12 October 2009


Last night George and I saw a large black shadow with legs running around our kitchen. It was a cockroach. George whacked it with a broom. Now it's gone. It's weird how cockroaches can survive a nuclear holocaust but not a broom, the exact reverse of us.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that as a result I don't feel like using the kitchen much for a while. This same exact thing happened to me once in Japan while I was on the JET Program. In August all of the (Western) JET teachers found cockroaches in their apartments and had similar reactions: spend as little time in the apartment as possible, or thoroughly clean and/or spray the apartment and then spend as little time in it as possible. During my previous stay in Japan, there was a cockroach in my spotless homestay mother's home. She fearlessly whacked it with a broom. Later on her friend proudly showed off her "gokiburi hoi hoi," a cardboard trap with a sticky floor that cockroaches (gokiburi) climb into (hoi hoi) and get stuck in and then starve to death. This friend already had 2 dead cockroaches inside. I was grossed out, but the bugs didn't seem to both my homestay mother or her friend at all. I guess distress over bugs is something learned, not inborn. I just don't feel secure in my kitchen for the moment.

Anyway, if you're in Japan and it's August and you have seen a cockroach in your kitchen, don't panic. Cockroaches always show up in August at least once. Then they leave. But go to the nearest Target/ TJMax/ KMart type store and say to someone, "Gokiburi hoi hoi." Buy one and put it under your kitchen sink. Then you can sleep in your futon on the floor again in peace.

Good times.

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