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Monday, October 15, 2012

Three Isaacs

My sons have been for years now wildly into catching bugs. This is a common pasttime for children in Japan, though my sons have persisted at it many summers longer than most of their peers. We have a catch and release program which works well, except for the time they let 38 cicadas out in the living room when I told the boys to release them but was busy talking overseas on the phone and didn't supervise the emancipation. We had cicadas coming out of the drapes for days.

Beetles, huge ones, are the main madness here. We have even (I'm embarrassed to say) purchased exotic beetles and bred them. My husband likes suzumushi best, 'bell-ringing insects' that translates to, and the sound they make is beautifully ethereal.

My sons like the big fighting beetles the most, though this year and last they have been more into catching reptiles and amphibians, so we haven't really had the menagerie of bugs this year that we have in the past.

I myself have fallen in love with a certain kind of beetle named the kamikiri, or paper-cutter, called longhorn beetles in English. Here's the kind I mean:

(Hee hee--see the bandaid. They aren't called papercutters for nothing!)

This one, called the gomadara, is my favorite kind, ever since I kept one for an entire year, through the winter and into the next spring. Every year my sons catch me one and I try to keep it all winter, but they've never lasted that long again.

Last year and the year before we couldn't find a single one of these, because they are agricultural pests and have been sprayed for in this area. This year we found tons of them in all weird color combinations, blue and yellow, and red and green, things we've never seen before, and we wondered if these were mutations from the spraying. But we didn't find a single black and white one.

My sons found me a yellow and black one though, and it seems so healthy that I haven't released it. I've had it for over a month now, and it's doing very well. In fact, it would probably be dead by now in the wild, without me feeding it daily. So I am going to try and keep it all winter. Since it's going to be part of the family, I've named it. Isaac. Because I recently finished a poem that has Isaac, son of Abraham and Sarah, in it. And I realized afterwards that that's the second poem I have with Isaac in it. So, I decided to name my beetle Isaac. So that's three Isaacs.

Isaac squeaks at me when I give him his daily rainshower. Long live Isaac.


Mari said...

Yes, the Japanese passion for collecting insects! I had at least one of those little bamboo cages when I was a kid. One made it into my poem "Kamakura". Thanks for reminding me of this childhood pastime, Jessica. Long live Isaac!

Shawnte said...

My Son also loves insects. The most interesting beetle we've found in this region was an Iron Cross Blister Beetle and it was as vivid as its name.

Jessica Goodfellow said...

Hi Mari,

My dad's amazed because I chase after insects and lizards. I've been known to dump out my makeup into my purse so I can use the makeup case to carry something home to my sons. Now I actually carry a small cage in my purse! I was not like this as a kid myself though. My kids taught me this!

Glad you were that kind of kid though!

Jessica Goodfellow said...

Shawnte, I LOVE your iron cross blister beetle. I hope it makes it into one of your poems!