fact

  • This is more like a Town Square and today I'm gonna be working here for the afternoon

  • To get a closer look at the lives and society of these monkeys.

  • And believe it or not they do not eat bananas.

  • Suimimasen (excuse me)

  • Let's see where exactly Ōita city and Takasakiyama are located in Japan

  • We start in Kyushu

  • Ōita's on the eastern end

  • Here Ōita City the capital of the prefecture and

  • Takasakiyama is just to the west right off the bay

  • At the base is the rail line and highway and behind the park entrance is pure wilderness where the monkeys live

  • 8:00 a.m. It's time for me to start my job at Takasakiyama monkey park

  • You can walk a few minutes up the steps or commute there by monorail

  • This definitely is not the Shinkansen but it's a smooth ride to the office

  • All staff members must wear Takasakiyama Park uniforms

  • We're ready for the first task of the morning calling the monkeys down from the mountain for breakfast and a headcount

  • Visitors aren't allowed up the mountain. But since we're on the job you're invited to join us

  • We are out here to confirm the situation to see how the monkeys are doing and

  • See how the pack is

  • Reacting day to day. It's every morning they do this kind of check on the monkeys

  • This is when the bizarre monkey yelling started

  • Other staff members were higher up the mountain yelling and reporting on the population's movements

  • Other than our yelling the forest beyond was quiet

  • Monkeys feel more secure at night up on the mountain in the trees and come down together every day

  • We got live reports by radio saying they were coming down slowly

  • I'm geeing used to this if you make human voices human sounds and the monkeys know you're human

  • You have to make something a little bit different. That's pretty different. It's pretty different.

  • I wondered if it could be my presence that kept them away but then...

  • The troupe started to make their way down little by little like this mother and baby

  • Nothing... but they're out there

  • It's pretty cool, we've got four or five of them now coming out of the dream

  • Six seven eight nine

  • There's ten now monkeys that have come out of the forest to come and greet us.

  • This is morning at Takasakiyama

  • It's pretty cool. huh!

  • One of the bosses came out to let everyone know it was clear of danger

  • Not all monkeys commute by ground some take to the trees

  • The young ones ride into town on their mother's backs, it's a lot more fun that way

  • This is an important part of the job keeping the monkeys together so they don't go to surrounding farms

  • They're used to coming down to town for breakfast now, which keeps farmers happy

  • So what exactly are these monkeys in Japan?

  • Ōita is just one of many places where the Japanese macaque reside

  • What makes them special is that

  • They're the only native monkey in Japan and they get their name as the snow monkeys because no other primate lives more north than them

  • The Japanese macaque is the king of the cold

  • They can deal with temperatures as cold as minus 20 degrees Celsius

  • Their average lifespan is about 6 years in the wild and around 28 to 30 in captivity

  • monkey is saru (猿) in Japanese

  • The nihon saru is part of Japanese folklore and is respected

  • Except maybe by the farmers which is why the park exists

  • It opened in 1952 after World War 2 when food supplies for humans were low, and it kept the monkeys and humans in harmony

  • With about 1200 monkeys here. Takasakiyama's monkey troops are some of the biggest in the world

  • It's a family friendly place for both monkey and human

  • Feeding time several times a day staff fill a bucket full of barley

  • And I can't be late the monkeys know exactly when feeding time takes place

  • experienced staff moves quickly. It will be hard to move the same way my first time

  • You can hear the monkey speaking they know it wasn't the usual guy on duty

  • Paying respect to the bosses like this confused them, but I wanted to get on their good side

  • It really does take time to get to know the monkeys like the staff does

  • Sometimes feeding them different caused fights to break down

  • the society has rules

  • Thankfully I was untouchable, you know as the food guy, but they are sneaky sometimes

  • But they don't just guess barley it's time for dinner the sweet potato cart race

  • It's a way for them to show off their speed and agility to the troop

  • It gets pretty crazy out there like a mosh pit I'll show you from three angle's

  • After they get one or two sweet potatoes the troop scatters for some good eating

  • After you get your sweet potato you sneak of fast. Before the big guys swipe one from you

  • The monkey park is set up with urban services like a city. There's waste management

  • One of our duties is to protect and serve the public make sure humans and monkeys get along

  • Society has rules!

  • The park gives visitors a chance to see the nihonzaru society in the wild roaming free

  • Here are the rules you humans need to know.

  • 1. Don't feed them.

  • 2. Don't touch or pet the monkeys

  • 3. Don't make fun of them. No one likes that!

  • 4. And don't stare into their eyes

  • It's said if the monkey runs between your legs it brings good luck and many visitors try

  • It's been a pretty cool experience working here so far

  • after a couple of hours you start to see that a lot of the monkeys really do have

  • Like a personality to them you could tell by looking at their faces

  • It just, it just takes a little bit of time to get used to seeing their faces, I think

  • But yeah, you know you work here for a day. These aren't monkeys anymore. These are kind of like

  • Friends, You get to know them

  • I asked Sugimoto-san about the park, how she got started? and why this place exists?

  • This is a really special experience for me, to see this from the other side

  • The great thing about this monkey reserve is that they

  • Live free up there in the mountain and come down here whenever they want

  • As someone who had a chance to see the other side as a staff

  • You have to have a really great love for the monkeys to do this job

  • I think and you can see that by talking to

  • Sugimoto-san and seeing the staff really care for the monkeys that meant a lot to me

  • I think if you're interested in coming to Ōita

  • There's a lot of stuff to do if you don't want monkey food

  • Grab some toriten and some Japanese sake

  • Ready to hear about Ōita city?

  • Right at the airport. You're greeted with food on the luggage belt

  • You've got some of the best seafood in Japan like Seki Saba and sekiaji

  • Ōita's famous for it and also for its chicken. They're serious about it! toriten is a must

  • As is their karaage Japanese deep-fried chicken the city center is easy to navigate in a stop at the retro Miyako machi is a must

  • It really is an adventure budget airlines fly here in a little over an hour from Tokyo

  • and the monkeys will be waiting to

  • Ōita city is also one of the venues for the Rugby World Cup

  • It was great to spend the day working with people that are passionate about their job

  • otsukaresama deshita

  • I'll be back again to visit my friends on staff and also those living in the trees all around them and

  • And as we say in the nehon sashi world. Thank you

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  • Matane (see you later)

Welcome to Takasakiyama in Ōita city these monkeys are native to Japan. They're pretty special

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A2 monkey park staff japanese mountain society

Working at a Japanese Snow Monkey Park ★ ONLY in JAPAN

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    Summer posted on 2020/10/24
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