While still living in Japan in March of 2010 I posted a weird tale of giant rabbits in the Japanese countryside. Looking through my blog post archives yesterday I came upon this tidbit of hare-y fiction scribbled off after a weekend in Yamanashi. Worth a repeat I thought.
Here we see Professor Kaspar Bubalov of the Yamanashi Institute of Hares struggling under the weight of “Maximus” a Brute hare, and the end result of extensive trial breeding carried out with Bulgarian mountain hares and Polish bull hares. Professor Bubalov was for years a long-neglected east European lagomorphologist who found his way to the mountains of Yamanashi, Japan, and through his research discovered that both the Bulgarian and Polish hares flourish in Japan’s mountain climate. The Trifolium melilotus (sweet clover) that grows profusely on the lower mountain slopes of Yamanashi is a variety of clover the hares thrive on. Good conditions in Japan’s Yamanashi countryside convinced the professor to move his laboratory to a vacant farmhouse there. He now receives a substantial annual grant from the Polish Foundation for Lagomorpha Studies, a portion of which the local community shares in. This funding has provided for a mobile library, a bingo hall and a new town center. It has also allowed Professor Bubalov to build a state of the art laboratory, which includes two acres of Trifolium melilotus, and where his research is carried out with the help of three assistants. Little known to the general public, the grant has also helped to keep a lid on the sometimes frightening results of the doctor’s research. Several elderly citizens have suffered heart attacks when confronted by one or more of the now numerous and free roaming Bubalov hares, which occasionally wander into yards and open doors. The new breed of hare has also been less than welcome among small children in the area. Only recently three kindergarten moppets were trampled by four stampeding Brute hares excited by a tractor. Thankfully, a few bruises were the extent of the children’s injuries. Despite his contribution to science, the future of Professor Bubalov and his giant hares in Japan is now in question.