I awakened yesterday morning knowing there was a stink bug in my room. That particularly pungent and unpleasant distinctive odor was unmistakable. It is a mystery to me how these flying, brown beetle-like insects manage to get indoors but; get in they do. As a rule they only emit that odious stench when either threatened or killed so I’m guessing he must have been in an ornery mood. I got out of bed with some trepidation thinking he might actually have been on the blankets. As it turned out though, he (or possibly she), was striding manfully (bugfully) across the floor. As I said though, you cannot simply squash them without incurring an olfactory assault: I had to be careful. Fortunately they seem oblivious to the presence of humans so it is easy to trap them with an inverted drink glass. Gently slide a postcard underneath the glass and you have the little bugger trapped and ready for disposal outdoors.
Stink bugs are not the most pernicious of insects found in Japan though. In September one of the senseis at my school was bitten in her sleep by a large centipede that is known to be very aggressive, and her wrist was crimson-red and swollen for more than a week. There is also a bee (possibly benign but nonetheless intimidating), that is at least twice as large as any bee I have seen in Canada.
The most beautiful and elegant insect I’ve seen in Japan, is a large and jet-black dragonfly. It’s four wings, which are more or less shaped like a tongue depressor, look more like those of a butterfly than those of the dragonflies we see in North America.
The “100 Yen” (about $1.00 CDN), stores in Japan are impressive. Everything really does cost just 100 yen and, as is the case everywhere in Japan, there is no additional tax. School supplies, food, clothing, kitchen ware, cleansers and cleaning supplies, hardware, blank CDs and DVDs, cosmetics, linen and much more are available. I love shopping there and they make the Canadian “Dollar Stores” seem expensive by comparison. I’d say there is nothing quite like it except that I’ve been told that the only “100 Yen” store not in Japan is in Vancouver. If true, I hope Vancouverites are taking full advantage of it.