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Please note his Pokemon t-shirt... this cartoon started in Japan in 1996, and has been going strong ever since, with plenty of spin-offs. For those of you who don't know, the premise of the series is that the world is full of little monsters that children catch, train, and then compete in battles with. I mention all this because there has been an increase in interest in bugs as pets since Pokemon took off; I think that maybe this is as close to catching a monster as a little kid actually can get, eh?
Bugs like crickets and beetles have a long history as pets in Japan. Why? They take up very little room and don't eat much; and crickets were especially liked because of the musical cricking they produced. Small cages containing crickets were once worn by ladies as fashion accessories; and no less an author than Lafcadio Hearn [1850-1904] himself wrote a mournful little rememberance of a pet cricket he had kept while living in the land of the rising sun [though I will need to do some digging to find the book it's in again]. But the point is it's not particularly unusual for this young boy and his friend next to him to both have plastic cages with beetles in them as pets... it would just be unusual in the United States, eh?
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