Sunday, August 04, 2013

Beware of the free beetle... and other such advice...

So, I last posted about our acquisition of some free rhino beetles. Beware of the free beetle. My two pets, Bonnie and Clyde, were upside-down and dead in their enclosure on Day 7 (Bonnie) and Day 10 (Clyde). Quite the bummer for me, as I am, yet again, petless. I do not like being without pet... but I seem to have trouble maintaining my pets in Japan, so I may have to remain petless. Well, actually, maybe it is just free, second-hand pets, but I am too gun-shy to find out for sure.

It appears that Bonnie and Clyde (pictured above) were at the end of their life-cycles, which may be why the store manager gave them to us unsuspecting Americans for free. So, to my fellow Americans, I say "beware of the free beetle." It rates up there with "don't judge a book by its cover," and "don't look a gift horse in the mouth," and, definitely, "sometimes you get what you pay for."

Another piece of advice I give to you is "never trust an unopened umbrella." I learned this the hard way, as well. The spouse and I headed to Miyajima yesterday because I had not yet had the chance to walk out to the (usually partially submerged) Otorii Gate, and we had the time to do so yesterday. Of course, August is a disgusting month for weather here. It is either raining or hot and humid... or all three. Yesterday, it was all three. As we walked off the ferry that took us to the island of Miyajima from mainland Japan, it began to sprinkle, which soon turned in to a 10-minute summer downpour. As one would guess from my Type A personality, I had recently found an umbrella in my kids' room that I was sure they had forgotten about and put it in my "adventure backpack" so that I would always have an umbrella with me.

When the summer downpour commenced, I reached in to my backpack for the umbrella and opened it up to not only keep myself dry, but also my camera, which was slung around my neck. Water and Canons do not mix well. The umbrella was meant to keep the two from mixing, but half of the umbrella was torn and the metal spindles were half worthless. I used what little umbrella I had available to me to try and cover my camera, but with the spindles being half worthless, every slight gust of wind would turn the umbrella inside out. Unfortunately, I do not have pictures of this to share because I was too busy juggling my camera, the umbrella  and my backpack while trying to keep the camera dry.

Needless to say, Rodney and I purchased new umbrellas. Fortunately, one of the things I had wanted to get while I was in Miyajima was an umbrella. There is this store that had all sorts of things for 1050 yen, and one of the items is an umbrella that, when it gets wet, sports cherry blossom designs on it. Not a very "Jessica"thing to want, but I had had my eye on them for the past year, so I thought I would invest in one. So, for 1050 yen each, Rodney and I each got an umbrella. Mine has cherry blossom designs show up on it when it is wet. Rodney's does not. But he did use it as a parasol because after the 10-minute downpour, it was 94 degrees and HUMID. He was able to make his own shade, protect himself from sunburn, and fit in with the bulk of elderly Japanese ladies on the island.

It was not raining at this time, so this was not an umbrella moment, but a parasol one.
Actually, this rain/sunshine process repeated itself twice more, so we were quite happy with our umbrella investments. For those of you who like photos of Japan, here are a few more of the Otorii Gate not submerged:

That's me in the green shirt.

Coins had been pressed in between the barnacles attached the gate's legs. I am not sure if this was for good luck, like a wishing well, or what. I found a 500-yen piece (about $5) in the sand and no one walked off with it during the 15 minutes I was there. Crazy!
So, please keep in mind: 1) Beware of the free beetle, and 2) Do not trust an unopened umbrella. These are key points to your success if you choose to live in Japan.

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