I took today’s photo in Nara Park, Japan in June of 2015:
The park is home to 1200 sacred deer, and although the sika no longer enjoy official “sacred” status, they are legally protected and considered national treasures. Since the deer were considered sacred, and have been protected, for over 1000 years, they’ve long since lost their fear of people (and often approach visitors in hopes of a scratch behind the ears or a treat of “deer crackers” – which vendors sell throughout the park).
Although I never saw a deer attack or try to harm a person during my time in Nara, they will swarm around anyone they suspect is carrying (or hiding) deer crackers, and signs like these throughout the park warn visitors that the deer–though cute and friendly–are nonetheless wild creatures.
Warning signs like these are common in Japan and unlike warnings in the U.S.–which seem primarily focused on avoiding litigation–appear designed to ensure that people know how to behave responsibly in various situations.
In separate news: the blog tour for my newest Hiro Hattori Mystery, The Ninja’s Daughter, has begun, and there are lovely reviews of the novel posted today at:
Reading the Past, and
Thank you to the blogger/reviewers for taking the time to read and review the book – and even more for giving me the gift of saying how much they enjoyed it. It’s truly special to hear that someone enjoyed your book.