posted Jul.19.18 at 12:00 am

Roaches are gross, (no one would ever) fite me

Also, the first bug should hopefully be obvious as a praying mantis, of which I encountered a good few in the spring, but the second bug isn't as well known.  It's meant to be a kamikirimushi (Wikipedia calls this a Longhorn Beetle; the Japanese name seems to mean "hair-cutting bug" afaik).  Unlike gross scuttly cockroaches, they're your pretty average loping beetles with some wicked cool antennae.  I found them super cute.

There were some other notable insects to mess with while I was there; probably the most notorious abroad is the Japanese Giant Hornet.  I only had one encounter with one, which thankfully maintained its distance--I was doing archery at my local shrine (a story for another day) when one wandered in to the open-faced building and hung around the one light fixture.  It stayed around there for maybe twenty minutes or so.  They are pretty freaky and definitely not something I'd handle without, like, plate armor.  I've seen documentaries featuring this thing so I knew they were around, but something I didn't expect was the sound they make when they fly.  Everyone's probably familiar with the mildly annoying buzz of a wasp, but apparently when you make a normal wasp two inches long it makes more of a loud low hum, like a mini prop plane.  It's pretty unnerving IMO.

I was also surprised to realize that most of the people I encountered didn't know the difference between a butterfly and a moth.  Basically, if they saw any dull-colored butterfly or mothlike insect, they would assume it's a moth.  But for those of you that don't know, butterflies are almost exclusively active in the day, and moths are mostly active at evening and night.  So of course, any that wandered into the classroom were pretty obviously butterflies.  (There are some other ways to identify them, the easiest being to look at their antennae, but the ones that sometimes got in during the summer and spring were very clearly butterflies, just brown-colored ones.)  And for some reason, it seems that Japanese people have a disdain for moths, despite the existence of creatures like rosy maple moths giving us something close to a case for a kind and loving god.  So, whenever one of these flew in, I was on bug duty and gently escorted the butterflies back outside while the rest of the class cowered.  I don't know if this specific hatred for moths is a big thing in Japan, but I was a bit confused.  Japanese people don't seem to like bugs in general, though for some reason they have a great fondness for big beetles like rhinocerous and stag beetles.  (To be fair, those are some pretty good bugs.)

Japanese children found my affinity for bugs horrifying.  I found their horror amusing. And so it goes.