Jul 8, 2018

Pests or Friends? Appraising the local Niigata Wildlife

Out here in the inaka, there are plenty of bugs and wildlife. I mean, I can open my door and look out on rice fields teeming with all manners of creatures. Some animals out here are better off staying away from my home, like those Niigata bats (I don’t think I could ever get my wife back inside the house if one managed to fly in here!). Others, however, are what I consider a tenant's best friends out here.   My top three?


Pests or Friends? Appraising the local Niigata Wildlife photo


Pests or Friends? Appraising the local Niigata Wildlife photo


Pests or Friends? Appraising the local Niigata Wildlife photo

They’re all great for one major reason: keeping the mosquito and other pest population down. I figured when I moved out here with all of the soggy rice fields all around that my family and I would be eaten alive by mosquitoes and warding off roaches and other bugs every day. After all, we couldn’t go ten feet outdoors in our old home in Tokyo without getting bitten by at least one mosquito, and the battle against the bugs was a constant fight.

Our first summer here, however, we were surprised to find that getting a mosquito bite was a rare occurrence, only happening when we were in more densely populated parts of town. We also haven't seen a single roach [knock on wood] since we've been here.  We came to find out it was because of our friends around the house.

Swallows, frogs, and spiders each come with their own sets of nuisances (nobody likes having to clean up bird droppings or accidentally walking into a spider’s web), but they all like to snack on those pesky bugs that everyone dislikes. Considering mosquitoes are carriers for diseases like Japanese encephalitis, I say, bring on the birds, frogs, and spiders. The more the merrier.

Besides, spiders aside, I find the frogs and sparrows quite charming. Of course, I grew up on Japanese mukashi banashi (folk tales), and both of those animals play prominent roles in many of those stories.

What do you think? Pests or friends? Do you have any local creatures that you consider to be blessings? Feel free to share in the comments section below!



Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.

Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).