Sunday, July 20, 2008


Not anything interesting going on I'm afraid. School is winding up for the neighborhood kids and the kindergarten. I went to the kindergarten on Friday and took a couple of pictures there.

I think I mentioned last year that a favorite pet of Japanese children is the beetle. The whole science of insects is introduced to Japanese children at a very early age and the kindergarten overflows with bug boxes, nets, aquariums filled with larvae etc. Kids in the neighborhood go out into the forest in this season looking for beetles and I've had children explain to me that the best way to catch a beetle is to leave some sugary syrup on a tree trunk and then come back in the middle of the night or early morning when the beetles are most likely to be feeding. T-shirts abound with characters of beetles printed on them as well as praying mantis, cicadas etc. But by far the most popular are the beetles.

Some parents will be very cooperative in purchasing a beetle (these things are expensive in the stores!) and providing a beetle friendly bug box complete with wood chips a handy hollowed out hunk of wood for sleeping and soft dirt for burrowing. I guess this is where we country folk have an advantage over the city kids. Beetles for free just by exploring the forest. The city kids go to a department store and buy beetles. Seems to me that would take away some of the fun of it. Either way, children are encouraged to study the life cycle of the beetle from egg laying to larvae observation to the birth of an adult beetle. And there are different kinds of beetles and different ways to raise them! And the stores sell beetle food which look much like the sweet jelly desserts that I love so much! I'm always careful I don't buy beetle jellies instead of my own by mistake!

When Takumi was a child we did try our hand at beetle raising for a summer but I took pity on the poor beetle and finally let it go in a nearby park. (not to mention that it wasn't attractive to have on my dining room table.)

The other day at the kindergarten one of the male teachers was handing out beetles to all the little kids that wanted one. The kids were lined up in front of the teacher's aquarium with bug boxes in hand eager to take home a beetle. There must have been at least 30 beetles in the teacher's aquarium!

"Where did you get all these beetles? Did you go out in the forest and catch all these?"

It turns out that the teacher spent the year raising beetles in his yard for the kids! Now that's a dedicated teacher!

And look at me! I amaze myself sometimes that I have actually come so far that I can pick up and pose with a beetle! Their legs/feet are quite scratchy and they tickle as they walk up and down your arm. They also attach themselves to your clothes and don't want to get pulled away so we had a little tug 'o war getting this fellow back to his rightful owner. No thank you. I'll observe the beetles but I don't want to take one home with me!


BrendaLou said...

Ugh! You are brave, Tanya, I don't think I could do it.

artfilstitch said...

Mercy! My skin is crawling..would have to get use to these guys. Wonderful that the children learn about the beetles at an early age.

domesticshorthair said...

Hmmm. I wouldn't have imagined beetles as pets. I guess if I were to have an insect as a pet, a beetle would be the least creepy for me.

Amanda said...

Insects are the most wonderful creatures, quite fascinating. I know when I took my sons on a visit to a zoo they spent most of their time watching the ants. They never kept beetles but did have stick insects for a time.

Sew Create It - Jane said...

I think I'll stick with hamsters ;o) Very interesting though that they keep beetles as pets and I love the dedication of that teacher who raised them in his back garden for the children!

meggie said...

I dont know that I would want a beetle of that size crawling on my skin!

Katie said...

My daughter had some kind of hissing beetles as pets for a while. *shudder*

Marilyn R said...

I think the beetles might be interesting to look at, but I don't think I would want to pick one up!