First it’s trash, then it’s temples

Raccoons have launched an assault on the famous Byôdô-in Temple in Kyoto, leaving scratch marks all over the ancient wood work (warning: link might be Not Safe For Work-exercise your own caution). For those of you who haven’t heard of it before, the temple is a national treasure akin to our Lincoln monument, except much older. Given that the structure dates back to the 10th century, there is actually some real cause for concern.

Strangely enough, Japan has sort of brought it upon themselves. Being that raccoons aren’t indigenous to Japan, you’d think some foreigner might be responsible for unleashing them, however that’s simply not the case.

Apparently, during the 1970s they became popular after appearing in an anime, and people had the bright idea of importing them from the US as pets. Yeah, that’s a good idea, as they were apparently importing close to 1,500 of them a year at one point. Needless to say, it didn’t take long before the government decided to place a ban on importing or even attempting to domesticate them.

Honestly though, how could anyone have ever thought that they’d make a good pet in the first place? I wonder how many of them attacked their owners before someone realized that keeping something with razor sharp claws and a nasty pair of fangs was a terrible idea. They’re not exactly cats and dogs, after all.

Way to finally join the show, Japan

Deer are a fearsome and deadly animal. Like the bear, they are a godless killing machine. They willingly jump in front of cars, kamikazing into the humans’ simple transportation vehicles. Well, Japan is finally deciding to fight back. Perhaps all that time spent building robots shaped like animals was simply spy work?

The Toyoka Hunting Meister Education School (enjoy long names much?) was established in order to teach a new crop of would-be hunters how to take down these ferocious beasts, with the ever-present problem of aging limiting veteran hunters and marksmen from taking down these creatures.

The school was set up in Hyogo prefecture due to repeated calls to action in the rural prefecture for dealing with extensive farm damage, somewhere in the range of $250 million. It’s really serious.

In one spot between Kyoto and Osaka, a railway network that once stopped for nothing has been overrun by nature’s beastly onslaught, with trains forced to a standstill as a menagerie of deer, boar and monkeys invade the tracks.

You hear that? The deer are conspiring with monkeys. They can use guns. I’m bringing a kevlar vest next time I want really fresh sushi.