On the surface, it seems like Japan has four seasons. However, go into a supermarket and you’ll see the seasons within these main four. At the local mall I pass through once a week, a changing display near the entrance helpfully told me when hay fever season was approaching. As temperatures began to rise, so did the number of water bottles and salty sweets in the display. Then one day, much to my horror, the display switched to nothing but things to help you deal with bugs.
Nothing has prepared me for moving into an old Japanese house with a garden. Since February, almost every month has brought a new creature to deal with. The first was the possibility of bats. Our realtor called in a bat specialist — I call him the Bat Man. He concluded that any bats that resided there were no longer around.
Then in March, we started noticing small, speedy slug-like creatures in parts of the house. I suspected these were baby centipedes. Here’s a tip — don’t google “baby centipedes” if you want a good night’s sleep. But in the end, these turned out to be silverfish.
April showers bring May ferrets. A downpour one afternoon resulted in our next unwanted house guest seeking shelter in the roof rafters. Initially, the panicked scratching we could hear made me think it was a thousand rats. But on closer listening, it sounded like one furry creature. Our realtor called in a pest control group, who trapped the ferret and took it away to be released into the wilds of the Rokko mountain range.
As if on cue, on the first of June, I noticed a lot of flies. Some got trapped and died in the light fixtures. And then there was also the appearance of large jet-black flying ants.
As weather all over the world continues to get more erratic, Kansai itself seems to have developed an additional season — Mother Nature Payback season. In less than two months, the region has been hit by an earthquake, torrential rains, landslides, a heat wave and a typhoon. This has led to an increasing number of bugs seeking refuge in the house.
While we’re not equipped to deal with anything furry and four-legged, we’re prepared for almost anything with more than four legs. As of now, we have four bottles of insect spray — one for flies and mosquitoes, two for cockroaches and one for centipedes. We also have a gadget to pick up the hopefully dead bodies of these creatures from a safe distance. I’d rather not compete with the mall’s display, but until bug season is over — if it ever will be — we are going to have to be prepared. (Samantha Loong)