bugs

We order a bag of cicadas from China and eat them, because summer 【Taste Test】

Some things are inseparable from a Japanese summer: fireworks festivals, face-melting heat and humidity, young men and women awkwardly courting in yukata, and of course the deafening roar of cicadas. Here, the vociferous critters just provide the soundtrack to summer, but did you know that in some places, they are on the summer menu too?

Our intrepid Japanese reporter Ponkotsu did and he sent off to the cicada-producing center of Lishui in China’s Zhejiang Province for a bag of bugs to taste test.

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Everyone loves convenience stores in Japan, even the locusts 【Photos】

After a relatively cool and dry July (by local standards), the Japanese summer has unleashed the full fury of the heat and humidity it’s known for. If you’re out and about in the middle of the day, it won’t be long until you find yourself looking for a cold drink to help stave off thirst and dehydration.

Luckily, Japan has convenience stores just about everywhere, and even better, they’re air-conditioned! On the downside, it’s not just frail humans who’re drawn to these oases of coolness, but also swarms of uncomfortably hot locusts, as these photo from rural Japan show.

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Better than mosquito repellent – The most eco-friendly (and spiritual) way to repel pests in Japan

There’s no need to use toxic substances to kill off unwanted insects in Japan, because there’s a much more eco-friendly method they’ve been using for hundreds of years. Although it may not be scientifically proven, many people feel this is still the best way to get rid of everything from garden aphids to mosquitoes. And if the method has endured for centuries, it must be at least somewhat effective right?

This uniquely Japanese insect repellent is far cheaper than commercial insecticides, easier to implement, and you only have to use it once a year in spring or early summer. And the best part? It involves Japanese sake!

What’s the secret? We’ll let you know after the jump.

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Why squash bugs when you can trap them in this cool vacuum gun?

Humidity-loving bugs are just as much a part of a Japanese summer as fireworks festivals and barley tea. Dealing with the creepy crawly intruders in your home isn’t always easy, though, especially if you’ve got an aversion to touching them. Sure, you can use bug spray instead of doing the dirty work of squashing them yourself, but you’ll still have to use your hands to pick up the carcass and dispose of it after the poison takes effect.

Luckily, though, your options aren’t entirely limited to sharing your living space with bugs or touching them, in the form of this bug-sucking vacuum gun.

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Imported repellants no match for super-strength Chinese mosquitoes, experts say

The best advances in technology aren’t always digital. I know summers have become much more tolerable since countries like the U.S. and Japan started upping their mosquito repellant game. And since mosquitos are something we can all agree are annoying no matter where you go, it’s not particularly surprising to hear other countries like China have started arming themselves with imported repellants to fight off these pesky blood-suckers.

But what is surprising is that, according to recent headlines, buyers of imported mosquito repellants on China’s Taobao Marketplace say that these repellants are no match for Chinese mosquitoes! So we have to wonder, what exactly makes these Chinese mosquitoes so tough?!

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Japanese company’s full-body mosquito net jumpsuits: For when all the bug spray just isn’t enough

Japan gets incredibly muggy in the summer. For many people, the worst part about the soaring humidity is the way it makes them constantly sweat, but for me, the bigger issue is always the mosquitos. Right now, I’m sitting pretty with a relatively low count of only two large, itchy bug bites, but summer is just getting started, and I’m sure I’ll have many more before the seasons is done.

But no matter how much bug replant you spray on, there’s just no way to completely keep mosquitos off your skin, right? Actually, it turns out there is one foolproof method: slipping into one of these full-body mosquito net jumpsuits.

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Get rid of bugs and score points with Japanese women in one fell swoop with the ami-ton maneuver

Not too long after we started dating, my wife and I were walking through a seaside park, hand-in-hand. The sun was shining and the mood relaxing and romantic. Just as I took a deep breath of the sweet ocean breeze, though, an insect landed on my wife’s arm, causing her to scream, recoil in horror, and practically pull my shoulder out of its socket.

And that’s how I found out she really hates bugs.

She’s not alone in that regard, either, as a recent poll of women in Japan found that more than half are too terrified to face their creepy crawly adversaries head-on, and also revealed a suave kabe-don wall pound-like move guys can do to score points with the ladies.

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Eww, what’s that on your ear?! “Kimo-kawa” bug jewellery’s totally in right now!

Kimo-kawa“, or kimo-kawaii, is a particularly interesting little Japanese oxymoronic phrase which means “gross-cute“. And it perfectly sums up these totally disgusting stag beetle earrings from wacky retailer Village Vanguard…

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Island off Hiroshima coast slowly being eaten away by millions of insects

You’ve probably heard of Battleship Island before, the small abandoned island off of Nagasaki that looks like a battleship from afar and a zombie wasteland up close. It’s on its way to becoming a UNESCO world heritage site, which will bring in more tourists and help with its preservation.

But while Battleship Island gets its moment in the limelight, other abandoned islands around Japan are having a pretty tough time. Take Hoboro Island off the coast of Hiroshima for instance. It was once a decent-sized island known for pearls and oysters, but now it spends its days mainly being eaten away by millions of bugs and slowly sinking into the sea.

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Can you find the image hidden behind these bugs?

This lovely artwork of bugs and slugs is hiding something, but can you tell what it is? Take a good long look, and then if you really can’t figure it out then you can find the answer below!

