Saturday, June 25, 2005

Welcome to the Jungle

This kid is straight buggin' yo!

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Ah, summer. Warm weather. Watermelon. Bugs the size of small animals!

One of the great things about my elementary schools is that they raise monster-size beetles as pets and play things for the students. You can't imagine the joy this brings me when, upon arriving at school, my overly-excited students try to introduce me to their beloved beetles. Instinct tells me to scream and run in the opposite direction, which the kids interpret as their cue to chase me around with the above mentioned beetles until I am rescued by a sympathetic teacher (rarely) or a game of dodgeball! Fun fun fun! The fun never ends! (Note: This picture was taken at full zoom, which with my little camera didnt keep me far away enough.)

I can run, but I can't hide.

As the days grow warmer, the many insects that inhabit this island exponentially increase in size, strength and number! Last week after returing from a hard day of beetle-fleeing at the biggest elementary school in Ena, I heard Colin shout, dash up the stairs and knock on my door in the span of about 3 seconds! Some kind of mischief was obviously afoot. I opened the door to a shaken shadow of a man who informed me that a mukade was attempting to invade his apartment, humbly requesting my assistance.

For those of you who are not familiar with Japan, you'll discover the opposite of a pleasant surprise when you visit during the warmer seasons. Japan is not only home of the fearless samurai and mysterious geisha, but to a massive, poisonous centipede called the mukade, known to grown up to 17 cm in length and kill small children and elderly people with a single bite! For someone who has a many-legged-bug-phobia ( that would be me), mukade are the epitome of evil. Not only are they the size of small puppies, but they move with a disturbing amount of speed.

By the time I descended to the battlefield, the creature had taken cover under a large piece of cardboard. When Colin flicked it away, what apeared to be a small black snake with spiny red legs and pinchers scurried out, sidewinding its way to Colin's door. Frozen with fear I watched as it tried to squeezed itself underneath the crack of the door. For a moment it was stuck before it disappeared. We stood in horror.

Me: Holy crap! Its in your apartment! You gotta open the door!

C: What? are you crazy? I aint goin' in there!

Me: You gotta! You gotta get it before it disappears and attacks you when your sleeping!

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This is just an example of what we were dealing with, although ours was much longer! Mukades enjoy hiding in and under people's futons, wreaking havoc on unsuspecting gaijin and inflicting severe pain.

When Colin finally mustered enough courage to open the door, the mukade clung to a crevice carved out of the door jam. We knocked it out with a long piece of cardboard (where is all this cardboard coming from?) and, having cleared the path, Colin made a weapon run into his apartment. He emerged weilding a small knife he had gotten as a gift from Nepal, and like a true insecta-soldier, began hacking away at the little monster samurai-style. It actually made noises as blood and chunks muscle (?) squirted out from the slashes in its black armor, but continued its frantic retreat unphased (like the dark knight in Search for the Holy Grail: None shall pass!).

I remembered my teacher had told me that mukade are impossible to kill unless you cut them completely in half, like, with scissors (which her young son enjoys immensly) or pour boiling hot water on them. I relayed this information to a sweaty and tiring Colin, whos vengence would not rest. He continued haking away as the doomed devil scrambled across the pavement, leaving a trail of black blood in its wake. Finally he flicked the wounded beast into the overgrown jungle infront of his stoop.

Time: between 4 - 5:30 PM.

Curious cat that he is, Colin went back out at 11:30 PM to make sure it was dead. Unfortunately, it was still moving. Needless to say, I immediately invested in a special white powder that promises to repel mukade if you sprinkle it all around your home.

On the plus side of this whole summer jungle story, I have a newfound fondness for frogs! Super-cute little frogs are hoppin' around all over the place! Look how cute and little he is! Not the boy, the frog on his finger tip!

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Lindizzy said...

Holy crap! I don't know what I'd do if I saw that thing crawling anywhere near me...I like screamed when I saw that picture, how freaky! That is gonna give me nightmares just thinking about it... I hope your magic powder works!

Melissa said...

Yeah, I was basically useless as far as back-up goes. I'm not ashamed to say that I screamed many times in the course of the encounter. Magic powder, so far so good! I know it Sounds a little Jack-n-the-beanstalk-ish, but I think its made from beans...magic beans!

Mom said...

Holy crap, is right! Better you and Colin than me. Sorry.

I enjoyed this adventure immensely. I laughed my heart out, although it is certaining a scarry thought to see the picture, let alone be bit by a centipede-like creature. I hope you also purchased some white powder to put around your apartment and building.

I Love your writings and adventures. Wish I was there!

dad said...

great story !melissa san hope I never run into bugs like that

the golfer!

Aunt Carm said...

I really enjoyed your pictures and definitely your story on the centipede. You can have them, I don't want them. Look forward to reading more. Hope all is well with you. Love and prayers are with you.

Damian and Lisa bought a home in Brunswick. Moved in this past weekend.

Love You,
Aunt Carm

Joel Alfaro said...

That is truly a scary being, but I am equally grossed out by frogs.