This insect is also a kind of leaf beetle. But its color and shape are just so ordinary, not unique at all. So it is very difficult to identify name of this leaf beetle. I think that this is "kaede hamushi" in Japanese. If so, its scientific name is Pyrrhalta seminigra. But I don't have any confidence. Please let me know if I made a mistake. Thanks. 1/16/2011: Anonymous someone told me that scientific name of this insect is Lema decempunctata.Japanese name is the insect is Tohoshi-kubi-boso-hamushi".
This insect looks like lady bug. But this is also a kind of leaf beetle named "Heri guro tentou nomi hamushi" in Japanese. Wow. Variety of leaf beetles is amazing! Scientific name of this leaf beetle is Argopistes coccinelliformis. This is also endemic in Japan, probably. It eats Japanese privet, holly, etc.
This is also a kind of leaf beetle named "kibeti kubi hoso hamushi" in Japanese. Scientific name is Lema adamsii. The color of this beetle (yellow and black) is very vivid. This leaf beetle is probably endemic in Japan. But I'm not sure.
ハムシの仲間は本当にたくさんいて、同定が大変です。このハムシは、おそらくアカクビホソハムシです。アカクビホソハムシは色のバリエーションに富んでいて、全体が黒っぽく首から上だけが赤いものから、下の写真のように全体がオレンジ色で、黒の斑点が背中にあるものまでさまざまです。アカクビホソハムシの学名はLema diversa。英語の common nameはないようです。分布は日本だけだと思われますが、確証はないです。
There are so many kinds of leaf beetles. The photo above is probably "akakubi hoso hamushi" in Japanese that means red-necked thin leaf beetle. Color variation of this leaf beetle is various. Scientific name of this insect is Lema diversa. It seems that there is no English common name. Probably, it is endemic in Japan. But I'm not sure.
ヒガンバナが家の前の線路際に咲き始めました。花火のようで綺麗ですね。花の綺麗さとは裏腹に、球根にアルカロイド（リコリン）を多く含む有毒植物で、誤食した場合は吐き気や下痢、ひどい場合には中枢神経の麻痺を起こして死に至るそうなので、要注意ですね。戦時中には毒抜きをして非常食としたようですが、素人がやると危険なので、絶対にしてはいけないそうです。ヒガンバナの英名は red spider lily。学名はLycoris radiata と言うそうです。
In front of my house, there is a rail track. Along to the rail track, now red spider lilies are blooming. The flowers are like fire works. They are so beautiful. But despite its beauty, it has toxin (alkaloid) in its bulb. If people eat it by mistake, it cause nausea, diarrhea, and, in severe case, death by paralysis of central nervous system. During WWII, people ate it after removing the toxin, it is very dangerous. So please don't try to eat it! Scientific name of this plant is Lycoris radiata. Japanese name is "Higan bana". "Higan" is one of Japanese Buddhist holidays that is always around autumn equinox. "Higan bana" blooms around the holiday.
When I was in my garden, a very small damselfly-like insect flew away in front of my eyes. It was amazingly thin. I checked its name and found that it is not a damselfly, but a kind of bee named "Konbou yase bachi" in Japanese that means club-shaped thin bee. It is a parasite bee. The bee that I took pictures is female, since it has a very long ovipositor. The tip of ovipositor is white. Its body is black with few orange stripes. Its scientific name is Gasteruption japonicum. It distributes probably Korea and China, besides Japan (I found web pages that introduces this bee in Korean and Chinese. But since I can't read Korean and Chinese, I'm not sure. Sorry.). Anyway, I was surprised that there is a bee that has such a very unique shape.
Schlegel's Japanese gecko [名] ニホンヤモリ gecko / house lizard [名] ヤモリ
ニホンヤモリの赤ちゃんが部屋に紛れ込んでいました。写真を撮って逃してあげました。ヤモリの赤ちゃんって目が大きくてかわいいんです。ヤモリの漢字ですが、ずっとヤモリだと思っていました。ところがいろいろ調べて見たところ、守宮と書くのが正しいようです。どちらにせよ、昔の日本人はヤモリが守ってくれていると感じていたんですね。英語の common name は Schlegel's Japanese gecko、学名は Gekko japonicus と言うそうです。学名に japonicus と付きますが、ユーラシア大陸からの外来種だそうです。
I found a baby Japanese house lizard in my room. I caught it and took pictures, then I put it on a tree outside of my house. Its English common name is Schlegel's Japanese gecko. Its scientific name is Gekko japonicus. Despite its scientific name, it is not endemic in Japan. It was derived from Eurasia. Chinese character of this lizard is "守宮" or "家守" that means lizard that protect house. It seems that ancient Japanese believed that the lizard is a god of houses.
