Catching bugs and insects is a favorite pastime among Japanese kids, especially boys during the summer time. The warm and humid summer is where various insects will be apparent, and usually, elementary school kids and middle school kids would spend time collecting these insects. Collecting these creatures is also one of the common summer homework. These are the common bugs captured by Japanese kids:
The rhinoceros beetle has a thick body which has a glossy black-brown sheen. The male is especially attractive with its prominent Y-shaped horns which somewhat resembles the horn of a rhinoceros. It is not difficult to catch this beetle. It can easily be found during the morning in the woods where oak trees are aplenty. Make sure to find a tree that has sap coming out of it, as the sap attracts the beetles which would feed on it.
Unlike the rounded body of the rhinoceros beetle, the stag beetle has a flat body. It has unique mandibles that look akin to antlers. Similar to the rhinoceros beetle, the stag beetle can be found easily in the morning at the sap of oak trees. The biggest type of stag beetle is known as “o-kuwagata” and it is popular among kids and adults alike!
You will know it is summer time when you hear the loud, buzzing screeches of cicadas! Cicadas are abundant during the summer and they make more noises as the weather gets hotter. You may see kids trying to catch cicadas with nets. While the cicada’s straw-like mouth seems like it can sting, it is only used to suck sap from trees, so it is safe for children to hold cicadas.
In the past, watching fireflies is a common activity but today’s urbanization has depleted the number of fireflies than can be seen. Nonetheless, many people still enjoy watching the beautiful fireflies by the river at night. The firefly’s ability to emit light makes them pretty so children love to catch them. The beauty of fireflies does not last long, in which the Japanese termed as “hakanasa.”
Even though Japanese children love to catch bugs, they would usually only catch it temporarily and release them after a while. Kids who live in the city may have a hard time finding those bugs due to a lack of wooded areas, but there are department stores that sell some varieties of bugs!