Meg is bug mad.
Really. The kid could bore your socks off on stag beetles and rhinoceros beetles and male and female physical attributes (not genitalia but hornage) and care of and dietary preferences and the best way to find them and... and....
But poor Meg's parents were not rushing out to get her a beetle buddy. It's one pet I'm pretty sure she's not allergic to so that's a plus but K is not actually that fond of bugs (probably the only boy in Japan who never went bug hunting) and I have a catch and release philosophy on pets which doesn't really gel with keeping wild animals in cages with a constant supply of sugary jelly (such an obvious choice of food yeah? Coz you always see beetles hanging out sucking back fruit jelly in the woods, right?)
So for the last week or so we have been going back and forth back on forth on the bug thing:
"And then you just get some sawdust and we have lots and you get some wood big wood not little wood but not too big because it has to fit in the bug box and some people have yellow lids but I like the black lids. Not the big bug box though that's too big I just want a medium one, but with the black lid and you can buy these jellies and they smell good but you can't eat them because they're not people jellies they're bug jellies and-"
"I don't know why she wants to have a bug. Why? I never had a pet bug. ...We could get another goldfish? ...Why a bug? ....And she wants us to go and get one from the woods? At night? And pick up a bug? Where on earth do bugs live anyway? And pick it up with your hands?"
"It's just a bug. I mean it's not like she wants a pet snake. I had pet snails and caterpillars and tadpoles and even an antfarm when I was a kid. The ant farm was crazy. We left the lid off and they escaped. In the house. Yeah, really. No, mum wasn't thrilled. And dad didn't like the tadpoles as they grew legs, turned into frogs and jumped in the washing up when he was doing it. Yeah really. No of course they weren't ok. It was hot soapy water. And we used to collect the frogs eggs in our gumboots and bring them home barefeet. On a muddy gravel road. Yeah, really. In winter, too. So when you think about it compared to all that a stag beetle is pretty harmless, right? And I hear S-chan and H-chan's dads are both gun bug hunters. We could always ask them for advice Ok. Well if you think we don't need to ask that's cool we can just go out by ourselves.
So endless re-runs of those conversations for the last week and we were all set to do it today. I bought a bug box yesterday- the Hilton penthouse suite of bug boxes- and was slightly overawed by the range and sheer number of bugkeeping related products for sale here. Really. And if K knew that there's a possibility we might need beetle mite remover or mini-fly repellant (whatever mini flies are) he would freak! And we had a date to go bug hunting tonight. A very vague date "Go to the mountains with a torch and a bug box and just, you know, find a bug." Well Meg's plan was rather more elaborate, she wanted to find a stag beetle, a rhinoceros beetle and a female beetle (she thinks that's a type of beetle...)
Just as I was gearing up for my "we're really gonna do our best and try our hearts out but we can't guarantee success honey...." talk and K was looking slightly green getting together the bug hunting gear S-chan's dad, S-chan, her brother and her cousin rocked up at the gate carrying a bug box a piece and a big net.
Yeah! They're inviting us bug hunting- chance of success instantly infinitely increased!
But nope. Not inviting us bug hunting.
Giving Meg bugs! Yeah!! Meg, K and I all had huge grins on our faces for completely different reasons. But we were all thrilled. And the best bit? Two stag beetles. Two male stag beetles so very impressive to look at and no chance of larvae to look after. So it's a stag beetle party at ours tonight and I'm just working on convincing Meg they would all be much happier if the bugs stay in their box at bedtime rather than share her bed. Even the little one with the underdeveloped pincers...