Japan

Most Traumatic Moment of 2012

February 18, 2013

This is a good month and a half overdue, but it’s officially 2013, so Happy New Year to anyone who stops by!

I realise that I haven’t been putting much time into this blog as of late. However, I’m not going to throw the towel in just yet. I have many things to talk about, and hopefully many more adventures to be had.

So to get the ball rolling, I’ll share with you my most terrifying moment of 2012.

I don’t really remember when exactly it happened, but I think it was sometime in the early autumn. Rhea and I had been on our walk, had our dinner, and were spending the rest of our night relaxing. With Rhea being only about 3kg, I have a set of doggy stairs beside my bed so that she doesn’t hurt herself trying to get up or down. Sometimes she likes to sit on top of them.

Separating my bedroom from my kitchen are a set of sliding doors. I usually leave them just a crack open. It keeps the heat or the cold in, depending on the season. Rhea likes to watch the door through the crack. She’s a brave guard dog.

So I’m watching TV, and Rhea is perched on her stairs doing her night guard duty, when suddenly she starts barking. It’s around 9:30pm, and people on my floor are coming home or going out. She doesn’t like people walking the halls when it’s dark, so her barking briefly at passers-by isn’t anything new.

I thought nothing of it.

But she kept barking.

And instead of running to the gate, which she normally does for footsteps, she stayed mounted on top of her stairs. Staring, and barking.

I sat forward, and peered in her direction.

This is what I saw.

his is an old photo of my apartment that I took shortly after I moved in. There’s more in there now, like a table, chairs, and a microwave. Pretty fancy stuff.  Also note, the cockroach is PERFECTLY TO SCALE.

his is an old photo of my apartment that I took shortly after I moved in. There’s more in there now, like a table, chairs, and a microwave. Pretty fancy stuff.
Also note, the cockroach is PERFECTLY TO SCALE.

After a definitely prolonged moment of panic coupled with horrified shaking, I did what any sane person would do. I grabbed the vacuum cleaner and tried to smash the nasty creature. Fortunately, I didn’t dent the wall. Unfortunately, I didn’t kill the unwelcome house guest. The roach scampered away, I assume to behind the white cabinet.

I ran back to my bed, and sat there staring at the wall, clutching the weapon in my hands. Rhea stayed behind me.

After calming down, I gained a bit of courage. Of course I wasn’t going into the kitchen alone, so I held Rhea in one arm, and poked around the cabinet the end of the vacuum (using it as a blunt weapon, not turned on), but the cockroach failed to reappear.

I had never dealt with cockroaches before. I’d seen them outside at night, running across the sidewalk, or flying around a bush, but they don’t seem to be much of a problem where I’m from in Canada. At least, not from my experiences. So I turned to trusty old Google, because as we know, the Internet is a wealth of trustworthy information.

On the website, Surviving Japan.com I read an article all about different types of roach killer, and it suddenly dawned on me that a former co-worker, and friend, had left a bunch of roach traps behind and in my possession. The only problem was the roach traps were in the white cabinet.

I needed at least one arm free to search for the traps, so I left Rhea behind, which I think she was quite thankful for. And I ventured back into the kitchen, but this time with a bottle of Fabreeze. I figured if I saw it again, I would Fabreeze it to death, and spare the walls any damage. I made it to the cabinet, and found the traps with no sightings. I then moved all of Rhea’s things (her food, bed, water, peepee pad) from the kitchen to my bedroom. I also moved a chair into my room, and put JJ (my hamster) on top of it. I made sure to keep closing the doors, to decrease the chances of the cockroach breaching the walls into the bedroom.

In hindsight, it seems a little drastic, but I wasn’t going to leave my beloved pets or their things in there for the cockroach to have its way with.

After everyone was settled into my bedroom, I opened the packge of ブラックキャップ (Black Cap) which contains food with poison. The hope is that the cockroach eats the food, and scurries back to its nest infecting EVERYONE.

blackcap

I placed six caps around my kitchen. Better safe than sorry.

For the next few days I avoided the kitchen as much as possible. Rhea and JJ remained in my bedroom, mostly because I didn’t want Rhea trying to eat the caps, and well I felt bad leaving JJ out there to fend for himself in case the cockroach returned.

I’ve never found a body, and since that day, I have never seen another cockroach in my apartment.

If you live in Japan, I hope you never have to deal with cockroaches, but the chances of that are slim. I’m on the fourth floor, and it’s rare to get them up here. I’ve read that neighbours moving in and out can bring or disturb cockroaches, and there’s always lots of that in my building. On the bright side, at least I had Rhea, my cockroach alarm! I keep thinking about what would have happened if she hadn’t spotted it, and I woke up in the middle of the night to it crawling all over my face…

One cute thing so you’re left with a more happy image in mind, is this cute website that I also originally found through Surviving Japan.com.

It’s a Cockroach Weather Forecast, and it predicts the level of cockroaches in various areas in Japan. We’re in the midst of a cold, rainy winter right now, so there aren’t many on the radar, but it’s cute to look at! .

gokiten

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  • Reply Midori February 18, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    My old apartment was on the 4th floor and we had those guys a few times. Cats are a decent roach radar too. But I recommend buying the spray. I cant hit those guys because I’m too scared! I can spray though. Spray and scream and just keep up both until it’s dead! Takes awhile.

    Current room on the 7th floor. No roaches. *knock on wood*

    • Reply Adrienne February 24, 2013 at 11:13 pm

      I’m not too scared to hit them, but if I did hit it and it died, I’d have NO idea how to get it out of my apartment, haha. I don’t know why, but a dead roach is scarier than an alive one.

      I hope you don’t get any! They’re such a pain.

      • Reply Midori February 25, 2013 at 7:35 pm

        I’ve only killed one. I chased it around the apartment, spraying and screaming, until it died. I had to get rid of it fast so the cats wouldnt eat it (with all that poison I sprayed, probably wouldnt have been too good for them). I used some cardboard-like paper, scooped it up, and flushed it. Shuddering and making weird noises the whole time (me, not the dead roach).

        Remember the Gokiburi air force attack that time I visited you and we got ice cream?

        • Reply Adrienne February 25, 2013 at 8:16 pm

          That’s one thing I’m worried about! If I do get a return roach, that they eat the poison, and Rhea eats it and gets sick.

          I DO! Every time summer comes I make sure I stay away from those dinosaurs now. It was horrible!

          • Salma April 1, 2013 at 9:09 pm

            At least you killed the ckocrcaoh in what I perceive as self-defense. When I was a child, my brother and I used to think of creative ways of torturing bugs in our backyard. From classic methods such as magnifying glass to pouring boiling water down ant holes, we would kill bugs out of enjoyment rather than self-defense.The point of my post…there is always someone worse than you. So no worries, sleep tight.

          • Adrienne April 2, 2013 at 11:30 pm

            I hope I killed it, haha. I never actually found the body, I just have never seen it again.

            Haha, I think that’s normal for kids. I never did that, mostly because I’ve always disliked bugs and never wanted to play with them… if you can count killing them as playing with them. Even my friends wearing the cicada skins on their shirts would freak me out.

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