"I thought my Sensei was lying when she said kids in Japan catch bugs for fun. "
--Ezmirelda said in a comment to the last post.
Yes, It's true--kids do catch bugs for fun in Japan. I did, too, when I was a kid. Beetles, lightning bugs, toads, caterpillars, probably other things that have disappeared into the neurological mist. Have I been gone too long, or do kids in America not catch lightning bugs anymore and put them in mayonnaise jars with holes punched in the lids? Let me know about that, would you all? My Japanese friends are under that impression, but I've told them that kids in America catch bugs, too. If I'm wrong on that count, I'll have to 'fess up that my information on America is outdated (let's not get into speculations about how old that implies I am:)
Anyway, here's our beetle, which Cici has creatively named "Kabuto-kun", aka--Mr. Beetle.
Our beetle, as I said, is a boy. Females don't have that big horn on top that gives this species of beetle his common name in English--Rhinoceros Beetle (because of the one big horn on what would be his nose if he had one). The beetles I occasionally used to catch (or, rather, pick off the front screen door) were stag beetles, which they also have over here. Kids catch those, too. Small Stag Beetle, Saw-toothed Stag Beetle--there's really quite a variety, and children as young as kindergarten age can easily identify which is which.
Koshi doesn't mind.
It took me a while to figure out why I have no problem keeping Kabutomushi in the house, but leap into the air and shriek for my dad if there's a cockroach. Same color, roughly the same size....so, why the different reaction? Aha--Speed of movement. Cockroaches are fast little buggers--zipping right across the floor and under the fridge in an eyeblink or two. Kabuto, on the other hand, are *slow*, almost stately in the way they move. And they don't really hide (unless they burrow under the mulch to stay cool in the heat of the day).
The Japanese national addiction to catching bugs is the reason a video game like MushiKing could be the wild success it was here a few years ago (the year my oldest started kindergarten, in fact). Actually, as video games go, MushiKing (King of Beetles) was pretty innocuous--educational, in fact. My kids (and me, too, of course) learned the names of a large number of beetles from all over the world. We used to look up on the map where, for example, the Great Hercules Rhinoceros Beetle was from (Brazil), or the Great Caucasus Rhinoceros Beetle (Indonesia). The game is based on the summer pastime of catching beetles and making the male beetles fight (that's what those splendid horns are naturally for), sort of like cock-fighting. The Kabuto is strong--they can pull something hooked to their horns that outweighs them by quite a bit. My oldest hooked up one of his beetles with a thread to one of his toy trucks--I so wish I had gotten that on video. *Deep sigh*. All the way down the hall, too. That beetle was Rocky!
You can buy a number of species at our local Daiei--which has always made me wonder whether that's OK or not. Turns out--not.
Yappari--figures. I knew there were too many rare-looking bugs coming into Japan to be good for beetle populations. Maybe that's how I can get my kids into environmental activism!
Go catch some bugs--but not from other countries! And let them go so they can breed!
Mata asobou, ne!