Sunday, September 06, 2009

Beetle mania

The earliest memories have the strange impressions of defining the mythical in one's life.

Some memories during my kindergarten days stand out very vividly. One of them concerns the Japanese rhinoceros beetle.

Kabutomushi (Japanese rhinoceros beetle) has a special place in a kid's mind. It is a symbol of desirable things, and kindles the heart of the child in a way which is not simply comparable with any material possessions in adulthood.

It was the summer. I was five. Ms. Arai, our teacher, was playing the piano in the Kindergarten room. Suddenly, she acclaimed something on the black wood. It was a Japanese rhinoceros beetle. Moreover, it was the much desired male, with the strong horn protruding from the head. Nobody was quite sure how the beetle got onto the piano in the first place.

There was a commotion among the boys. Ms Arai, holding the beetle in her fingers, let us admire its beauty. It was a particularly fine specimen.

Ms Arai, apparently wanting to get rid of the creature as soon as possible, turned to a friend of mine near the piano, and said "Here. This is yours". She gave the Japanese rhinoceros beetle to the boy.

I became jealous. Oh, how I wanted that beetle! The fact that Ms Arai was very popular among us five year olds gave a further fuel to my jealousy.

It is the first memory of envying other in my life.

Adults might laugh at a kindergarten boy desiring a Japanese rhinoceros beetle. The mental life of a child is colored by primitive and yet finely tuned emotions. I vividly remember the flame set by the envious beetle to this day.

A Japanese rhinoceros beetle

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Every morning i enjoy your essay (both Japanese and English)so much. Thank you.
I see your ideas and mine as a story on feathers and cartloads of firewood, which appear in the dialogue between Mencius and a feudal king. This king came to seek Mencius’ advice about the way to become a good king who can bring benefit to his people. Mencius responded to his question by making an analogy which implied that this was an impossible mission: Should someone say to you, “I am strong enough to lift a hundred chun (about 70 kg) but not a feather; I have eyes that can see the tip of a new down feather but not a cartload of firewood,” would you accept the truth of such a statement? (Mencius Bk I, A7).

My capacity is too small, my English is too poor, but anyway I would try my best towards my present work.