Yesterday we spent a miserable day in Aso. While it's arguably one of the most attractive places I've yet to visit in Japan, the bad weather made it hard to find much to do.

A slight break in the weather did afford us the opportunity to glimpse into the 'depths' of the still-active Mt. Aso (photos to come). But, for much of the day, we sought out indoor pursuits--one of which was a 45 minute performance by trained monkeys.

Certainly something more to Japanese (or perhaps Victorian) tastes, although morbidly fascinating, it left a nasty taste in my mouth.

Through the ages there seems to exist a strange fascination with trying to make animals behave in more humanoid ways--making monkeys walk as bipeds, dolphins perform ball tricks, ... etc. Sadly, these animals are more advanced and skilful in their natural habitats than we and it smacks of arrogance that we try to make them seem more impressive and intelligent by taking the out of these environments and have them emulate us.

End rant.