Thursday, December 01, 2005

Just Plain Weird

When I picked East Shikoku as my first choice for where to go in Japan, part of that was a desire to live in a place where undesirable insects can get into my domicile. I wanted to learn how to deal with that, as it doesn't really come up in winnipeg, except for perhaps the odd fly spider or mosquito. Since coming here I have had to get used to the occasional cockroach coming in under my door or through a space in a window, or the occasional mukade coming up from the tatami or in through a window, as well as a variety of summer bugs which inevitably make their way in. What I have now is an unexplainable infestation. Of what, you ask? Tentoumushi. Ladybugs. I know they are a winter bug here, and I did have a few last year, always one or two hanging around, or sleeping in the corner of the ceiling. I thought they came in through my heater (the aircon on heat setting). This year is a bit more extreme. Two days in a row I have taken thirty+ tentoumushi off of my ceiling. Thirty each day. Where did they come from? I've let it go for the last couple of days, but probably tonight there will be another thirty or so to collect. It wasn't until I had so many, or until I had handled so many, that I realised they have a distinct smell. A very beetle-ish smell at that, kind of like a weak kabuto-mushi kind of smell. There have also been a couple of kame-mushi (turtle-bug) which are a variety of stink bug whose stink is describable as acidic celery, but I know they can only get in my open door or kitchen window.

A lot of bugs come in my kitchen window. It's not so much the window's fault as it is the persimmon tree just outside the window. Bugs like the tree. The tree touches the wall below or above my window. Bugs smell my kitchen. They come in to investigate. (not that my kitchen smells or anything...)

Anyway, I was talking to someone recently who mentioned that they saw on the news that there is a massive ladybug problem this year, and there were pictures of ant-like or cockroach-like black veins of ladybugs on people's walls, and honeybee-like baseball sized clusters of ladybugs in the corners. Ladybugs here seem to be predominantly the black with red spots kind, though you do see the red with black spots from time to time.

In case you are wondering, my apartment was clean before the infestation started, and has stayed reasonably clean for its duration so far. So it's not like they are breeding in something I have left unwashed or something.

The tentoumushi infestation tops this month's charts for weirdness.


At 7:30 p.m. PST, Blogger Smitha said...

Centipedes come up THROUGH THE TATAMI? I don't think I'm going to be able to look at my tatami room quite the same way now...

Good luck on the JLPT, by the way!

At 7:13 p.m. PST, Blogger Fletcher said...

Well, while I haven't actually seen them come up from the tatami with my own eyes, I have been chasing one with chopsticks to put in a bowl of hot water and seen it go down between the tatami. And I have talked to a friend who put down carpet over his tatami so that he could put different furniture in his apartment, and never saw a live one in his apartment again, though he did find dead ones under the carpet. So I put two and two together and it makes sense that they should come in through there.


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