Friday, August 27, 2010

UP Garage & Pet Shop 2

Today a friend took me to Up Garage down the road and to another pet shop. This time I was armed with my camera. I had been to Up Garage before and it's a pretty amazing used car parts shop. Pretty much everything you'd want with which to tune your Japanese sports car can be found here at low prices.

Like this massive collection of high-quality coil-overs and forced induction parts; turbos, intercoolers, even transmissions.

Rows of exhaust systems, strut bars, and lowering springs in-case you're too poor to afford the sweet coil-over setups on the other side of the aisle.

A wide range of exterior mods can be found, and there's a huge selection of used motorcycle parts and gear as well. There's tons of stuff that isn't pictured. I wish I had a car here so I could indulge a little.

Next stop was the pet shop, which was a dedicated pet shop--not attached to any other building like the previous place. This shop had a fairly tiny beetle section with not much selection compared to the previous place. The beetles at this shop looked depressed.

There was a giant tortoise walking around the store, it seemed like it might have been the store's pet. They had the prairie dogs at this pet shop again. Pretty good looking animals as usual, they're native to Arizona and a ton of other places.

Then there was this hideous beast of creature. Not only was this "guinea pig" albino, but it was also hairless--definitely fell out of the ugly tree and hit by every branch on the way down. So gross it deserved to be photographed.

All in all there wasn't anything particularly exotic at this shop but it was still interesting to see more of Japan's pet culture here.


The hawk moth caterpillars pupated a couple days ago. Hopefully they'll emerge before I leave back to America. They have 1 month to do it!

Baby caterpillars

The eggs from that the giant moth I featured a week ago began hatching today, 4 caterpillars emerged from a few of the eggs. It seems to take around 8 days for these eggs to hatch after being laid. The babies are very active and are covered in furry hairs. I don't know what these things eat unfortunately. I picked a few fresh baby leaves off a few different plants and the caterpillars don't seem interested in any of them.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Imo mushi ippai!! (Lot of caterpillars!!)

Today was caterpillar day for me it seems. It started off with finding a caterpillar crawling on the ground in between buildings at work. It seemed a bit weird as caterpillars usually hang out on the plants that they feed on. Later on in the day I spotted a couple more of the same caterpillars on some viney plant and harvested them as well as some of the plant.

Then I really hit the jackpot while riding my bike home from work, I saw the most monstrous caterpillar ever crawling across the asphalt road and immediately stopped to harvest it and looked around at the plants on the side of the road--JACKPOT!! Tons of monstrous caterpillars everywhere. My hands were full of the giants and they were really hungry because they were super restless and some were trying to nibble on my fingers as well. A grandma came out of the apartment next to where I was and asked me what I was doing and I just pointed to the mass of writhing caterpillars on my hand / arm and she got excited and was saying how there's a lot I have a lot of imo mushi. I just nodded my head as I couldn't understand everything she was saying and didn't want to give that away.

I harvested more of the viney plant and took everything home. The caterpillars settled down and started feasting once I put them back on the leaves. Then I made a dash to the supermarket to buy a small bug cage for around 300 yen. I'm not sure what kind of caterpillar they are but judging on their massive size and the horn on their tails that they're probably some kind of moth larva. I'll know for sure when one starts to pupate.

Edit: After doing some research I've identified the caterpillars to be of the Impatiens Hawk Moth or sesujisuzume in Japanese. Credit to

Not a very spectacular moth it seems :(

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Japanese Pet Shop

Today a friend took me to a pet shop inside of a large shopping mall-type area after mentioning my search for various beetles / exotic pets in Japan. I didn't have my camera with me unfortunately because there certainly was amazingness to be found inside. Pets and animals that are most certainly impossible to obtain in America.

There were rodents of various types including a few different types of squirrels / prairie dogs / some interesting breeds of rabbits / sugar gliders / hedgehogs. There weren't any exceptionally unusual reptiles that I haven't already seen at reptile expos in America before.

Then there was the beetle area, a BEETLE AREA!! There were TONS of beetles in little cups of dirt with some jelly-like food. There were so many different kinds of amazingly crazy looking beetles I was blown away. The cheapest beetles were the smallest and were like baby stag beetles at around $10-20 each. Then there were other kinds of beetles I've never seen before in my life, in either picture or on the internet including these ~3" long iridescent rainbow colored beetles with huge iridescent pincher jaws, the biggest kinds of these cost around $100 each. Then there was a collection of beetles in a locked glass area--clearly the prized jackpot beetles, and they sure were. In one of the cups was a monster Hercules beetle around 6-7 inches long. The beetles in this area cost around $150 to over $300 each. Unbelievable!!

The rest of the animals were fairly normal with the exception of one. I was about to leave the area and turned around to scan the room in case I missed anything and something caught my eye in an island-cage toward the middle of the room. It was a sleek looking bird that looked amazing, I had to get a closer look. Lo and behold it was a pygmy falcon!!! for only $1500! Now that is a truly amazing pet worth owning--behind an owl.

There weren't any miniature owls like I was hoping although I'm told that they have been sold at this shop before for around $4000!!

I need to move to Japan.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Japanese workers clothing

So I finally went back to Kawasaki to check out the shop that was closed last week for Obon. It was open and it seems like it's a general purpose / workman's / festival / clothing shop. They have pretty huge stocks of utilitarian stuff like tools, socks, and worker's clothes. There's also a ton of traditional matsuri (festival) clothing with cool colors and designs. Anyway, the reason I came to this particular store is because it's known to be the only place that carries gold jikatabi (split-toed workers boots). They did have them, but only 1 pair (the display pair which were too small!!). So I picked up a pair of the silver tabi in my size along with a pack of tabi socks so I can be mega fashionable back in Seattle. They're pretty cool, but not as cool as the gold.