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Japan is home to the cutest bug in the world, but they’re on the verge of extinction

Yes, you read that right: A cute bug! Well, that is up to debate, but it is definitely not as a gross as other bugs, like that hand-sized spider I had in my house that one time…

Because of the way they hover and their fuzzy bodies, these cute little fellas kind of look like a cross between a hummingbird and a bee. Their long mouth/noses resemble those of a nasty mosquito, but the fact that they are barely 10mm long (approximately the length of the first part of your pinkie finger) and harmless pollinators make them really people-friendly. Join us after the jump as we meet arguably the world’s most affable insect: the Tiger Bee Fly.

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Festive cockroach crackers are on their way to help get the party started in Japan

Japan works hard for most of the year, but right now, it’s party time across the nation. With the holiday’s secular, stylish image, many people get together with friends for Christmas parties, not to mention end-of-the-year and beginning-of-the-year parties with both coworkers and private acquaintances.

And what more festive way to get the party going than with a party cracker? You know, one of those shiny paper cones that, when you pull its cord, emits a shower of confetti…or, in the case of one new design, a colony of cockroaches.

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Thai schoolgirl invents eco-friendly method of roach disposal using 3 simple ingredients

One thing we can probably all agree on is that cockroaches are gross and disgusting. They stink, they fly at your face and they can make you sick. They must be exterminated, but not everybody enjoys breathing in the noxious fumes from aggressive sprays, nor do they enjoy handling toxic poisons. So what’s left? Drown the suckers? They can survive in water for around 30 minutes. Suffocate them? They can live without air for 45 minutes. Chops their heads off? They’ll just keep on scurrying. Luckily, a high school girl in Thailand has come up with an all-natural non-violent method of disposing of the icky invaders. All you’ll need is flour, cement powder, and… malted milk powder?

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A tiny coffee stand in Japan is selling some of the most lifelike gummy bugs we’ve ever seen

The Japanese have long been known for their dexterousness. From origami to bonsai to precision engineering, Japan does small and detailed incredibly well. One thing we had no idea they were so good at, however, was gross.

What you see in the above photo, dear reader, is not in fact a trio of insect larvae but delicious, blueberry-filled gummy bugs. And they’re making one little coffee stand in northwest Japan very famous.

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It’s all about the isopod – Company pushes gifts and fashion featuring weird, sexy marine bugs

In Japan, where the market for character-based merchandise is intensely competitive, it’s not always easy to predict what’ll take off. Sure, it was easy to see Hello Kitty and Pikachu coming, since either one could serve as the accompanying illustration for the definition of “adorable” in the dictionary, but who’s going to be the next big star?

There’s a new dark horse entry to the character goods arena, with one company hoping Japanese consumers’ ravenous hunger for all things kawaii will lead them to embrace something so ugly it just might be cute, in the form of T-shirts, notebooks, and purses all featuring the humongous marine bug called the giant isopod.

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Fear Factor meets Next Top Model in China’s modeling competition extravaganza

Modeling is a tough business. You need the body, the face, and perhaps the most difficult thing to achieve: the walk. All the top models must combine these three components perfectly. In an industry that is so difficult to break into, a reality TV competition where the winners are whisked off to Italy for a potential professional modeling career could be just the chance an aspiring model is looking for! But these contestants will have to show off more than just their good looks to win this competition. What do these model wannabes have to do to prove their worth for this Chinese TV show? It might just bug some people.

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Gigantic aquatic insect found in China has record-setting wingspan, possibly anal spray

Back in college, when it came time to pick an upper-level science class to get my general education credits, I settled on a class in entomology, aka bug science. The fact that it started at 10 a.m., instead of my other options at 8, played a big factor in the decision, but it actually turned out to be a really interesting course with an excellent teacher.

On the first day of class, the professor told us that one of his goals was to help dispel our socially-ingrained yet illogical fear of insects, arachnids, and all other sorts of creepy crawlies that I’ve since forgotten the scientific names of. If you can get past the knee-jerk, “Eew gross!” reaction many people have to, say, a beetle, you’ll find that holding one in your hands isn’t any more likely to give you a rash or a disease than a rabbit or hamster.

And yet, I still find myself terrified to hear that the world’s largest aquatic insect was just discovered in China.

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Taiwanese woman’s battle with cockroach ends with video game-style explosion

For most of us, killing a cockroach is about the closest we’ll come to a real-life video game boss fight. As soon as one appears, you know there’s no point in negotiating, and the only option is to throw everything you have at it.

For one woman in Taiwan, her struggle with a roach followed video game logic to the very end, as after she killed her adversary an explosion occurred. Instead of destroying an evil overlord’s castle, though, it simply ruined her office toilet.

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Rumors of ‘horned cockroaches’ in Japan continue to attract believers, terrify us, and be false

Japan has sort of a love-hate relationship with bugs. On one hand, there’s a trio of insects that are seen as nostalgic symbols of summer. Dragonflies are a popular motif on yukata summer kimono, the whining of cicadas is an immediate audio cue that brings back memories of the lazy days of summer vacation, and catching stag beetles has been a popular pastime during the warmer months for generations of Japanese kids.

On the other hand, cockroaches are universally hated, because, well, they’re cockroaches.

With such strongly contrasting emotions involved, it’s understandable that rumors persist of a cockroach/stag beetle hybrid, something which caught the nation’s attention again recently after someone in Japan claimed to have caught one.

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Food art so cool you don’t want to eat it, but mmm…pancakes!!!

Food, although mostly delicious, doesn’t always look beautiful. But what if food that was tasty also looked cool? Something as simple as the humble pancake, always delicious, was turned into some pretty wicked art by a few artistic chefs on the Internet. It’s definitely making us impressed and hungry!

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