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Can I Please Have The Red-Hot Pincers Instead?

I have no idea what these dried insect skins are supposed to cure, but whatever it is, I hope I never get it! I saw these in the window of a traditional pharmacy, along with equally unsavory dried worms, fungus and what I hope were roots, but could easily have been something with a far higher squick score.

Here in Japan, people rely on a combination of Western and Chinese medicine for treating what ails them – even I swear by kampo when I have a cold. But ewww, now that I think of it, what IS the secret ingredient in that effective, yet foul-tasting concoction?!

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Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

4 thoughts on “Can I Please Have The Red-Hot Pincers Instead? Leave a comment

  1. I have actually had those dried cicada exoskeletons in a concoction given to me by a Chinese herbal doctor. The crush them then put it in a soup-like mixture that tastes like s–t. I took it to help my then-wife and I to have a baby. The treatment included acupuncture and a concoction for her. It worked!

      • I think that the human body says, “I’ll heal you if you would stop feeding me those cicada exoskeletons.” Those Chinese herbal concoctions are pretty disgusting. I would rather drink dog poo soup.

      • > I’d rather drink dog poo soup
        So true! And how come it never dissolves in water? Like, you have to get a major tornado going, then glug it down before it settles into toxic sludge at the bottom of the glass!

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