Life of a Japanese Boy

Picture above taken from the document – The Sea and his life – My Father, Mieno Takeora and the translation is as follows: The first line refers to the approximate timing in Japanese years so the actual line reads “approximately Showa 28” or in our years, 1953. The rest of it translates to “In our Kyodo neighborhood, near our house, this shows us fishing for crawfish  in the small creek with my cousins, Norio and Kiyoshi.”

My fondest memories were the summers, chasing dragonflies and fishing for crawfish in the pond, using frogs for bait. Soon I learned “Tombo tsuri,” or fishing for dragonflies. My target was a breed called gin-chan, slightly larger than what we commonly see in America. The males were called Gin and flashed a bright blue abdomen. Females were the Chan and their abdomens were dark brown. The feat was to catch the females, tether them to the end of a fishing line, then turn them loose with a short tether. Soon, a male Gin would spot the female and try to light on her back in hopes of mating. This process drives both the male and female as a single clump to the ground, where a young boy can easily grab them and release the male into his awaiting cage and the process repeats. On a good day, I would catch a half-dozen Gins to show off to friends and family.