About some unpleasant living things that the rainy season can also bring crawling into your home. It is one of the few things I don’t like about Japan─the “gokiburi” or cockroach in English.

In my opinion, roaches must be one of the most repulsive creatures on earth. They find their way into your house and can scare the heck out of you when they are crawling along the floor or popping out of a drawer. Roaches eat anything, but it helps to put away food in tight containers and to vacuum the floor and to keep things as clean as possible. They also need water, so never keep any water in your sink overnight (that’s when they are most active). Or better yet, wipe the sink with a dry towel before going to bed. Another thing that many are not aware of is that roaches love beer, and thus, leaving your empty cans lying around is a sure way to get unwanted company. Roaches can live anywhere, but they like cardboard the best. So, if your place is full of boxes, watch out! 

There are some other things you can also do to at least make their lives a bit harder with the hope that they will leave you and find some other poor first-timer in Japan to torment instead.

There are many products available to help you in the battle with the “evil”.
There are classic little roach houses named “Gokiburi Hoi Hoi” (see photo)

equipped with glue and bait inside, where the roaches get stuck in for life once they step inside.There are also small boxes with poison inside for the roach to eat. The fulfilled roach then goes back to his hiding place, dies and gets eaten by other roaches, which will die sooner or later. This high-end roach trap is called “Combat” (see photo). Product name illustrates that this is in fact a man-versus-roach war.

I myself have a dog and so I do not want to use a lot of chemicals in case she would eat it by mistake. I use two natural things that seem to be working pretty well and if you have small children at home you may want to try this too. I put baking soda and bay leaves in small containers and put these in drawers and cupboards. It really seems to help. For some reason that only God knows─roaches don’t like baking soda and bay leaves…

Of course, if you spot one, you can always chase them with a slipper, but in my experience, the roach always seems to be faster…….(A.H.)