Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Equinox!

The equinoxes are national holidays in Asia, including Japan. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a holiday in honor of the changing seasons, or anything related to the planet we inhabit? (Sure, we have Earth Day, but it's not a day off from work.)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Vespa Mandarina Japonica

I first saw this two-inch long hornet on the front balcony of my apartment in Shizuoka. It was flying at me head on, and I went right back inside and shut the door. I couldn't stay inside forever, though, so I learned to negotiate territory with this terrifying insect. I wasted a lot of time failing to get a photograph of this guy. (My thanks to the Korean animal pictures archive and uncredited photographer.) When I wrote American Fuji, I believed it was a bee and didn't have easy internet resources to discover it was a hornet. My apologies to my readers.

A lone bee veered at him, twice the size of a bumblebee, with orange markings that looked like an electrical outlet. As Alex stood still, waiting for the bee to pass, an iguana darted out of the dry weeds at his feet and darted back. He felt as though he had been dropped into some parched apocalyptic fantasy. [p.171]