Primate Encounters in Asia (part 1 of 3)

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One of the first animal magazines my mother gave me had on the cover monkeys bathing in hot springs. That image captivated me instantly.

I read the corresponding articles on the Japanese macaque, or Snow monkeys, their social structure, and their practice of bathing in hot springs during winter.

In addition to being beautiful with their thick fur protecting them from the cold, they demonstrate human-like behavior as they enjoy and relax in their own spa.

They are primates that live in northern regions, a part from humans. What I couldn’t have imagined is that I would be lucky enough to see them.

In 2009, I began my two-month journey in Asia, with Japan. I stayed 10 days in these incredibly clean, organized country with its polite and nice people.

I was in Tokyo with my friend Kei, who I had met several years earlier in Costa Rica. He had an apartment in the city and his family owned a country house in Nagano, in the mountains.

It was during the end of the winter season, so there was still snow in that area. We went there to spend a few days. I told my friend that one of my biggest dream if I were in Japan, was to see the Japanese macaque bathing.

He told that the park where they lived was very close to his house and that we could definitely go see them! When I tell you I was surprised and happy at the same time!

Author: Helena Aroyo

Amelie Delobel

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