After picking up the tabi, I got the rest of my outfit at another location which I failed to take pictures of. I got a pair of black tobi pants and an open shirt and seemingly became friends with the owners (?) that were working there. It was an old guy and a younger guy (his son maybe), they were pretty helpful with my tobi search letting me try on a bunch of stuff. When I finished and paid for the stuff they tossed some free stuff (sweet black worker's bandana to absorb my head sweat) in my bag which was cool and they said they hope they see me again. Must have been a slow day.

A lot of Japanese workers wear tobi pants with jikatabi (shoes) as the clothing is loose fitting and comfortable which helps stay cool in the crazy heat here and helps reduce the chance for injuries as for example a falling object may get deflected by the folds in the loose clothing. There's other benefits to the design that I can't recall, another pro is that Japanese worker clothing is very fashionable and cool. It will make for a sweet drifting outfit back home in Seattle as well.

Then before heading home I got my picture taken with rilakkuma (relax bear) korilakkuma (baby relax bear).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

オオミズアオ!! Oomizuao!!

On my way home from work at around 7pm I saw this massive moth on the road under a street lamp, I placed my finger in front of it and it crawled up. I placed it on the front of my shirt and it stayed there until getting to my place. It wasn't until after getting to my room that I noticed it had deposited around 20 eggs on the front of my shirt!

I held the moth in my hand and it continued to deposit egg after egg. Apparently she will lay around 300 eggs and then die. The lifespan of an adult Luna moth is about a week so to find one let alone one that's pregnant is pretty rare. The adult moths don't even have mouths so they can't eat--their entire existence is to mate and make babies during the 1 week span.

As you can see, she started coating my fingers in eggs as well. Check out the Youtube video above to watch the egg pooping in action.

Edit: I had incorrectly labeled the moth as a Luna moth, but seeing as I'm in Japan and not America where the Luna moth is from--the moth is actually its asian relative, native to Japan and a few other asian countries called an オオミズアオ or Oomizuao (Actias artemis).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Orange Juice?

I hope this doesn't give me diarrhea.

Edit: it's definitely orange juice, with a light cheesy aftertaste. Not really noticeable but it's there.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Today I went to Kawasaki which is close to Tokyo if not still within Tokyo itself. There's really not that much to see there, and I didn't really like it so much. The city feels kind of run down and dirty and the city stinks, at least more so than the other places I've been. The area is filled with pachinko / gambling shops. I also noticed the amount of smoking / smokers in the area was much greater than anywhere I've been so far as well. People don't wait for the crosswalks to turn green before crossing roads in Kawasaki like they do in other districts of Tokyo that I've ventured to.

The streets of Kawasaki are lined with Ginko trees as well and were loaded with Ginko fruits. I can only imagine how bad the city is going to smell in a few months when the fruits ripen and fall to the ground. I don't know the smell personally but I hear it smells like ripe colon.

I did walk by some random girls singing some songs. I'm guessing they're trying their best to become famous / make it big or something. I don't know but I felt bad because it seemed really cheezy.

Anyway, the main reason I traveled to Kawasaki was to check out a particular shop. However, once I found it, surprise!!! It was closed for the Obon holiday. That means I'll wait for another time to say why I went there and for what reason when I go back when the shop is open.

To keep the trip from being a complete waste I went to the Odakyu department store in Shinjuku to check out my own personal brand of men's clothing. No pictures were allowed again... oh well.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Japanese Vuvuzelas

Haven't done anything worth writing about recently. However, today I went to work to find that all the buildings were locked with everyone gone due to today and yesterday being the Japanese holiday Obon. So I went back home following that, but since it was midday I went down the road from my place where there's a small children's park and looked for bugs.

There was quite a bit to be found, most of which I have never seen before so I wasn't sure how to approach some of the bugs. Even the ones that seemed harmless (and pretty much were) seemed to spray me with strange and disgusting bug juices. I saw a few Japanese giant hornets for the first time, and they are BIG. At least 2-3 times bigger than the biggest wasps in America.

I found a dead female Japanese rhinocerous beetle (Kabuto mushi) which brings me a little closer to my goal of finding / catching a live male Kabuto mushi. I have evidence that they exist around here at least.

You can see in the background what I've been collecting, the molted shells of Japanese cicadas (semi). It's not my first time encountering cicadas. In Arizona there are lots during the summer, however, they're nothing like the ones here in Japan. The Japanese cicadas are MASSIVE, and LOUD, they're pretty much the Japanese equivalent to vuvuzelas.

There's a popular girl in Japan named Shokotan that really likes the moltings as well and has a few pictures of her "wearing" them.

At the park, the ground was full of holes which I'm guessing are the holes from which the cicadas emerged prior to becoming adults. Pretty much the entirety of the cicada's life cycle is spent underground as a larva until just prior to becoming an adult, the larva will crawl out of the ground and will climb as high as at can reach or whatever it feels is sufficient. Then its exterior will harden during the molting process, the new adult with break out from the backside of its molted shell and rest for a bit (dry off / harden its skin) before flying off in search of a mate.

Searching for a mate involves the loud noises that the cicada makes which unlike the droning sounds of cicadas in Arizona can be pretty strange. I think I've heard at least 3-4 unique sounds from the Japanese cicadas. The sounds are hard to explain other than loud and buzzy as some of them have patterns like bird calls.

After harvesting molted shells I took them back to my room to display. Here they are!