They exist here in Japan in the most amazing phenomenon.
For those of you who don’t know what pokemon are, they are little monsters that are kept in little balls (called Pokeballs). Pokemon are traded and collected. The monsters are then pitted against each other in battle to see which pokemon/pokemon trainer is the strongest.
It is the most amazing thing, Pokemon really do exist…sort of. Children in Japan, catch, trade, and battle insects (and the small lizards and crabs that live here). Usually they keep them in bug cages, which are large and have food and water in them, but students that want to bring their bugs to school to trade or battle bring them in the little vending machine balls that children get key chains and other small toys from, aka Pokeballs.
Here is a run down of the bugs, lizards, and crabs that are real world pokemon, with their stats.
Most of what I’ve learned about bug catching has been from my students. My students are so enthusiastic about their bug catching. They love teaching me about the different bugs, the different techniques, and teaching me the different words for the different things they catch. It is so fun to learn from them, and it is so fun to participate. Last week, one of my schools had a big bug catching show-and-tell. It was amazing. The students all brought in the bug they were most proud of, and they told everyone why it was so special to them. Some of the students brought in extra bugs in Pokeballs so that they could trade. The bug catching season will be over when it gets cold, so this show and tell was a last hurrah for my students.
I think the practice of bug catching is an amazing part of Japanese culture. It gives children an enjoyable way to spend time outside. Students learn the value of patience, and learn to be gentle with living creatures. I think it really connects children with the world around them.