Subways, Burgers, and Very Big Bugs

There were a few things about Japanese subways I was expecting.

One was that it would be so crowded that there were special workers whose job it is to shove everyone on the subway. So far we haven’t come across this, and while it is crowded, it’s not ant more than a very busy day on a Montreal metro.

The other was the barriers that keep people from jumping on the tracks, since suicide has been on the rise in the last many years. This we have seen, though surprisingly only at a handful of stations and only about halfway up so you could easily jump over.




After seeing Seoul’s floor-to-ceiling barricades, I found this a little risky, a halfhearted attempt to ameliorate the situation. Then again, they chime relaxing bird songs from the stations’s speakers at regular intervals, so maybe they’ve found that to be more effective.

Anyhow, the reason we were on the subway at all was to go to harajuku, the fancy fashion district. And what did we, (ex) booksellers, do in said high fashion district?

We went to a bookstore.

Incredibly, I managed not to buy anything, my tiny apartment brimming already with more books than I have shelves for, but it was so wonderful to be able to browse through English books again. Korea does have English books to be fair, but not like this: an entire floor dedicated to foreign books and organized into sections instead of haphazardly shelved.

After that, we went to go get dinner and our noses led us up a giant mahogany staircase to an awesome burger joint.


Ate til completely stuffed and then headed out for more shopping (we might have found ourselves at another stationary shop and then an absurdly large toy store that could rival any in NYC).

On the way back, and much to Leslie’s distaste, I found a massive insect clinging to the wall in the subway station home. I’d seen a bid dead moth on our way there and taken a picture with another camera (which hasn’t been uploaded, thus the absence of its picture), but this one took the proverbial cake.


EDIT: Photo of dead moth uploaded – see below.


So there you have it – subways, burgers, and bugs. Today we’re heading off to mount Mt. Fuji, so I won’t be able to update until back. Hoping I’ll get more of my travel journal done too.

12 thoughts on “Subways, Burgers, and Very Big Bugs

    1. This one was being very quiet, but I was wondering if it was a cicada! It didn’t seem like a moth though which was my other thought, but I’m no entomologist.


      1. It sure looks like a cicada to me! I checked on Wikipedia if they have them there and this is what it said:

        “In Japan, the cicada is associated with the summer season. The songs of the cicada are often used in Japanese film and television to indicate the scene is taking place in the summer. The song of Meimuna opalifera, called “tsuku-tsuku boshi”, is said to indicate the end of summer, and it is called so because of its particular call. During the summer, it is a pastime for children to collect both cicadas and the shells left behind when moulting.

        Since the cicada emerges from the ground to sing every summer, in Japan it is seen as a symbol of reincarnation. Furthermore, the cicada moults, leaving behind an empty shell, but since the cicada lives for only a short time, long enough to attract a mate with its song and complete the process of fertilization, they are seen as a symbol of evanescence.

        In the Japanese novel The Tale of Genji, the title character poetically likens one of his many love interests to a cicada for the way she delicately sheds her scarf the way a cicada sheds its shell when molting. A cicada shell also plays a role in the manga Winter Cicada. They are also a frequent subject of haiku, wherein, depending on type, they can indicate spring, summer, or fall.”


  1. I too expected to get “shoved” into the subway cars, but we were both confusing Japan with China.
    That is the most colourful moth I’ve ever seen; they are usually quite plain.


  2. They can measure between 1-2 inches (25 – 51 mm) in length. They are large enough to keep around as pets but have an exceptionally short life span (about 24 hours) when they emerge in great numbers to mate and become meals to a great variety of bats and ground animals.
    Most of this I learned from Marta’s dvd’s of Planet Earth. Thanks Marta for allowing me to use your educational library.
    ” o )


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