I found a shield bug, which probably I had not seen. I thought that it was similar to "Kusagi kamemushi", which I have introduced before (click here). But I felt something different, so I took a picture and checked it carefully, Its texture, hind legs and wings were different from "Kusagi Kamemushi"'s one. In the result of web search, I found that it is "Houzuki kamemushi" that means "shield bug that eats Houzuki (=Chinese lantern plant). There are so many kinds of shield bugs!!! Its scientific name is Acanthocoris sordidus. It distributes Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, China.
I saw a butterfly named "Hikage chou" that means "butterfly that prefers shade" (see upper photo). I have introduced a very similar butterfly named "Hime jyanome" (see below photo). The difference between the two is pattern on their front wing (compare carefully!). "Hikage chou" doesn't have a big eye-like dot on its front wing, in contrast, "Hime jyanome" has it. Scientific name of "Hikage chou" is Lethe sicelis. It is endemic in Japan.
This is "Ibo batta" that means locust with warts in Japanese. This locust is also very good at camouflaging. It has cloggy body as its name and also has black lines on its hind legs. Its scientific name is Trilophidia japonica. As you noticed from its scientific name, it is endemic in Japan.
バッタの中で一番子供の頃に捕まえたかったのは、やっぱりトノサマバッタでしょう。その頃は私が住んでいる多摩川の河口付近ではトノサマバッタはあまりいなくて、少し上流の狛江市辺りまで行ってトノサマバッタがたくさんいるのを見て、びっくりした記憶があります。ところが今日はトノサマバッタを4匹も見ました。２匹は飛んで逃げてしまったけれど、あの飛び方と大きさはトノサマバッタでした。緑色っぽかった気がします。私が撮影できた２匹は茶色いタイプでした。久しぶりにトノサマバッタを見て、童心に帰って嬉しかったです（しょっちゅう童心に帰ってるとか言わないで下さいね。）。トノサマバッタの英語のcommon name は migratory locust、学名はLocusta migratoria。どちらの名前もこのバッタが密度が高い環境で育った場合に、migration (渡り) をする飛蝗と呼ばれるタイプになる事に由来します。私は一度テレビ番組で飛蝗を見ましたが（他所の国だったと思います）、それはすごい数のトノサマバッタが田畑、草木を食い付くし、ものすごいとしか言いようがなかったです。分布はアフリカ、アジア、オーストラリア、ニュージーランドだそうです。
I really wanted to catch migratory locusts, when I was a kid, since it's so cool. At that time, I did not see the locust close to my house (at bank of the mouth of the Tama river), thus I had to go to bank of upstream of Tama river. But today, I saw four of them at the bank of the mouth of the Tama river. I took pictures of two of them. I was so excited. Scientific name of the locust is Locusta migratoria. It distributes throughout Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The name was derived from its migratory feature. According to Wikipedia, the locusts are highly mobile, and usually fly with the wind at a speed of about 15-20 km/h. Swarms can travel about 5-130 km or more in a day. The locust swarms can vary from less than one square kilometre to several hundred square kilometres with 40 to 80 million locust per square kilometre. An adult locust can consume its own weight (about 2 grams) in fresh food per day. For every million locusts, one ton of food is eaten. I saw it on TV once. It was just like "Wow".
I found a well camouflaged cicada on a tree singing a very unique song sounds like "housi...tsukutsuku houshi...tsukutsuku...". So its name is "Tsukutsuku boushi" in Japanese. There is no English common name. Its scientific name is Meimuna opalifera. It distributes in Japan, Korea, China and east Asia.
I saw a beautiful green beetle close to my house. This beetle is common in Japan. I checked distribution of this beetle in other countries, but I was not able to find it. The beetle may be endemic in Japan. Its scientific name is Anomala albopilosa. Although the adult is very beautiful, both the adult and the larva are pests for farmers.
In the museum at the botanical garden of Hokkaido University, I saw a famous Sakhalin Husky named Taro who had survived at the south pole for 1 year after the Japanese expedition team left him there. Actually, not only Taro, but also Jiro had survived at the south pole together. "Taro and Jori" or "Story of the south pole" are very famous movies in Japan. I did not know that Taro was stuffed and has been displayed in the museum, so I was so surprised. His mate, Jiro, has been displayed in the National Museum of Nature and Science at Ueno, Tokyo and I saw him once. Since "Taro" and "Jiro" had survived in the very severe weather together, I did not expect that they are separated that far. I experienced a feeling of awe, when I saw him and thought about his life in the south pole (It must have been so tough!).
