Don't Worry, There Are Creature Killers In Japan

So I’ve been in Japan, what, about 2 months? And in that time I have only seen two spiders in my room. Which is good. Because I do not like spiders. In fact, I don’t like spiders so much that I’m going to take Invert. Zoology at Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (as opposed to LC) just so that I can avoid dealing with those creepy-crawly bastards. For the most part, the arachnids tend to stay outside where they belong, but occasionally they invade MY territory, usually creating a lot of problems. So what do I do when that happens, you might ask. At LC, the vacuum cleaner is usually involved. However, at home, I call for the “Creature Killer.” No matter how big or how small, the Creature Killer takes care of just about every arthropod that ventures into our house (unless some idiot crab somehow managed to survive the journey from the Bay to our home – in that case, I would probably deal with it). When the shower water starts, and then abrubtly stops, the Creature Killer’s ears perk up. She waits for the call – “Creature Killer!” Then, moments later, toilet paper (or paper towels) in hand, she arrives asking, “where is it?” The terrified, towel-clad witness points from outside the bathroom, “up there, above the shower head.” The Creature Killer walks up slowly to inspect it, “ah, this one’s not so big.” And then, in one fluid motion, her hand shoots up and the creature is instantaneously squished and then flushed down the toilet for good measure. “There, all gone,” she says. The witness takes a quick survey of the rest of the room, and, deciding that it is safe to go back in, says in a relieved voice, “thank you, AB.” “No problem,” comes the reply.

Tuesday night, Kaori and I were chilling in my room looking at her photo albums (“arubamu” in Japanese – boy did I feel like a jack-ass when I couldn’t figure out what she was saying) and suddenly Kaori points at my wall and shouts, “kumo! Kumo!” I do a quick Japanese to English and then English to picture translation in my head, then jump back in alarm, “where?!” “On the wall! MAMA! KUMO!” There was some scurrying around outside my room and then a frantic knock on the door. I open it and in comes Akemi, with about three pieces of tissue in her hand, “doko (where)? Ookii (big)? Chiisai (small)?” she asks. Kaori points to the wall again, “chiisaiyo (it’s small),” and then “ah (ah)! Iyada (really bad)!” as the little guy started to scurry away. Akemi crept up stealthily, and then, fingers pinched in a poking stance, rushed in with both hands and squished the chiisai kumo and balled up the tissue. After a brief discussion about how we all “kumoga kirai” (hate spiders), Akemi put the tissues in with the rest of the burnable trash.

The last spider that came into my room was a daddy long-legs and I used the bento-box-and-paper capture method and then released it out onto the balcony that connects to my room (don’t worry, I thoroughly cleaned the bento box later). I much prefer the catch-and-release way of doing things because the spider doesn’t know that I’m really scared of it and that I wouldn’t want it coming into my room and so I feel bad killing it (for the Ellen DeGeneres fans – I am working on translating my “Keep Out” signs into Spider). But the problem with catch-and-release is it means that the potential is there for me to screw up and end up with the damn thing on my hand. Or clothes. Or face. And so I’d much rather someone else take care of it. And while I don’t necessarily agree with the subsequent execution, I feel like I don’t get to complain since they’re doing me a favor. Perhaps if I catch another spider using my room as a hang-out, and it looks relatively small, harmless and slow-moving, I’ll take it outside. But if not, then now I know that I can call upon the “Ikimono wo Korosu Hito” to do the job for me.

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