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
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!