The One Where the Monkey Has an iPhone in a Hot Spring

| Analysis

I don't know what to say about this image, other than lolwut? It's a monkey with an iPhone in a hot spring. In Japan. Well, of course it's in Japan. Where else would a monkey have an iPhone in a hot spring, but look!


Hey! That monkey has an iPhone in that hot spring!

Is it real? It looks real, but it could be Photoshopped. It's been sweeping the Interwebs for a couple of days, and to my knowledge it was brought to life by Japanese site Yukawa (Google Translate).

From that translation:

Monkey, is it not? Have to play around a smartphone certainly what. And so that it does not properly Hitakara in hot water, where you have (?) Carefully really nice. I wonder if he knows that "communication equipment" to play this machine. By the way, the line is connected, of course if that it is a thing this is picked up, then it is possible that there is an incoming call. Trend of dive is easy to imagine in the hot water in surprise and probably ... After you arrive at this point if.

Yeah, that's helpful, but the picture is awesome. We've examined it in its larger form as carefully as we could. We can't tell if it's genuine, so let's just go with the idea that it is, because a world where a monkey can enjoy his iPhone in a hot spring is so much more fun than a world where he is denied that pleasure.

For bonus points note the racist tweets that Yukawa highlighted where people speculate that it's not a monkey, but rather a Japanese person in the photo. I'd like to remind our readers not to be that guy.

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Most definitely real.

Background: Japanese snow monkeys spend a lot of time in some very famous hot springs, notably at Hell’s Valley Park near Nagano, where they’re a popular tourist attraction. These monkeys love shiny things—especially tech left unattended by the tourists.

Rough translation: “Isn’t that a monkey with a phone? Yep! Such things don’t work well in hot water, so he’ll have to be careful with it. We wonder if he knows it’s a communication device. If it rings, he’s likely to drop it… and you can guess the consequences.  We hope the owner retrieved the phone in working order.”

I’d love someone with better knowledge of Japanese to provide a more proper translation.

Lee Dronick

I wonder if the monkey took the iPhone from someone’s stuff that was at the edge of the hot spring. Or perhaps the photographer gave the monkey a prop phone in the hope of getting a photo such as this.


One monkey may not stop the show, but he can certainly dominate the Twittersphere if he’s holding an iPhone.

On the other hand, he could be just making a statement, that no, bananas are not a monkey’s favourite fruit, it’s Apple; or perhaps he just watched Kubrick’s 2001 a space odyssey and thought, ‘Oh, I know where I can touch a mini-monolith’. If we start seeing monkeys on the moon, we’ll know where it all started.

Lee Dronick

Wab95, this could be how Planet of the Apes will begin. smile



I was going to make just that comment, together with a list of other possibilities, but thought to go with the ‘one small scroll for monkey, one giant leap for monkey-kind’ riff, instead. 

It would be an interesting experiment, however, to put the monkeys in a spring where they could regulate the water temperature with an app, and give them an iPhone (waterproof casing, of course), teach one how to use it and then sit back and observe. Behavioural scientists could probably envision a string of experiments centred around smartphone apps, and get up to a fair amount of monkey business in their own right.

Lee Dronick

Siri responded with “Get your hands off of me you damned dirty ape!”

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