”The crows got me.”

Pokémon GO may not have the deepest gameplay, but its combination of easily accessible fun and real-world exploration give the smash-hit mobile game a phenomenal power to bring people together. Unfortunately for one fan in Japan, though, Pokémon GO also brought him into contact with some violent wildlife.

Earlier this month, the city of Sapporo, prefectural capital of Hokkaido, hosted Japan’s latest iteration of the Pokémon GO Fest fan event. Naturally, our Japanese-language reporter and diehard Pokémon GO player P.K. Sanjun attended the event.

Over the years, P.K. has made a lot of friends playing Pokémon GO, one of whom goes by the screen name Dr. Matatabi. P.K. describes the good doctor as a man with a sharp mind who’s also in excellent physical shape, befitting his status as a reserve member of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces.

Dr, Matatabi was also traveling in from out of town to attend Sapporo’s Pokémon GO Fest. Unfortunately, his schedule didn’t mesh with P.K.’s, as our reporter was attending the event on opening day, Friday, and was planning to be sightseeing elsewhere in the city while his friend was at the Poké-celebration on Saturday.

But it turned out that P.K. and Dr. M did manage to meet up during their time in Sapporo. As he was out for a stroll in downtown Sapporo on Saturday afternoon, P.K. spotted a man in the distance, limping as he made his way slowly down the street. His gait looked like that of someone who’d been battered down from the physical toil of a grueling journey through harsh environments. When P.K. caught up to him, he realized that it was Dr. Matatabi!

P.K. was shocked. Ordinarily, Dr. Matatabi, who’s in his 40s, walks with the speed and vigor of a man half his age, unintentionally leaving P.K. in his dust when they’re on Pokémon hunts together. What’s more, he now noticed that his friend had scratches covering his hands and on his face too. “Dude, what happened to you?”, P.K. asked, to which the doctor replied…

“The crows got me.”

Japanese crows are no joke. With larger bodies and beaks than the varieties found in many other countries, they’re arguably closer to ravens, and they’re not particularly intimidated by humans either.

“I was playing Pokémon GO, and all of a sudden I felt something whack me on the back of my head, like someone had hit me with a rolled up magazine,” Dr. Matatabi told P.K. “I thought maybe it was one of my Pokémon GO friends who hadn’t expected to run into me here and was trying to surprise me as they said hello, but when I turned around there were two crows in my face, hitting me with their wings. Then they started going for my eyes with their beaks.”

It was like they were trying to kill me, so I knew I had to get away,” Dr. M continued. “I started shouting at them and took off running, but I tripped and fell, which is how I cut my hand. While I was down on the ground, they took advantage of the opportunity and went on the offensive again, scratching up my head with their talons. I managed to get back on my feet and kicked one of them away, but the other one didn’t seem to care one bit, and kept right on slashing at me.”

“I didn’t want to turn my back on it, so I kept my eyes on it while I backed away,” Dr. Matatabi explained, and with that he was finally able to put enough distance between himself and the birds that they ceased their assault. “But isn’t that freaky? I hurt my leg too so I have to hobble along like this. They really jacked me up.”

▼ Dr. Matatabi also shared his experience through his Twitter account

Since we haven’t been able to speak with the crows who were involved, we can’t be completely certain about their motive, but we have a pretty solid hunch. The Sapporo government has recently put out warnings to be careful around crows in the city. The birds are coming to the end of their egg-laying season, which can result in increased aggressive and territorial behavior.

▼ “If I’ll try to eat an abandoned kitten, you better believe I’ll absolutely wreck a Pokémon GO player.”

So the lesson here, once again, is to never take “Beware of crows” warnings lightly in Japan.

Top image ©SoraNews24
Insert images: Pokémon GO screenshot, SoraNews24, Wikimedia Commons/Accipiter, Pakutaso
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[ Read in Japanese ]