Sunday, July 15, 2007

mukadelicious fun

So, about a week ago, tsuyu having begun, I was sleeping happily in our little bed - which like all Japanese beds is really just a thin mattress on the floor - with my arm stretched out behind me, when I woke suddenly with a massive stinging pain in my right hand. I dashed from bed to the bathroom, thinking I had cut it, and washed it furiously, only to notice that I had, in fact, no signs of a cut. Closer inspection revealed two tiny little puncture marks on the inside of one finger. So, I tiptoed back to bed, turned on the light, and discovered my new little friend, a vicious little centipede bastard, nestling happily on the edge of my pillow.

So after waking the Delightful Miss E and engaging in the necessary immediate remedies, and after icing my finger for a good ten minutes, I searched the room top and bottom for any sign of any others, and went back to bed.

The picture you see is not of my hand - there's no way I'm that stupid - and the centipede therein is probably twice the size of the bastard that bit me. But that should give you some idea of their ferocity. After 10 minutes of icing, my hand still ached but wasn't too bad. The next day I had to write a 10 page seminar handout, using the same bitten hand, and it was now aching in little shooting pains halfway up to my wrist. Fortunately the ice had worked, and nothing had become swollen or unworkable, so by the end of my seminar everything was fine again (though I was very tired). I still have the lumps from the bite, and I am considerably more cautious in the house now than I was, but on account of that icing it wasn't too bad. Still, it has given me cause to conclude that I now know, without a doubt, the thing I dislike most about Japan:

the stupid insects.

Between stink bugs, massive spiders, hornets, wasps, midges that fly in my mouth when I am riding, dragonflies which fly in my mouth when I am riding, the spiders clustered above our door, and now these horrible multi-legged monsters (called 'mukade' by the locals), Japan has a wider selection of completely evil insect life than I had ever imagined. Between June and October this collection of creepy, stingy, multi-legged grotesquerie is out and about and always in my way, being generally unpleasant, creepy and/or smelly. I never would have thought that, coming from Australia, I would say that I was not expecting an insect assault, but the truth is - insects in urban Australia are scarce and pathetic in comparison to the wide range of nasties on display here, and their sheer abundance.



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