The season for cockroaches.
If there is anything I don't like about Japan, it's the "gokiburi" or cockroach in English. They must be the most repulsive creatures on earth. They find their way into your house and scare the heck out of you crawling along the floor or popping out of a drawer. There are some things you can do however to at least make their lives a little bit harder with the hope that they will leave you and find some other poor "gaijin" to torment instead. Roaches eat anything, but it helps to put away food in tight containers and to vacuum the floor and to keep things as clean as possible. They also need water; so never keep any water in your sink over night (that's when they are most active). Or better yet, wipe the sink with a dry towel before going to bed. Another thing that many are not aware of is that roaches love beer, and thus, leaving your empty can laying around is a sure way to get unwanted company. Roaches can live anywhere, but they like cardboard the best. So if your place is full of boxes, watch out !
There are many products that you can buy to help you in the battle with "evil". There are the little roach houses with glue inside which the roaches get stuck in, (I love this). There are also small boxes with poison inside for the roach to eat, go back to his hiding place, die and then get eaten by the other roaches, and then they die too. (I love this even more!) I myself put baking soda in small containers and put these in drawers and cupboards, and it seems to help. For some reason that only God knows, roaches don't like baking soda. If you spot one, you can spray them with a special spray or chase them with a slipper. Or you can do like my mother in law and smack 'em with you hand ! Anna Hamakoji
Some important pieces of advice for newbies at this time of year.
By Jon Heese
Agricultural Spraying Warning
As the rice fields mature during the summer, insects become a danger to the harvest, and so every year in late July, an insecticide spray is applied from helicopters over the rice fields. The agricultural chemical mixture to be used is approved by the Japanese government for safety and effectiveness. All reasonable care will be taken to insure that the spraying is done only over the fields, but certain wind conditions can cause some of the chemicals to drift over into nearby housing areas. If you live near a rice field, you should take the following basic precautions:
The spraying will be done only once per district according to the following schedule between the hours of 4:30 am and 9 am. Weather conditions may, of course, cause the schedule to be adjusted.
July 24th (Monday): Oho and Toyosato districts
July 25th (Tuesday): Tsukuba district
July 26th (Wednesday): Tsukuba and Yatabe districts
July 27th (Thursday): Yatabe and Sakura districts
More information can be obtained (in Japanese) from the Nogyo Division of City Hall (phone 36-1111, ext. 3223, 3224, 3225)
Summer is almost here. Here are a few of the choice T-shirt slogans from last year:
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