Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Creepy Crawlies - Japanese Style

Okay, so I would have to say that I have grown up catching lizards, frogs and various bugs with my Dad. One would think he kind of wished for a son. During the summer months and over Christmas (summer in Australia), there are plenty of things to catch in a bug catcher, the favourite toy for Santa to leave when I was young. At times we would even catch the deadly redback spider in a jam jar. I remember one time, Dad found a nest and caught several. Over the next few weeks, we watched the female devour each and every male in the jar.

Australia is pretty impressive when it comes to creepy crawlies and deadly things but Japan is far superior. I have a list of things I like and things I loathe. The top two creatures that make it on my loathe list are cockroaches (gokiburi) that fly and their closely related cousin, the boat insect (funamushi). Funamushi live on the stone beaches in their thousands. They scuttle and run all over the place. If you stand still long enough, they even run up your leg. Most of the time thankfully, they run away from you.

My few favourites include, frogs in varying sizes, butterflies as big as birds, lizards and cicada (semi). Tonight, at my English class, we ended up catching a few intruders. Firstly, Takana San came inside grasping a cicada in his hand. He proceeded to let it go and fly around the room. After about 15 minutes, it was caught again and I put it on my own finger. It seemed to snuggle down and didn't want to go anywhere (it was actually hard to get off).

Tanaka San is fast. He and his grandson, Yuuki, love catching anything that scuttles. I thought I would set him a new challenge. I had been watching a type of gekko climbing the window outside. I asked him to catch it for me at I like them. Dad and I usually catch lizards bare handed so I was surprised when Tanaka San put on some gardening gloves. He arrived back inside about 2 minutes later clutching the pretty lizard. Its big googling eyes peered at me as I stroked its back. Quite cute really.

Just a small warning, don't put your finger anywhere near its mouth - it will not let go!!! Here it is fiercely biting the gloved hand that holds him.

Oh, and this is Yuuki. He is holding his pet ushigaeru (cow frog). It is like a bull frog. It croaks like a cow moos. He is often in trouble and likes to get into mischief (Yuuki not the frog). We have lots of fun trying to communicate with each other. The frog is tethered. It has a large rope loosly tied around its belly so it can play freely in the garden and swim in the pond. Yuuki only has to find the rope and follow it to the end to find his frog.

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