Wednesday, 9 June 2010

PostHeaderIcon The Death of a Mukade

Mukade roughly translates as 'spawn of the devil'.

I was cleaning my dishes on Saturday morning before I started to make breakfast.  I stuck on some music and whistled away to myself as the lovely rays of sunshine illuminated my kitchen.  I had almost finished and all that was left was a chopping board at the bottom of the pile.  As I lifted it I saw something long and black.  For some reason... my first assumption was that there was a fat worm in my sink.  As I tried to process this my rational mind caught up with me as I saw numerous flickers of red as it moved within an inch of my hand.  I always anticipated that I would scream or faint whenever I encountered one of these sickening creatures.  However, the sudden change from a relaxing weekend morning to possible death had shocked me to my core.  Instead of screaming, my body recoiled backwards in horror as all the air emitted from my lungs left me with nothing more than a silent wail of pure fear.  Without uttering a sound I went in search of the insect spray.  I hadn't been forced to use it since about last September or October.  As I returned to the sink my nerves were calmed by the realisation that the little bastard was stuck.  Still, there was still an element of fear present as it ran around the edge of the sink like a bullet train from hell.  I must have sprayed it for about a solid minute or two.  Not since the trenches of the Great War has so much chemical warfare been witnessed.  It eventually succumbed to a slow, twitching death after a valiant effort to battle on.  As it slowly left this beautiful world alone from its evil menace, the body and legs began to curl up.  This left the corpse looking a lot less threatening and more like a caterpillar getting ready for their cocoon.  Don't be fooled by the picture above as they look like this when they are on the go.

In Japan, the poisonous centipede is called a mukade.  It's usually written in katakana these days but the kanji is 百足 which means one hundred and legs; the same meaning as the English/Latin.  Their bite is not lethal but it is apparently painful and the area swells up quite a lot.  A student in my class got bit on the leg the other day and had to go to hospital for an injection.  I've heard that it's quite hard to kill them by hitting them with something as it takes a few attempts and then can retaliate in the process.  Also, if they are cut in half then they can run about and chase after you like zombies.  Japanese people say the best method to obliterate them is to boil them alive with a fresh brew of green tea.  Personally, I can't understand how anyone would have  the nerves or time to do that.  I'm afraid we are all human and the natural instinct for all of us is to  go "Arrrgggh kill it kiiiilllll it".  Another tale told to me by Japanese housewives is that the mukade hunt together in pairs so even after you kill one you are still living in a nightmare.

It certainly appears to be the season for all things bug related as another incident later on Saturday evening  proved.  I went to get some more beer out the fridge when a cockroach jumped out from the handle.  For the second time in a day my fingers barely missed contact with such filth.  I won't even mention the episode in the toilet the other night.  I hate summer in Japan.


Dad said...

You're not doing a very good job at selling a visit to Japan to your mum and I.

Hayley Beth said...

The visualization you created is brilliant. I laughed out loud at my desk after reading “ body recoiled backwards in horror as all the air emitted from my lungs left me with nothing more than a silent wail of pure fear.” My coworker gave me the oddest look... but the mental image of the above was quite comical if only just because I have done the same thing.
I hate summer because of the bugs and yet the centipedes where I live don’t require a visit to the hospital. Ugh...creepy.

Timmargh said...

You should mount it above your fireplace.

Ahoy hoy said...

All the bugs only come out in the summer although they tend to last until autumn. Spring is fine.

It's amazing how used I am to cockroaches now. I just kill them and get on with things. Spiders and mukade still terrify me though. The huntsman spiders move so fast it makes me want to cry.

aussiehisshou said...

If you don't find the other one before the start of the World Cup I am going to cry...

Hayley Beth said...

I google'd huntsman spider...nasty looking thing. Does raid work on it? lol.

chris said...

well i guess i'm never going to japan.

Edward said...

Ok, I don't want to visit japan anymore


duc said...

Nani kore!!!!

Reikalein said...

I hate mukade...I thought I could never hate anything as much as I hate spiders, but mukade top the list.

My friend once walked through the woods to get to school and when she went to the bathroom to change her clothes she felt something on her leg. A mukade had made its way into her joggers. I'm sure you can imagine the scream we heard from the bathroom!

ryugakuneechan said...

Hi... I just stumbled across your blog while re-freshening my own trauma encounter with a mukade. I was barefeet and it just casually passed by me 2cm away from my feet... I didn't get why everybody was screaming until they explained to me... Man I cleaned up my room after that to make sure I had no "moist dark spots" left for them to hide.

Anyway cool blog... nice style of writing, totally adequate for the Bug Adventures.


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About Me

I am a 24 year old Scotsman currently teaching English to Japanese schoolchildren. I live in a small town on the east coast of Kochi prefecture.