Wednesday 10 June 2020

Confessions of a Shinagawa Monkey (2020)

A wonderful short story (HERE) by Haruki Murakami in The New Yorker, of the authors experience of meeting a well educated and polite monkey at a hot-spring. Here is what the Shinagawa monkey thinks about love:
'I believe that love is the indispensable fuel for us to go on living. Someday that love may end. Or it may never amount to anything. But even if love fades away, even if it’s unrequited, you can still hold on to the memory of having loved someone, of having fallen in love with someone. And that’s a valuable source of warmth. Without that heat source, a person’s heart—and a monkey’s heart, too—would turn into a bitterly cold, barren wasteland. A place where not a ray of sunlight falls, where the wildflowers of peace, the trees of hope, have no chance to grow. Here in my heart, I treasure the names of those seven beautiful women I loved.' The monkey laid a palm on his hairy chest. 'I plan to use these memories as my own little fuel source to burn on cold nights, to keep me warm as I live out what’s left of my own personal life'.

The monkey in the story is a Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) - an Old world monkey that is native to Japan. For comprehensive information on this species, including its rare ability to talk, see this 'Systematic review of Japanese macaques, Macaca fuscata', HERE.