The Pókemon country

The first thing I came to know about Japan was the damn long line at immigration / identity check. Maybe that's not entirely fair. The first thing I came to know about Japan are the spiders. The goddamned, big-ass (literally), creepy, multicolor, humongous spiders. You might think I'm kidding and I hope I would be kidding but no, I'm not. There are so many so big spiders that it makes me want to die. They are so huge. Nothing like I've ever seen before. When I told about this to Katsura, my guide at the residency, she just laughed and said: "Oh those aren't big at all!" Oh really? I seriously do not wish to see the ones you'd call big. We have these two guys (or gals) as our neighbors. At first I was happy when I didn't see them, only their webs, but then I realized it's probably better when I do see them. At least then I know where they are.

We also have tinier spiders, though those are still pretty huge. The webs are everywhere, and you're always sort of wondering when a spider is going to topple on you. In Finland (this is how I start like 70% of my sentences in here) we have some random webs in the forest, but if you step in one and it gets into your face, it's just the web. Finnish spiders are tiny and will run away. But with these spiders, if you break their webs, you can never be sure they won't just jump on you and kill you and lay eggs on your fresh carcass. If they would run away, you could hear the stomping. The ground would shake. Like my housemate Charlotte said: "Now you're starting to understand why they invented Pókemon:"

I think spiders have a specific place in Japanese tradition. At least that's what I read from xxxHoLiC. Doumeki became blind after breaking a spider's web. Sorry spiders, some of your webs I might have to break just to get to a great place for photos! Please don't make me blind, my life depends on my ability to see!

We also have some other creepy crawlies. We have white little lizards (gekkos?) that come on the doors at night. We can see their white little bodies through the glass doors, surrounded by the dark. They're actually really cute, I have to say. I wouldn't mind taking one as a pet, but I don't know if it's okay. They'd probably run away. I've also seen a flash of a very colorful tiny lizard but that one ran away very fast too. The other day I was passing a forest and I heard a really loud rustling. I don't even really want to think about what we have in there.

We also have crabs. So many. Most are orange and scuttle about in little back alleys and cisterns and look at me with their funny fake eyes. At first I was creeped out by them but now I think they're kind of funny. The scuttle away so quickly and if I manage to step close enough, they will just freeze and try to give me this fierce look. I don't know if they'd really attack me. I think they just want to be left in peace and there's something comical about the way they panic and run away. And also they make me think about that one episode of 30 Rock where Liz made the crab fight the worm. Classic 30 Rock.

This doesn't mean I wouldn't love Japan, though. I just wish I could go into the forest without getting eaten alive. Plus there are a lot of lovely animals too. The butterflies are also huge and exotic, in so many colors and shapes it seems impossible. 

And we have a DOGE! A real live shiba inu DOGE! It's not in our house but a few houses over. It's sits at the yard, in a leash, and just looks at me. I say "Konnichiwa inu-san!" (yes, I'm that sort of foreigner) and the dog just gives me a stare. It doesn't bark, it doesn't go crazy, it just looks at me for a while. At first I thought it was regal and sort of condescending, because I've understood shibas are kind of like cats, as in stubborn, royal assholes but still sort of perfect. But Katsura told me this particular dog used to be a stray dog that was running around the neighborhood until its current owner took it in. So maybe it's just of tired or sad. Or maybe just really good dog. I wish I could pet it. It's seriously gorgeous, with bright orange fur and a teddy bear face. And it has such a tragic story and I just want to give it a million hugs!


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