Today I went for a walk around my apartment. I walked for probably 4 hours, so I am a little tired tonight. This is a road sign I saw today. This is not a raccoon, it is a Tanuki . They are indigenous to Japan. I suppose some Hayao Miyazaki fans might know about Tanuki because of Heisei Tanuki Gassen Ponpoko. Yes just as they are featured in the movie, Tanuki are said to tease people by changing themselves into something else. We also have these kinds of stories about foxes. In the old days when people had something strange happen, some enigmatic accident, they would ofaten attribute it to animals. There were so many Tanuki and Fox in the forests. People often have a negative image when it comes to the Fox. "As sly as a fox" is a saying that Japan too. (to such an extent that we have these woeful tales of tragedy .) On the other hand, the Fox is also said to be a divine messenger. So many times you will find a Fox at the gates of a Shrine.
Though, we don't have a holy image, neighter do we have a negative image for the Tanuki. Actually Sigaraki pottery is famous for its Tanuki motif. Now we can see it all over Japan. And sometimes they are of an unreasonably large size! No matter what size they are, they always have a "Big bag" :-) -biologically external generative organs? . And sometime the Tanuki has costumes too. Look at this, ah terrible.