Life in Japan

Japanese and their unusual pets

24 January 2014

This is a re-post from my old blog (now inactive) that I kept when I was in Japan previously, and part of the Flashback Friday series! ^_^

First written: 23 June 2010

After one of my classes today, the HT (homeroom teacher) and a few students who stayed back invited me to take a look at their class pets – a pair of 甲虫 (kabuto mushi) aka beetles.

Yeeees. Beetles.
Anyhow, stop giving that perplexed face and read on. (Man, I learned a lifetime’s worth of knowledge about beetles today!)

There was one female and one male:


Female beetle

Male beetle

Male beetle

The male is so much more impressive and scary right! It’s quite big too, around the length of my hand, not that I actually placed it for measure. But never mind that the female looks meh, because…

If they are put in the same tank, the male will die. Obviously the female will live. BWAHAHA.

According to the HT, it’s because it’s a ‘custom’. (the HT got this translated from the electronic dictionary, so it is a little literal). Just take it that the male WILL die if they are in the same tank. Overawing presence of the female, most likely. Or maybe the male is scared to death. Literally. Hahaha!

So they were placed in separate tanks in consideration of the weak male.

THEN, they took the male out and encouraged me to touch it.

They weren’t even teasing or making jabs because I believe I had a look of sheer horror on my face. I mean, come on, those pincer-like things look like they can induce a lot of unnecessary pain! D:

They asked because they genuinely wanted me to ‘get to know’ the beetle. And of ALL places, they wanted me to touch the pincer-thing! The scariest-looking part!!!

Everyone demo-ed and showed me where to touch and looked at me expectantly.

Sigh. What to do?

And so on this fateful day, I risked the well-being of my finger and touched a 30,000yen (S$500) imported-from-Amazon-rainforest nocturnal beetle.


For the record, the shell feels hard, as expected, and the brown fuzzy things feel fuzzy, as expected. I was worried the beetle might suddenly go crazy and snap down so I’m just extremely grateful that I still have my finger.

After school, the same teacher was so intrigued by my reaction that he wanted to further the conversation on insects. He asked me what kind of insects do people keep in Singapore.

Me: …
HT: -eager face- Yes?
Me: Uh, we don’t really keep insects as pets in Singapore… actually, we generally hate them.
HT: EEEHHHHHH? None? None at all?! How about beetles?
Me: Nope. We do have a golden beetle-thingy that comes into our houses, but people don’t keep it.
HT: What do they do with it?
Me: They throw it out. (at least, that’s what I’ll do. the sound is annoying)
HT: -thunderstruck face- :O
Me: Oh! I thought of one, although it’s not an insect. Primary school children (or at least Fu) catch spiders and let them fight.
HT: Sp… spiders? You keep spiders? And they… fight???

And so we went back and forth, both curious and astonished at each other’s pet-keeping cultures.

It was quite fun actually.

ps: another horrifying thing to me is that they keep lizards as pets. LIZARDS! OMG. The tail is SUPER long and super gross! (but doesn’t fall off) And the kids would gently pick them up and play with them. -shudders-

pps: Yes, they keep “normal” pets like dogs and cats and hamsters etc also la.


  • Reply Rina 24 January 2014 at 6:22 pm

    lol the Japs are very….interesting….people….

    • Reply Rin 25 January 2014 at 4:01 am

      Haha! Yes, they are ;)

  • Reply joey 15 December 2017 at 7:31 pm

    HAHAHA!! I laughed out. I don’t think a blog has ever made me laugh this out loud. Yeah, I throw out those beetles too. Banging into everything. Very annoying, their poor navigational ability. What is the living cost for a month there for you?

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