There are so many things to post about these days. I am backlogged! I have an important post coming for a former blogger as well. That will be coming soon.
But before we lose any more blogging buddies, I thought it’d be best I warned you that…
THERE ARE BLACK WIDOW SPIDERS IN JAPAN
It appears that these red backs are not satisfied with wreaking havoc merely in the Australian Outback – they’ve jumped on baggage and stowed away on airplanes and have made it to this island nation, too.
Unfamiliar with the black widow? It’s only an INCREDIBLY POISONOUS SPIDER whose vemon can KILL A HUMAN BEING if left unchecked. They say the red markings on the back of the females sometimes resemble that of an hourglass, denotating the REMAINING TIME YOU HAVE TO LIVE!
Black widows get their name from their colour, and their cannibalistic mating rituals in which the larger and more poisonous female consumes her male partner.
FORTUNATELY, there is an antivemon and since it’s invention in 1956 there has not been a single human death by widow bite reported. We might owe this partially to the AMOUNT OF PAIN these spider bites can cause. These ain’t your typical, “I’m itchy! Oh! I musta been bit by a spider” bites. Widow chomps can cause severe headaches and muscle pain. At least that way, you’re sure to notice if you’ve been bitten. Perfect reason to skip work and go to the hospital! (link)
HOWEVER, just 4 days ago on January 21, 2013 in a park in Fukuoka City, a 30-something year old man was BITTEN BY A REDBACK SPIDER (widow variant). The spider had been inside the receptacle of a vending machine, and when the man reached inside to grab the drink he bought he saw the spider on his arm. Before the man could react, the spider jumped inside his sleeve and… CHOMP! The man was bitten only once, but was hospitalized two hours later. He is allegedly in stable condition. (Japanese link)
So what do you do if you’re in Japan and fear that you’ve been stung by the love of a widow?
“Black widow spider” in Japanese is “kuro-go-ke-gumo” (クロゴケグモ) (literally, black back house spider – if you can’t remember the Japanese, at least remember the translation, as well as your best impression of Charlie Chaplan – you’ll need to gesture what the crap happened to you to the doctor).
Incidentally, the variation of spider that the poor chap in Fukuoka was bitten by is called se-aka-go-ke-gumo (背赤後家蜘蛛) (back red back house spider).
So, for the more advanced Japanese learner, I recommend calling 119 (the Japanese emergency number) and explaining, “kurogokegumo ni kamareta!” (“I was bitten by a black widow!”)
But for the foreigner with little to no Japanese experience, “Kumo! Amu amu (sareta)!” will suffice. This equates to,
“Spider! (I was) nomnom (ed)!”
Play it safe when you’re reaching for your canned coffee, folks! Coz remember, it’s a jungle out there!