January 16, 2007 12:00 AM

Every January, Members of the House are invited by the Emperor to the Imperial preserves for duck-netting. This year about a dozen MPs came to hunt wild ducks.

Duck-netting in the Imperial preserves is rather a recent invention, probably since around the Meiji Restoration in 1868. For several hundred years before that the Imperial family used falcons or hawks to catch wild ducks.

Trained domesticated ducks are used as decoys to lead the wild ducks in the preserves to a netting canal. We use a scoop-net to catch wild ducks as they try to fly upward from a narrow netting canal. I netted ten wild ducks for the day.

After the hunting, lunch is served. Well, it was some duck meat, though not the ones we caught.