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 !
Some important pieces of advice for newbies at this time of year.
By Jon Heese
CHECK YOUR LEATHER GOODS! The heat and humidity provides an ideal environment for the growth of moulds. Get those nice shoes you only wear to important meetings and first dates out of the closet. Wipe them off with a damp cloth and put them in the sun. The same for your leather bras, whips as well as jackets and bags. If you have the energy, now would be a good time to apply some mink oil or other protective creams/sprays to your leather goods or body. Put your leathers in the sun at least once every week or two until September. If you go on holidays, be sure to leave your goods in the open, preferably in a location where the sun can shine on them while you're gone. If one of you scientist types has better advice in regards to mould prevention, please let us know.
For non-smokers: Don't buy a kerosene heater in preparation for next winter. I know this is a controversial topic and there are persons in the general public who would disagree. Kerosene heaters stink and do not burn nearly as efficiently as the manufacturers would like you to believe. Using an unvented kerosene heater is as bad as running your car in your living room. Use electric heaters. Your bill will go up and, yes, you probably will pay a bit more than you would to heat with kerosene, but the difference is not significant (Y3,000 ~ Y4,000/month). If you smoke, however, feel free to ignore this advice.
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:
During spraying, stay away from the fields.
If you are accidentally exposed to any of the spray, wash it off immediately with soap and water.
Likewise, if any of the spray gets on your clothes or settles on your car, etc., wash it off with water.
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:
(around a picture of dandelions) I Fought the Lawn and the Lawn Won
So Few Men, So Few Who Can Afford Me
I Suffer Occasional Delusions of Adequacy
God Made Us Sisters, Prozac Made Us Friends
If They Don't Have Chocolate In Heaven, I Ain't Going
At My Age, I've Seen It All, Done It All, Heard It All...I Just Can't Remember It All
My Mother Is A Travel Agent For Guilt Trips
I Just Do What The Voices Inside My Head Tell Me To Do
(Worn by a pregnant woman) A Man Did This To Me, Oprah
If It's Called Tourist Season, Why Can't We Hunt Them?
Senior Citizen: Give Me My Damn Discount
Princess, Having Had Sufficient Experience With Princes, Seeks Frog
No, It Doesn't Hurt (on a "well-tattooed gentleman")
(on the back of a passing motorcyclist) If You Can Read This, My Wife Fell off
I Used To Be Schizophrenic, But We're OK Now
(over the outline of the state of Minnesota) My Governor Can Beat Up Your Governor
Veni, Vedi, Visa: I came. I Saw. I Did a Little Shopping.
What If The Hokey Pokey Is Really What It's All About
I Didn't Climb to the Top of the Food Chain to Be a Vegetarian
(on the Front) Yale Is Just One Big Party (on the back) With a $25,000 Cover Charge
Coffee, Chocolate, Men...Some Things Are Just Better Rich
Liberal Arts Major...Will Think For Money
IRS-Be Audit You Can Be
Gravity...It's Not Just a Good Idea. It's the Law.
If You Want Breakfast In Bed, Sleep In the Kitchen
Wanted: Meaningful Overnight Relationship
The Old Pro..Often Wrong...Never In Doubt
If At First You Don't Succeed, Skydiving Isn't For You
Old Age Comes at a Bad Time
In America, Anyone Can Be President. That's One of the Risks You Take.
First Things First, but Not Necessarily in That Order.
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