August 25

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Hating On Japanese Bugs

San Francisco does not have bugs. Japan has bugs. No, make that Bugs – You Know The Difference. I HATE bugs. Especially: see above. Here they’re called gokiburi, but a cockroach is a cockroach, YUCK.

This monster suddenly appeared MID-SHOWER last week, feel the horror. There I was in a tiny enclosed space that I couldn’t escape because 1) wet and 2) no clothes, and this 2.5″ monster appears from the drain. I am hopping from one leg to the other making involuntary “iya! iya!” squeaks without a weapon in sight, until I thought of the hand-held shower head. I trained the entire force of Tokyo water pressure on the beast and managed to herd it back under the drain cover, but even though I doused it mercilessly and any smarter creature would have given up and gone back from whence it came, this thing relentlessly poked its feelers out as soon as I turned off the water. Finally, after about ten minutes of drowning, I was sure it was dead. The next day, rubber gloved to the elbows, I cautiously lifted the drain cover to retrieve the dead body and do a fierce victory dance over my enemy. It was…GONE.

Nooooo! Still alive! Still in the apartment SOMEWHERE.

Three nights later, it was back. But this time I had a plan. After chronicling it’s size (see above) because I was sure nobody would believe the magnitude of dragon I slayed, I armed myself with a rubber rainboot and chased it all over the apartment. Up and down the hall, back into the bathroom, where I smashed it down to its molecular components.

Finally, a good night’s sleep. Until the next day, when I saw its evil twin on the stairs outside. This time I discovered…they can FLY. I’d have died happy NOT KNOWING THIS.

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Tokyo

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car with two strangers. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more