This week at Japanese calligraphy/brush writing class a classmate entered the room beaming and announced that he had “big news.” This is not typical behavior for this gentleman (actually for anyone) so clearly this was a big deal. A couple of students put down their brushes to hear his announcement but he wasn’t telling. Said he’d wait until he had the teacher’s attention. The teacher, not to be manipulated by an impudent student said her ears were open even while writing.
He took his time, maybe waiting for an inaudible drumroll, and then announced: I took 2nd place at The Cricket Contest. Everyone, teacher included, clapped. Yup, I clapped too.
No, this is not the British sport. This gentleman raises a variety of singing insects and has anywhere from 50-200 bell crickets, depending on the year and season. At a cricket contest, each participant is allowed to enter up to four (4) crickets. Prizes are given for the best song. The trick is to choose which four of your 200 crickets to enter. The best singer at home may be “too delicate” to withstand the trauma of being transported half way across Tokyo and so not perform well, or maybe even at all. You have to select the cricket who sings beautifully, travels well, and performs on demand. And here I thought Japanese brush-writing was difficult.