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The deer whisperer

A popular tourist destination near Kyoto, the park of Nara is home to more than 1,200 wild deer who can be spotted roaming free around the landmark Todaiji temple. Mascots of the city and messenger of the gods in Shinto mythology, these elegant creatures are also skilled in trading their kawaii-ness for a few shika senbei (rice crackers for deer).

Enjoying a stroll in the park among the deer with her family, @now2000 was impressed by how her daughter instinctively managed to keep a young deer at bay by holding her hands in the air and staying calm. Nara’s deer can be very friendly which normally causes children to panic, scream and/or run away.

奈良の鹿がせまって来た時の回避の仕方
逃げると付いてくる上に他の鹿も寄ってくるので、手をパーにして「(鹿せんべい)持ってないよ!」と示すとサッとターゲット変えてくれます。

= How to escape when a deer is coming toward you: If you try to run away more deer will come so, with your hand, show that you’re not holding any shika senbei. The deer will switch his attention to another target.

Safe to say, Twitter was equally impressed by the little girl’s bravery, drawing comparisons with Chris Pratt’s fictional character Owen from Jurassic World.

She jokingly added a few tweets down that while her daughter stayed calm, just nearby her husband was surrounded and got his clothes chewed and his ass bitten.

Buyer beware

We’ve been there. It’s hard to resist the temptation to feed the adorable creatures — some of which have even learned to bow in order to entice you into giving them more crackers. However, you might very well end up regretting your generosity when you’re encircled by over-excited deer who will chase you wherever you try to run. The 171 case reports of deer bites in 2018 alone are a reminder to stay vigilant.

The mighty と

The connecting particle has so many multiple grammatical usages that it would be impossible to give a complete list of all of them here. The most important thing to keep in mind is that, as its name indicates, と connects things.

The first usage you’ll learn is how this particle connects nouns and pronouns, translated as “and” or “with.” In this week’s tweet, you’ll note that と is used on several occasions throughout.

In the sentence:

逃げると付いてくる上に他の鹿も寄ってくるの

と expresses a constant result or more precisely, an unchanged fact. This pattern is often used for habitual action or natural phenomena. In this context, と translates as “if,” as in:

逃げると付いてくる上に他の鹿も寄ってくる = If you run away, more deer will come closer

That’s a fact based on past observations or experiences.

This usage appears again in:

示すとサッとターゲット変えてくれます = If you show (that you don’t have crackers), (the deer) will look for someone else

In this sentenceと expresses that the actions are performed jointly:

手をパーにして「(鹿せんべい)持ってないよ!」と示す = you place your hand like this and show that you don’t have crackers

Vocabulary

Japanese Romaji English
奈良 なら nara Nara
鹿 しか shika deer
kuru to come
とき toki time, when
回避 かいひ kaihi avoidance, evasion
仕方 しかた shikata method, way (to do something)
げる nigeru to run away
te hand
motsu to hold
しめ shimesu to show, give a sign (of something)
ターゲット taageto target
える kaeru to change

For more on learning Japanese

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Japan101: Higher Education and Studying Japanese

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