Pokemon are real!
I couldn’t believe it the first time I saw it, but Pokemon really do exist… with a little imagination.
For those of you who don’t know what Pokemon are, they are little monsters that are kept in little balls (called Pokeballs). Pokemon are traded and collected. The monsters are then pitted against each other in battle to see which Pokemon/Pokemon Trainer is the strongest.
Children in Japan, catch, trade, and battle insects, small lizards, and crabs. Usually they keep them in bug cages, which are large and have food and water in them, but students that want to bring their bugs to school to trade or battle bring them in the little vending machine balls that children get key chains and other small toys from, aka Pokeballs.
Read up on the real world Pokemon the kids have pointed out to me in Japan.
Type: Beetle | Class: Battle and Breeding
Strength: This bug is just so cool, these beetles are great pets, and do not die particularly easily.
Weakness: These bugs can be bought in stores, so they do not count towards your bug catching skills, and can be quite expensive.
Description: This is the beetle of all beetles and it does it all. Children collect, breed, and battle them and are a must for any insect enthusiast. Food and supplies are sold in every store during the summer. There are many gambling rings in Japan where people bet on a beetle pitted in battle, the two beetles are placed on a log, which ever one can knock the other beetle off is the victor.
Image Source: Joi Ito
Type: Worm | Class: Scary, evolution
Strengths: These scare the pants off most Japanese people, especially the hairy ones. Only the bravest children will have a caterpillar in their collection. They also evolve, releasing your evolved butterfly/moth feels magical.
Weakness: Really scary.
Description: Although there is nothing dangerous about caterpillars in Japan, most people are scared of them. Most people say that it is because it reminds them of centipedes. Students will sometimes bravely capture caterpillars so that they can watch them evolve.
Type: Insect | Class: Singing
Strengths: The song is lovely, and most people really enjoy it.
Weakness: It will drool horrible brown stuff on you that is impossible to get off your hands.
Description: Children love bugs that have a song. Crickets are also fun to capture because they have such speedy jumps, children can feel like a cat hunting their prey. Patient bug catchers can capture a cricket with just their hands by tiring the bug.
Type: Beetle | Class: Beauty
Strength: These bugs are not very common, and they are very beautiful. It is a great point of pride to catch one of these bugs
Weakness: They are hard to find, and die easily.
Description: This is the jewel of any bug collection. Students can show off even if they have killed the insect.
Type: Lizard | Class: Battle Type
Strengths: Resilient, easily kept in a ball or cage and will not die
Weakness: Very good at escaping!
Description: Students love to battle Kanehebi, and Kanehebi are often found fighting, or breeding on sidewalks and in gardens all over town.
Image Source: KENPEI – KENPEI’s photo, CC BY-SA 3.0
Dragon Fly | Type: Flying
Class: Catch and Release
Strengths: Really fun to catch.
Weakness: These are not good to keep in cages, they don’t do well.
Description: Dragon Flies are mesmerizing. They seem to hover like a helicopter, and sometimes students pretend that they are spies (they often seem like they are watching you). They need a lot of space to fly so they are not often kept. They are fun to capture, but generally they are released almost immediately.
Type: Worm | Class: Scary, Dangerous
Weakness: Centipedes are one of the only poisonous bugs in Japan, they are scary and should not be caught.
Description: Bugs in Japan in general are very safe; centipedes however are poisonous. Centipedes pack a nasty bite, and should not be caught.
Image Source: Yasunori Koide
Type: Insect | Class: Singing
Strengths: Has a loud call, which delights children, they love hunting cicada
Weakness: Students cannot bring them to school because they are too loud.
Description: Cicada is synonymous with summer. The cry of the cicada is loud, and children love using their ears as their main tool for hunting cicada.