Oxymoron

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I was watching the Discovery Channel a couple of nights ago, about this New Zealand marine scientist and his quest to capture architeuthis (the giant squid).
Dr O’Shea came up with the brilliant idea to go after larval architeuthis instead of adults. I found this to be disappointing, after all, there is nothing giant about a baby giant squid. I have always thought that to capture a giant squid, you would have to prepare for battle. Harpoons, modified high voltage cattle prods, and noxious chemical weapons turned out to be quite unnecessary. No danger, no thrashing tentacles of death, no gnashing razor sharp beak, no giant unblinking eyes… Nonetheless it was an exciting documentary.
First, his team had to screen through the vast archives of specimens of larval squid to identify the never before seen target species. After that was done he proceeded to net larvae of known giant squid breeding areas, refining the tecnique until he captured seven live specimens in one expedition. Unfortunately stage three, the rearing of a giant squid by means of aquaculture, did not happen because none of the larvae survived the trip to port.
However, O’Shea’s team made breakthroughs in keeping other species of deep water squid alive and thriving for unprecedented lenghths of time. This is indeed exciting news, and the possibility of seeing fully grown architeuthis in aquariums no longer seems so impossible!
I want a giant squid in my fish tank! Can you imagine? Hours of fun experimenting what a giant squid will and will not eat! And of course, watching the epic battle unfold when you put a Sperm whale and a giant squid in the same tank!

Grease Monkey

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Today, I went to the local Mobile (we have three gas stations in my town of under 2000 people, go figure…) to get my tire (thats “tyre” for any confused Brits who may be reading) fixed and to get an oil change. As I stepped out of my car, the proprietor exclaimed “Eh, Saru da!” and pointed to the roof of the garage. The monkey proceeded to jump off the roof, go to a tree and start eating its cherry-like fruit.
All of the people inside the Mobile came out to get a good look (as monkeys are rare around here- I didn’t know that they were around!!!). The monkey then decided to climb up to the second story of the house, and the doors were open, so the okasan ran up to close them (Out of the blue, without precedent, she started to speak perfect English to me today… He (you could tell it was a he because of the massive nut sack staring you in the face) looked really hungry, and I didn’t want to get too close in case he turned evil and started to attack. I will take my chances with Mamushi any day to a pissed off hungry monkey.
Anyways, my oil was changed and my tire was fixed in a record thirty minutes, even with the mechanic taking time to watch the monkey. And he hooked me up- 5000 yen for labor, oil filter, 3.5 liters of oil, and labor!
I hope the monkey finds enough to eat around here, because food is kind of scarce in the surrounding wilderness.

Mamushi

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Don’t Fuck with this snake!!! I have had three encounters with this snake so far, with two of them in my town. This pic was taken in the Northern part of Ubuyama, where they are said to be common. Often seen infused in sake, the mamushi is said to give you “special powers” and to be a “genki drink”. Translation: it gives you a really big BONER. This is gross but not as gross as what the Chinese will eat, drink, snort, smoke, or otherwise utilize a wider and more disgusting range of “natural remedies”.
Anyhow, I tried to catch my first mamushi four years ago while at a flower park with T-bone in Nara. The small dark snake was just too fast for me, and Taro stopped me from jumping Irwin style into the bushes. Just a month ago, again I tried to catch a snake I saw, this time in front of my house. Armed with my broom, I pinned it down and grabbed the tail, but it freed its head from the broom and started back at my hand. I let it go and it got away. Afterwards I went back to English Camp, and during a hike with my kids, I noticed that this warning sign (In English this time) was the same one I tried to catch just an hour earlier.
Supposedly, people eat Mamushi around here. One of my greatest hopes is to go to a school barbecue and have one of the OG farmer parents pull out a live snake, dress it, throw it on the grill, and say “Adamu sensei, tabete mite onegaishimasu”. I’m down with eating the good ol? fashioned country cuisine!