A Hitchcock Moment at Todaiji Temple

Japan’s crows have always scared me just a little bit. Back in America, the black birds in my yard—the ones I grew up calling crows—are actually just cow birds. They’re comparatively smaller than the ones over here… and they’re a lot less ominous.

The first time I saw a crow over here (and it was in Tennoji Park, I nearly shat myself. Before I spotted it, I heard it, a raspy caw like fingernails clawing against old wood. It was even louder than the chorus of cicadas chirping happily away. Then, I look up and see this absolutely enormous bird staring at me, scuttling from branch to branch. All attempts to photograph the monstrous bird were futile.

They are also in Nara Koen. In the middle of a cloudy day, on my way back from Nigatsu-dou, I looked up and saw a Hitchcock moment at Todaiji Temple. It’s strange for me to see so many gloomy birds in a place I’ve come to associate with tranquility and good times. To me, this picture is like something out of a Japanese horror film, a shot the director uses right before the high school girl returns home and wanders around the house for thirty or so seconds, then finds her mom’s corpse upstairs.

Sometimes, I find it strange that such dark images appeal to me in their own way. Then, I remember that Frankenstein is the reason I became an English major, and my odd views make a little more sense.