I set my first Mukade on fire this morning.
It came running out of the laundry that had just been brought in and Knox came running and said, "Mommy, it's a snake!" He was really excited.
A Mukade is a very poisonous Japanese centipede. If you just touch it, you get a rash. If it bites you, it's very painful, but you'll be ok unless you have a bee-type allergic reaction. They are very scary looking and very fast. Unfortunately, they are kinda all over the place during the summer. My friend found one curled up in her bath loofah. My neighbor woke up with one crawling on her face. Ugh.
When I first got to Japan I had a Mukade phobia. I had heard about them on our pre-JET message board, and when I got here, to this strange and dirty apartment that was completely furnished with someone else's things, I looked for them everywhere. I only started to go to the bathroom at night without the light within the past month or two. I was always wary of the dreaded Mukade, and whatever else might be lurking in this faraway land.
Well, I didn't have a personal Mukade experience until this morning. I'm glad I didn't see one while I was still holding on to irrational fears... but I do have a baby here; that's why I was on such high alert. Now I'm more familiar with the ways of the Mukade.
I kept telling Knox that it was very dangerous and to always run away if he saw anything like that. Knox was pointing at it saying, "Abunai!" That means something akin to that's dangerous, watch out! Parents are constantly saying it to their kids, and it's probably the first Japanese I learned in Japan. He was happy to stay with me at first while Peter was taming the beast, but then he started crying and was very upset. I asked him if he wanted to go and see the Mukade, and he said, "Uh huh." So, we went to see it. Then he was happy, calling it both a snake and a Mukade.
I heard that you have to set them on fire to kill them. I don't know if this is a myth - it sounds like a myth - but after bludgeoning it with a shoe and spraying it with special-super-toxic Mukade spray, it was still squirming a lot, so we went ahead and set it on fire.
It was an exciting morning, and now I know to be more afraid of the laundry than the toilet.