Freelance Announcer Aika Kanda: Just before the rainy season, over 100 animals appear on her balcony | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Freelance Announcer Aika Kanda: Just before the rainy season, over 100 animals appear on her balcony

Aika Kanda: Me, Pink, and Sometimes New York

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Illustration by Kanda-san

Every year since three years ago, there has been one that always appears on our balcony in May, just before the rainy season. Its whole body is a vivid sunset color, and it is smaller than a sesame seed. It moves quickly as if it is being chased by something. I have no idea where he came from. If you are able to guess at this point, “Oh, that’s him! I am sure that you must have a sunny balcony at home, or you must have observed the dry concrete with your eyes.

I moved into my current apartment five years ago. I bought it because I liked the large balcony. For the first two years, I didn’t know he existed and spent my time there eating breakfast, drinking beer, and doing whatever I wanted. But in the spring of three years ago, when the new coronavirus began to spread and the first state of emergency was declared, I was home for longer hours, and suddenly I noticed them scurrying about on the balcony floor. There were more than 100 of them.

By the way, I hate bugs! I had to find out what kind of insects they were and find a way to get rid of them, so I called the local health department. They replied, “It’s red mites, isn’t it? Do you have a sunny balcony? They are often found in such places. There is no particular way to get rid of them, but they naturally disappear after the rainy season, so you should be fine.

The real name of the mite is “Kabeana Takara Mite. Its body length is 0.3 to 1.0 mm, and it is active from early spring to early summer. It is said that they do not sting people, but they may itch if they come into contact with the fluid that is released when they are crushed. Incidentally, the red color of the body fluid does not come off even after washing if it adheres to clothes.

I read on the Internet that if you sprinkle water on them, they will flow away and disappear, so I sprinkled water on them. It was true that at that moment they disappeared, but soon they sprang up out of nowhere, and the next day the same situation occurred. I thought about using insecticides, but I gave up on that because it didn’t seem to be good for my health to spray the whole area.

One day, I met a young and pretty wife living next door in the elevator and told her about the red mites. She told me that they had appeared on her balcony, that she had researched their ecology on the Internet, and that she had been repeating the watering method every day. It turned out that both neighbors were doing exactly the same thing. We had no way of doing anything about it.

And so the rainy season began. During that time, whenever the weather cleared up even a little, they appeared again, but when the rainy season ended and summer came, just as I had heard, not a single one of them appeared. However, the next year and the following years, they always appeared only during that period in May. It has become a tradition in our house.

The great victory was short-lived, but I never expected it to be here.

In early spring this year, I was in the elevator with that wife for the first time in a while, and I said to her, “It’s almost the season for red mites, isn’t it? Please let me know if you have any good insecticides. She replied, “Actually, I found a very good insecticide! I’ve tried several kinds, but that one works the best! My family has already shoveled it! I’ve bought some and I’ll bring it next time! He answered with a hearty smile.

The next day, a large 30-centimeter-long spray can in a Christian Dior paper bag was placed in front of the front door. It had a gold base color with a thick red line and a big yellow sign that read, “For Professionals! written in yellow. I laughed at the fact that the pretty wife had arrived at the crazy insecticide, but when she gives it to others, she puts it in a luxury brand paper bag, which is adorable.

I immediately put it along the edge of the balcony, hoping that it would work! I sprayed a round spray along the edge of the balcony, hoping it would work.

Then May arrived. Usually, the balcony would have been a big field day for red mites, but …… not a single one appeared! Yes, we had finally won the three-year battle against the red mites! Unbelieving and happy, I walked barefoot on the balcony.

After that, I forgot all about the red mites, opened the window, and vacuumed in the living room with a good feeling. I moved the magazines off the floor; one or two. At that moment, a small sunset-colored dot moved quickly. What?” I brought my face close to it and looked into its eyes to make sure it was right. It was the …… guy. There was a guy in the house. And there were two of them. Did he go through the screen door looking for a place to escape? Or had they been in the house to begin with? Thus, the battle between me and the red mite changed places, and the bell rang.

© Kazuki Shimomura

Born in 1980 in Kanagawa Prefecture. After graduating from Gakushuin University with a degree in mathematics, she joined NHK as an announcer in 2003, and left in 2012 to become a freelance announcer. Since then, she has been active mainly in variety shows, and currently makes regular appearances as the main MC of the daytime TV program “Poka Poka” (Fuji Television Network).

From the June16-23, 2023issue ofFRIDAY

  • Text and illustrations by Aika Kanda

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