Three reasons I will probably never live in Japan.

“Success is 99 percent failure.” -Soichiro Honda quotes (Japanese Honda Motor Company Founder, b.1906)
oh the colors that day
Creative Commons License photo credit: craigemorsels

If the average American is anything like me you can’t avoid the recent deluge of Asian influence in our culture. By recent I mean the last 5 years or so, and by Asian I mean Japanese. I figure the average American likes to generalize like I do but just incase I got real specific for you non-average haters out there.

It’s not that I dislike Japan or its culture or its people. Nothing against any of that whatsoever. It’s just that the land of Japan is so damn scary. If the Internet and popular media is to believed, Japan is full of ghosts, evil witches that enslave your parents, random rampaging monsters, and sentient tentacles that do things to you that require a doll and a psychologist to explain (no I am not linking to that).

Surprise!
Doesn't everyone play peekaboo with the undead?

Sure, I hear what you’re saying. That’s all make believe right? Keep in mind that even if it is, SOMEONE thought it up. Do you want to meet the people who think this stuff up?!

Aside from the frightening imagination of Japanese people, there’s the threat of the islands native flora and fauna. It’s not a wonder that the average Japanese imagination is so out there when reality is filled with things like this:

The Aokigahara Forest. Also known as the Sea of Trees, apparently it’s the world’s third most popular suicide spot and ranks #6 on Cracked.com’s Creepiest Places on Earth list. More than 500 people have died in this forest since the 1950s. Urg.

Giant Wood Spiders. I don’t like to think of myself as a pansy, but these spiders are omfgholyshit horrible. Don’t believe me? As a member of the golden orb family of spiders (due to the color of their silk) guys have the strongest spider web of any spider. How strong? Uh..it’s not uncommon for birds to be stuck in their webs. And then eaten. We have similar spiders in the US, smaller versions commonly called garden or banana spiders. What makes the Japanese ones worse? Well, besides being 6-8inches in size they’re considered lucky if seen in the daylight, so you don’t see people disturbing them even if their giant 2-4 foot webs are stretched over a sidewalk or path. I wonder how many Japanese children vanished before they learned to respect these giant killers. The spiders probably blame it on the Aokigahara Forest.

I SAID SPIDER
Honey have you seen the kids lately?

Last on the list is the Japanese Hornet. The wikipedia article does a fantastic job of summing up why these hornets are the devil incarnate, but in case you’re too lazy to click it let me sum it up for you:

  • Masato Ono, an entomologist at Tamagawa University near Tokyo, described the sensation of being stung as feeling “like a hot nail being driven into his leg.”
  • Each year in Japan, the human death toll caused by Asian giant hornet stings exceeds that of all other venomous and non-venomous wild animals combined, including wild bears and venomous snakes.
  • The venom contains at least eight distinct chemicals, some of which damage tissue, some of which cause pain, and at least one which has an odor that attracts more hornets to the victim.
  • An allergic human stung by the giant hornet may die from an allergic reaction to the venom, but the venom contains a neurotoxin called mandaratoxin[5] which can be lethal even to people who are not allergic if the dose is sufficient.
  • Like all hornets it has a barbless stinger, allowing it to sting repeatedly.

Japanese Hornet up close
YOU argue with him.


And if you really want to lose your shit, here’s a video of 30 Japanese hornets taking out an entire hive of honey bees to eat their babies. Yes only the babies. It’s like some twisted insect version of 300 meets “A Modest Proposal“.

1 comment / Add your comment below

  1. The spiders really aren’t bad. They hang out in their webs well above where people walk and really just kind of…sit there… The hornets, on the other hand, are terrifying.

    But hey, you left out the fact that nature is constantly trying to kill you in other ways in Japan. Like, say, with the 1000+ measurable earthquakes that happen somewhere in the Japanese archipelago every year, or the occasional tsunami, or the active volcanoes…

    All of that having been said, though, the 4 1/2 years I lived in Japan were the best in my life. The people are great, the cities are amazing, the countryside and mountains are beautiful, the history is rich and ever-present… So, don’t let nature’s hostility dissuade you. It’s a great country!

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