Another year, another Summer, they are back bigger stronger and meaner than ever
You know that the Summer is truly here once the rainy season ends in Japan not only does the temperature soar to 36- 38 degrees everyday, that’s not the worst of it for us fathers over here in Japan. The worst is when the children hear the first sounds of the cicada screaming their lungs out trying to attract a mate for the very first time this Summer.
Come 6:00 in the morning, when you hear the piercing noise for the first time, sends a shiver down your spine knowing that in a few minutes time a little boy will be jumping on your bed, you close your eyes hoping to get a few more minutes sleep, when you hear the thudding of foot steps on the floor racing towards you, then thump a 20 kilogram boy as just landed on the middle of your back and you hear the joyous laughter and then the words ” Daddy, daddy, cicadas wake up, wake up.” You let out a large breath, you know you’re done, you open your eyes and say “it’s still early go back to bed.” You see his grin staring straight back at you, for him this is as good as his birthday or Christmas.
You roll over and let out a big fake snore hoping this would deter him but he’s too witty for you and he’s not going to give in that easily. He searches for your weakness, goes to the base of the bed gets your foot and tickles it, anything but the feet, you burst out laughing trying to get away from those treacherous hands. You sit up look at him and say “ok I’m up , you win”. He gets up and runs back to his bedroom.
You move to the kitchen, turn the kettle on and wait for it to boil. You get the newspaper and take it to the balcony, you listen to the screeching noise of the cicadas and wonder who is going to be the winner is that cicada going to catch his mate and live the best two days of his life or will your son be the winner, having the cicada first wrapped in his net and then clenched in his hands so it can’t fly away before being stuffed into a plastic case.
Within a few minutes your son appears fully dressed with his net in one hand and the case in the other wanting to go outside. You look at the watch it reads 6:15.On any other day you’d be sound a sleep but not this day and not any other day for the next few weeks.
The cicadas in Japan are huge, the biggest I have ever seen and for about 3 to 4 weeks from late July they are everywhere. Japanese kids and some adults love insects, not just cicadas but beatles and other insects too. Some Japanese pay 1000’s of dollars for some beatles.One Japanese breeder once sold a stag beetle for $89,000 to a pet shop.
Not all insects are loved though, the dreaded cockroach is still dreaded here and you won’t see a child with a net then, but with a newspaper, or shoe trying to whack that cockroach into its misery.