When we lived in the village, before moving up higher into the mountains, there was bar at the end of our road. A pub that specialized in wild boar dishes. Wild boar hotpot, and wild boar sashimi. I once heard a story about a group of tourists who came hunting. Killed a boar, and ate it, raw. How they all died from food poisoning. Since these local pigs are a writhing mass held together by countless parasites. Their worms will be the end of you. Something I understood better, when I first saw one run past my kitchen window. Grey, lumpen, misshapen, tusks twisted. Kinda prehistoric. Me and the kids got used to seeing them if we were driving home late at night. Coming back from school clubs, or the cinema. The mother leading a line of young ones. Trotting to keep up. These were, conversely, kinda cute. When I got a dog and started to explore the area around the house we built, we`d bump into them even in the day. Usually solo, sometimes in twos. They would always run away. But once, near midnight, the dog was going crackers. Barking, barking, scratching at the front door. So I let him out, and off he dashed. Chasing something. I didn’t know what. He disappeared round the back of the house, then reappeared at full speed, with two enormous boar on his tail. He ran to the end of the driveway, while I held the door open, calling him. Panic and fear in my voice. Wondering if I`d be able to shut the door in time. Wondering what I could use as a weapon. There was a small shovel, and a baseball bat. Both felt a little close quarters for a wild boar. The dog made it in. The boar did not. But I could still hear them. So shaken I walked out onto the rear terrace, which extends out into the garden at tree height. Looking down, staring up at me were two sets of green eyes. Glowing demonic. Daring me.
I`m blessed to live in the heart of nature. At the centre of the seasons. Surrounded by animals. Bears, deer, foxes, goats, monkeys, and tanuki. All of which we encounter on a weekly, often daily basis. The monkeys, for example, stopping off for a breakfast of berries. Perched in the branches above our car. We have a flying squirrel who makes her nest in our garden every year. We have birds who do the same with our post box. But over the last three years, I`ve hardly seen a boar. I don’t know if they`ve been culled. Since they can`t help but destroy folks` landscaped yards as they rut. Plus the sight, and noise, of this passionate rite is pretty terrifying for the monied bods from Tokyo who come visiting their summer homes. It could simply be that the construction of these holiday retreats, which continues to almost exponentially increase, has driven them away.