There are many stuffed animals in museum in the botanical garden of Hokkaido University. Actually, I don't like stuffed animals, but I felt still cute when I saw a frying squirrel. In Japan, we call frying squirrel "Momonga" that doesn't mean squirrel. So I almost forgot that frying squirrels are closely related to squirrel. The above photo is Russian frying squirrel that lives in Hokkaido and Eurasia. Ainu, which are the native people in Hokkaido, called the frying squirrel "Atsu kamui" that means infestant gods. I love the feeling of Ainu or ancient Japanese that felt gods in animals and the mother nature.
This is an empty shell of sea urchin. I found it a seaside close to Otaru in Hokkaido. Probably, this is a shell of Purple sea urchin. Japanese name of sea urchin is Uni. The empty shell is very beautiful, isn't it? I ate raw sea urchin on rice (Uni don) at Otaru. That was delicious
I love flowers of cosmos. I saw many flowers of this plant in Hokkaido. It is native to scrub and meadow areas in Mexico (where the bulk of the species occur), the southern United States (Arizona, Florida), Central America and northern South America south to Paraguay. In 18's century, it was sent to Spain and named "cosmos". In Japan, it was imported around 1888. As you know, cosmos means universe. I like the naming.
北海道大学の有名な avenue of poplars (ポプラ並木) を見て来ました。ちょっと風が吹いていましたが、ポプラが遮ってくれてました。防風林 (windbreakもしくはshelterbelt) として役立っているのかも。私達が散歩していた時は誰も他に人がおらず、北海道大学の広さと、ゆったりした時間の流れが心地よかったです。冬は寒いけれど、北海道に住んでみたいなって思いました。
I went to see the famous avenue of poplars in Hokkaido University. It was little windy, but the poplars prevented the wind. So these trees are actually working as a windbreak (shelterbelt). When we were there, no one was there. I felt great. Although it is very cold in winter, I would like to live in Hokkaido once.
Cardiocrinum cordatum var. glehnii [名] オオウバユリ (大姥百合）
北海道では不思議な実をたくさん見ました。下の写真はオオウバユリという植物の実だそうです。学名はCardiocrinum cordatum var. glehnii 。本州の中部以北、北海道に分布し、やや湿り気のある林内、林縁に自生する。関東地方以西から四国、九州に分布するウバユリより大型で、花の数も多い。ウバユリは姥百合と書くんだそうで、花の咲く時期には葉が枯れているのを、「葉（歯）がもう無い」、すなわち娘が花のように美しく成人した頃には，乳母はもう歯のない姥になるのに例えてこの名が付けられたそうです。娘が成人した頃に乳母は歯がない？なんかピンと来ませんが、大昔の話なんでしょうね。
I saw lots of interesting fruit in Hokkaido. The photo shows fruit of "O uba yuri". "O" means big. "Uba" means nanny, and "yuri" means lily. In Japan, leaves are called "ha" and also teeth are called "ha". These two words are homonymous. In old days, nanny lost their teeth (ha in Japan) by the time girls who were take care of became adults and beautiful like flowers. This plant loses its leaves (ha in Japanese) by the time it has flowers. So the naming was a pun, ha ha (I don't think that it's funny actually though). The plant distributes north part of Japan. Scientific name of this plant is Cardiocrinum cordatum var. glehnii.
I saw a honey bee in Hokkaido University. There are two subspecies of honey bee in Japan. One is European honey been (alternative name is Western honey bee), and Japanese honey bee. The two are very similar. European honey bee's abdomen is more yellowish than Japanese honey bee's one. You can distinguish these two by lines on their rear wings, too. My photos are not so good to see the difference unfortunately. Scientific name of European honey bee is Apis mellifera, and that of Japanese is Apis cerana. I think that honey bees are very interesting, since drones (males) hatch from unfertilized eggs and females (Queens and worker bees) hatch from fertilized eggs. Queens and worker bees are genetically the same. Both workers and queens are fed "royal jelly" during the first three days of the larval stage. However workers are switched to a diet of pollen and nectar or diluted honey, while those intended for queens will continue to receive royal jelly. This causes the larva to develop to the pupa stage more quickly, while being also larger and fully developed sexually. Since males hatch from unfertilized egg, they have half numbers of chromosomes compared with females. So it seems that sperms from them skip meiosis and contain entire chromosomes. Otherwise, chromosome numbers will be decreased. It is really interesting, isn't it?
