Sunday, November 19, 2006

Big freaky bugs.


IMG 9352
Originally uploaded by sleepytako.
I remember reading an opinion piece back when the Pokemon craze first hit America. The writer basically said that Pokemon was part of some Japanese master plan to corrupt the mind of America's children. Obviously he was still pissed that the Japanese economy did better than America's in the 80's and the Japanese cars are still better than American ones... but that said... in the article the writer said that the idea for Pokemon came from the Japanese childhood pastime of collecting bugs, specifically beetles. This is a huge pastime for many boys here. The popularity of it all only hit me recently when I moved up to Sanda. The Japan Discount Store (a store akin to a small K-mart back in the day) had a ton of bug catching supplies. Cages, food, little beetle houses, beetle bedding, and nets to catch the small, er, big buggers all for a discounted price I might add. Now a days on the train I often see elementary aged kids with their grandfathers holding nets and plastic aquariums with the days catch if they were lucky. This reminded me of a friend I had when I was very young. I think his name was Ethan, but I'm not too sure. We would get nets and in his backyard try to catch butterflies, I don't think we ever really saw a butterfly, but we sure had fun running around with nets.

Catching beetles doesn't seem harmful does it? It seems to me to be a normal childhood pastime. Yet somehow the writer in his criticism of Pokemon's commercialism tried to tie that to catching bugs. In hindsight I see how the author threw out a red herring in the form of anti-Japanese racism or simple cultural misunderstanding for the sake of his argument, instead of focusing on the broader problem of commercialism invading our children's lives and critiquing the capitalist economic system that fosters such commercialism.

Anyhow this is a picture of a large scary spider I saw on his web lodged between a phone booth and a light pole in central Kobe (神戸市中区)on my way to get my new visa.

1 comment:

mumzilla said...

I think all kids like or enjoy bugs, it is something on thier level and they get to look down at them. Till the parents go "YAHHHHHH" and freak everyone out. We use to get ladybug and set them out on our vegie garden, do you remember that ?