April 2011

The cold season has passed, and the warm weather will return soon. Mostly, I'm happy about that. Winter is not my favourite season, even though I'm from Canada. Actually, maybe that's why I don't like winter very much. Where I come from, winter lasts for five months, and is very, very cold. So everybody is very happy when spring finally arrives.

But there's one thing I like about winter, especially here in Japan. There are NO MOSQUITOS.

I hate mosquitos. A lot. Unfortunately, they don't hate me at all. In fact, mosquitos seem to love me more than anyone. They'll always prefer to come to me rather than anybody else. In fact, whenever I'm with a group of people, I think everybody else is safer from mosquitos just because I'm around.

When I was a child, my family would spend a week every summer living in a wooden cabin out in the countryside. It was a nice cabin, but the walls were very thin, and it was easy for mosquitos to come in. And come in they did. Every night, we used to lie awake listening to dozens or even hundreds of mosquitos, singing around us in a kind of horrible harmony. I think it was a kind of trauma for me. To this day, I can't stand the sound of mosquitos.

Still, at least in Canada, the mosquitos are all dead by the end of October. Japan is a much warmer country, and they live for a long time. And the mosquitos here are huge and evil. But the worst thing of all is that they keep finding ways to get into my apartment. All through last fall, I fought a constant battle against invading mosquitos. And every time I thought they'd finally all died, I would be woken up in the night by another one humming around me. Even in early December, I was still finding them.

I got pretty good at hunting them down, though. I would search my apartment with a flashlight until I found and eliminated each one. One day I found six within a single hour. My students tell me about a game they like called "Monster Hunter". I should tell them that I have to hunt real monsters in my own apartment!

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