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The Word On: Japan

Posted by on September 5, 2011
Guest Poster, Nicki, shares her experiences with Japanese “pets”.

Land of the Rising Sun, Part 2


In Japan a rhinoceros beetle is a pet. Crawfish are as well, but that is another story, and I don’t have to panic until next Mardi Gras…

You have to take a week long class here that encompasses an Area Orientation Brief and Intercultural Relations. The AOB is one day, and it is every conceivable organization talking at you for 10 minutes each, and it lasts one whole day. I liked most of it…anyhoo. ICR is the rest of the week, so there is a little downtime between the subjects and the class chats to pass the time. The class was filled with officer and enlisted folks, some family members and one teen taking the class as a prerequisite to getting a driving license. One of the men in the class is returning for another 3 year tour. He is married to a Japanese national and they have a 5 year old little girl. Since his daughter is attending a Japanese school and they go almost year-round, the Summer break is a big deal. The teachers sometimes give one beetle to each kid. The kids are to get a mate and raise little beetles…good luck or something.

When he was talking with his daughter about the beetle at their house, one of his incredible kind Japanese neighbors overheard and showed up early the next morning with a container of 5 more. The neighbor had caught them and was presenting them as a gift to be a good neighbor. This kind of incredible giving and generous behavior is typical here…so cool. Upon hearing the story, I tried to be nice and must have said something to the effect that I love these new things and customs, how interesting, your daughter must love bugs…you get the point.

What do I get the next day, but a plastic container full of beetles eating a big ear of corn and crawling around. These buggies are 4 times the size of a New Orleans roach and have HUGE horns. But really?!?! A bucket of bugs. Well the boys were thrilled!. Shep was convinced that the giant one was waving to him while he went to the bathroom. He reached right in and petted them and said how fun and cute they were.

Now the container was a plastic square tub, about the size of a shoebox with holes in the top and it has wheels…wheels?? What could you possibly put in there that would require rolling? But that is not the point. After we got issued our dehumidifiers, I noticed that the bugs were moving less and that their shells did not look as shinny. After using my amazing scientific skills I figured out that it was too dry for them, so we had to let them go. Since they are VERY strong, we could not pick the off the corn cob, so we gently scooped them onto big spoons so they would slide off. We let them go in the yard, and I thought Shep would cry. He did get sad and talk to them about a better place to play and more stuff to do out there…what a cutie.

The moral of the story – say “that is nice”; but do not gush over things that you would not like to have happen to you. Oh, and beetles eat corn…who knew!!


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One Response to The Word On: Japan

  1. Amy

    What base are you at? Is it the base policy to issue everyone a dehumidifier?

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