こわい, kowai is Japanese for scary. Not to be confused with かわいい, kawaii, cute. Sometimes I have to ask to make sure I heard the word correctly. Sometimes there no doubt such word was used. When referring to these:
the word is kowai. Scary. Mukade. Ugh. I hate these things. In some ways they still scare the crap out of me. In some ways, they’re no big deal…just part of life in the inaka. When you open the front door and one falls on your arm, as this one did, it scares the crap out you. Sets the heart racing and the adrenaline pumping.
I found a tiny baby crawling on the curtain beside my desk today. I convinced it to crawl onto a piece of paper so I could take it outside and when I watched it crawl onto a leaf, I saw another tiny baby, so of course I grabbed my camera. No matter how many times I see them, there’s something about tiny mantis babies. They’re so cute.
And, as a bonus, check out what I won from a claw machine:
Sometimes I’m happy that the warm(ish) weather has lasted well into November this year. Other times I wish we’d get that first freeze to send some of these critters away.
The air may be getting cooler, but my kids are still out catching bugs every chance they get. This afternoon, one of them stopped by my window to show me the “baby kamakiri” he caught. I had no idea what he was talking about until I got a look inside his bug box.
Apparently, kamakiri is Japanese for mantis. I wouldn’t call this Inge a baby either. It wasn’t as big as some I’ve seen, but not as small as some babies I’ve seen.
One of the things I really like about the Japanese educational system is the fact that there are no janitors. Students, teachers and staff are responsible for keeping the school and grounds clean. My area of responsibility is sweeping the hallway downstairs.
Today, while sweeping in front of the book shelves, I found this with one leg stuck under a book:
I don’t know how long it was there, but long enough that it was dead. I was still impressed by how big it was.
Normally this time of year means a constant battle to keep the spiders away from our front door. Above the door is way too close to being inside and they can’t live there. This year it’s been exceptionally wet, so we have about a dozen frogs living outside the door and they eat the spiders and bugs. And they’re cute. And they live in the pepper plants. This is the little guy that was in the plant when I got home today.
Tiny. Cute. Sings with a huge voice. Eats bugs and spiders. I love them.
Today, during the morning cicada hunt, I found a huge butterfly. Unfortunately, it was dying, but the kids were fascinated by it and all of them wanted to touch it.
We have so many little bugs around this time of year. It seems like everyday I see some new tiny cute little bug hanging around. Today it was a grasshopper hanging out in the entry way where we keep our shoes. He stuck around long enough for me to get a couple of close ups before he took off.
Today I had a visitor at my desk. I convinced her to climb onto a tissue and turned her loose in a flower bed outside my door.
This is the second mantis I’ve released back into the wild. This one is quite small, but I hope to see some big ones as the summer progresses.
I took this picture from a parking garage at a shopping center. All the green you see are rice fields. Rice fields are everywhere. It’s been really interesting to watch the whole process, from flooding the fields to planting the tiny shoots. We’ll watch them harvest this fall. The only drawback to rice planting season is that the mukade come out to play.
This might be the most awesome hat we’ve seen yet. Japanese children catch these bugs and keep them as pets. Definitely not the kind of pet I want, but hat was kind of funny.
We went to an Earth Day festival at Kamiyama Shinrin Park. It was reminded me a bit of being in South Austin…very hippy-granola. The best part of the festival was this Thai Ramen. It was absolutely incredible and quite possibly the best ramen I’ve had yet.
A new kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi) place called Hamazushi opened in Ishii (the nearest larger town). They have the best chocolate cake I’ve had here in Japan. It’s awesome. The sushi is good too, but the cake. Oh man.
These are plums our neighbor gave us. They were delicious…the skins were a little sour, but the fruit was very sweet. He also gave us several huge white onions. This is one of the perks of living in the inaka…great produce grown by the people in our town.
I love origami. Unfortunately, so does Manmaru. He stole all of the pieces I had done before he arrived and killed them. I made him a bunch of frogs to play with. These hop if you press down on the back. I make them hop and then Manmaru pounces on them. It’s a great game.
I love the fact that the mantis is so common here. During the summer, we see them all over the place. This is the first one we’ve seen this year. Such cool creatures.
Manmaru and I enjoy spending evenings on the balcony. He rolls in the dirt and chases bugs. Occasionally I have to rescue tiny baby frogs from him. They’re really cute little things. This guy was a little exhausted after fighting off the monster cat. After resting for a little while, he hopped away. They breed in the rice fields around our apartment and we are serenaded by their songs every night.
Usually, Manmaru bounces off the walls when Brandon is home. Sometimes, Manmaru settles down for some good snuggle time with Brandon. Usually, snuggle time also means nap time.
He’s a cat, so of course Manmaru loves a good box. This one was his favorite until he destroyed it. Then Brandon gave him a new one just like the old one and that one became the new favorite. These boxes are perfect for diving into and pushing around the apartment.
Manmaru decided sleeping on a futon is pretty awesome. I’ve been taking pictures of him when I wake up in the morning because he sleeps with such utter abandon. Sometimes he stretches out over as much of Brandon’s side as possible. Sometimes he’s snuggled up to me. Sometimes he’s at my feet. No matter where he falls asleep, he’s cute.
Talk about sleeping with utter abandon. He looks like he doesn’t have a head. It doesn’t look very comfortable, but this is one of his favorite ways to sleep in his bed. It’s kind of ridiculous.
One more Manmaru picture just because. This is another morning picture. I don’t know why he tucks his tail when he sleeps, but he does. He kind of looks like he doesn’t have one. What a strange strange cat.
Just a little bit of what we’ve been up to in June. Sorry for the lack of posting.
Next up: postcards, rock gardens, and more randomness.