Friday, June 19, 2009

Tadpoles Over Hamamatsu!

The strange raining tadpoles phenomenon has struck right here. Apparently, on Saturday morning, June 13th, a teacher discovered a mysterious pile of about thirty or forty dead tadpoles at the illustrious all-girl Seien High School in Hamamatsu. I'm becoming more and more intrigued. Fish and tadpoles falling from the sky?

We were delighted to learn a little bit about this particular (and peculiar) incident from actual eyewitnesses, but for various reasons-- including my wandering, inattentive mind-- anecdotal details remain sketchy.

And newspaper stories contradictory. According to the rumor someone related to me, the teacher found the tadpoles on a tennis court at the school, and this is seemingly confirmed by a news report in the Mainichi Daily News. However, The Japan Times story gives an inexact figure of "more than thirty tadpoles" scattered over a large radius on a "sports field." A few of our students attend the school and at least one is currently taking the biology class of the actual teacher who found the dead amphibians. I'm sure she has some interesting information to add, but I haven't talked to her about it yet.

Since this is so obviously the work of space aliens, I hope Mulder and Scully are on the case via some Japan-United States law enforcement exchange program. Or perhaps their Japanese equivalent.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A New Twist Has Been Added to the Miyagi Tadpole Mystery...

A 74-year-old woman in Miyagi prefecture says she actually saw tadpoles falling from the sky. That certainly deepens the mystery surrounding these piles of tadpoles and small fish. Assuming she's telling the truth-- and I have no reason to disbelieve her at this time-- it casts doubts on my "prankster hoax" theory, unless these jokers have access to relatively quiet aircraft. It's possible-- due to their commonplace nature-- an airplane or helicopter could fly over and be ignored, but who would go to such expense to rain tadpoles down on Miyagi? Could this be the work of birds or curiously selective waterspouts? This calls for some dedicated Forteans to fly themselves over here and investigate!

I'd do it myself but 1) I'm already over here and 2) I have to work for a living and my job isn't (unfortunately) "fulltime investigator of strange phenomena."

Friday, June 12, 2009

As Rainy Season Begins, a Mysterious Shower of Tadpoles

Rainy season officially began here in Japan on June 10th. We've been lucky in that while the season may have started, the rains themselves seem to be holding off until tomorrow or the beginning of the week. But more important than the upcoming month of almost constant downpours and frequent cockroach attacks are the reports coming in from Ishikawa prefecture of people finding dead fish and tadpoles in areas where there are no habitats for them. One hundred tadpoles in Nanao and Hakusan last week, tiny fish in Nakanoto, tadpoles again in Nanao and Wajima.

Theories? Some think birds dropped them, others speculate on water spouts or strong winds. My best guess is some human agent is involved, perhaps a lone prankster or a group of jokers (at least one expert quoted in the story agrees with me). If you remember, last November police in Osaka arrested a nutcase for releasing beetle larvae on a train to make women "get scared and shake their legs." Maybe this is the beginning of a new trend of creepy-crawly guerilla improv or performance art of some kind.

The Mystery Tadpoles of Japan, my friends.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hamamatsu is a Bum's Paradise

A mild climate, plenty of outdoor benches to sit on and booze it up, no laws against public alcohol consumption, lots of nooks and crannies for public urination-- if you're a lazy bum, Hamamatsu is the city for you. I'm not talking about homeless people. I'm talking about people with places to sleep and watch TV, but who'd rather hang out and drink all day and harrass passersby. The alcoholics, the shiftless, the layabouts, the good-for-nothings.

My people.

With the weather turning hot, the typical Japanese house without central air conditioning is too stifling to endure, so legions of middle-aged and elderly guys have been sitting on the benches downtown where they talk loudly, picnic, consume can after can of beer, shochu or chuhai and generally make a nuisance of themselves. There's one woman who regularly joins them. And, quite frankly, she intimidates the hell out of me because she's what we euphemistically call back home a "Crazy Person." She's bespectacled, looks like a mild-mannered young librarian, but is known for her frequent screaming outbursts. She has a temper, that one.

And speaking of screaming, some old guy absolutely went off yesterday at about 5pm. I'm not sure where he was because the architecture of the area creates lots of echoes that make locating a sound source difficult unless you're willing to go investigate. Which I am, but I was pretty busy with work at the time. Wherever he was, he began screaming something that sounded a little like "Byeahhhh!" every four or five seconds as if he were some kind of human car alarm system-- and kept it up for almost three hours. An impressive performance. Someone more sane or less drunk would've given into the throat pain after about thirty minutes and stopped, but not this guy. He had an angry, drunken song to sing and he wanted to share it with the world.


What's that? Someone invading your space? Alcohol making off with more brain cells?


Anyone care to call the cops? I'm sure he's not doing anything to help the area businesses attract customers.


A strange croaking scream. Towards the end of his show, someone must've begun talking to him because instead of croaking a single nonsense syllable, he began croaking out entire nonsense sentences. The responding voice seemed to be female, which created in my mind an image of a lunatic duet between Croaker-san and the Crazy Librarian, but perhaps a woman police officer was trying to reason with him.

"Sir, none of these people have tried to steal your idea for a perpetual motion machine. Perhaps you should just go home and sleep it off."


Late in the evening he quieted down and we heard no more from him. I hope the police officer talked him into going home, but he probably just passed out and slept all night on the sidewalk or up against a wall in the piss-smelling courtyard behind our office building. Of course, in America, he probably just would've been tasered, maced or shot. And about fifty people would've captured it on their cellphone video cameras.