北海道ではたくさんのノシメトンボを見ました。羽の先が黒いのが特徴です。分布は日本国内では北海道から九州南部にかけて、国外では朝鮮半島、中国、ロシアに分布しているそうです。英語の common name はないようで、学名は Sympetrum infuscatum だそうです。
I saw lots of "Noshime tombo" in Hokkaido. This dragonfly has wings with black tip. It distributes in Japan, Korea, China, and Russia. There is no English common name. Its scientific name is Sympetrum infuscatum.
I saw a statue of Dr. Inazō Nitobe in Hokkaido University. He studied at Hokkaido University and at Tokyo University. Then he studied economics and political science at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Since I had been working close to the University in Maryland, I'm little glad and am wondering how Maryland state was at that time. In later life, he held critical views on increasing militarism in Japan in the early 1930's. He fought with the militarism. According to English Wikipedia, he is perhaps most famous in the west for his work Bushido: The Soul of Japan (1900), which was one of the first major works on samurai ethics written originally in English for Western readers. I think that he was an actual samurai who had courage to say "No" to the really stupid militarism (Generally, it is very difficult to be against public pressure in Japan).
先週北海道に行った際には、有名なクラーク博士の胸像も見ました。クラーク博士が生徒に残した "Boys be ambitious!" という言葉は有名ですが、ambitious って「大志」と訳せば良いですが、「野心」と訳すと何だか欲にまみれた政治家を思い出すので、別にこの言葉に感動した事ってなかったんです。でも英語版のWikipediaに full quote (全引用) が載っていました。Full quote は、"Boys, be ambitious. Be ambitious not for money or for selfish aggrandizement (権力・地位などの強化), not for that evanescent (一過性の) thing which men call fame (名声). Be ambitious for that attainment (学識、技能、偉業) of all that a man ought to be." だそうです。これなら私にも頷けます。
Last week when I went to Hokkaido, I saw a very famous statue of Dr. William S. Clark who had taught students in Hokkaido University during 1876-1877. When he went back to the US, he said "Boys be ambitious!". This story is very famous in Japan. But I had not touched by today, since ambitious person is not always a good person like the current president in the US. But I found a full quote in English Wikipedia. Dr. Clark actually said that "Boys, be ambitious. Be ambitious not for money or for selfish aggrandizement, not for that evanescent thing which men call fame. Be ambitious for that attainment of all that a man ought to be." Now I understand what he meant.
北海道大学のポプラ並木で一匹のセイヨウオオマルハナバチが忙しそうに草むらを飛び回っているのを見ました。尻尾の先が白いのがこの蜂の特徴です。この蜂はヨーロッパ原産で、温室のトマトの受粉を媒介するために日本に1992年頃に導入されましたが、現在は温室から逃げ出したこの蜂が日本在来種のマルハナバチの生存を脅かして問題になっているそうです。英語のcommon nameは buff-tailed bumblebee または large earth bumblebee。学名は Bombus terrestrisと言うそうです。英語版のWikipediaによると、このハチの行動範囲は13 km にもなるそうです。行動範囲が広いですね。
I saw a bumblebee in Hokkaido University. It was very busy looking for something under grasses. Name of this bumble bee is buff-tailed bumblebee or large earth bumblebee that is one of the most numerous bumblebee species in Europe. Scientific name of this bumble bee is Bombus terrestris, Their white-ended abdomens are really distinctive. According to Wilkiedia, this bee can navigate their way back to the nest from a distance as far away as 13 km. In Japan, it was imported around 1992 as a pollenizer of Tomatos in green houses. But it escaped from the green houses, scaring native Japanese bumblebees off. It is a big problem in Japan now.
Cattail is called "Gama" in Japanese. Its alternative name is corndog grass. I think that it looks like a corndog more than a cat's tail. By the way, Japanese call corndog "American dog". If you have a chance to visit Japan and would like to eat a corndog in Japan, you need to say "An American dog please".
This is a plant that I saw at the botanical garden in Sapporo. It has flowers at the top and has berries at the bottom of the stem. So I thought that it is interesting. Name of this plant is American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana). As the name is telling, it is native to north America. It came to Japan after early Meiji period. It is also called inkberry, because its juice dyes clothes. In America, it was used for artificial color for wine. However, since it is highly toxic (it includes phytolaccatoxin and phytolaccigenin), now it is not used for the purpose anymore. Deaths are currently uncommon, although there are cases of emesis and catharsis. We need to be careful not to take it.