Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Last night was my first night in our new home in the countryside. We have well water and no city water. We have a septic tank and no sewage. We have a propane tank for energy (hope to replace soon with solar). I do have ADSL and wifi though. ;-)

This morning I woke up to the sound of song birds and insects. In fact, the sound of insects is non-stop. There are lots and lots of bugs. There are huge spiders and things jumping and crawling all over our lawn. This morning Mizuka pointed out a preying mantis. She said there were two of them hanging around until yesterday. I found the remains of papa Mantis on the floor. It's probably time for Mrs. Mantis to lay her eggs. Next year we will have a zillion baby Mantis's around.

I used to love insects (at least most insects), but I had grown used to not seeing too many of them in Tokyo. I'm going to have to get used to this total insect immersion. On the other hand, it is so quiet here, I slept better last night than I have in months.


Sounds idyllic still. But I do hope you have a sewer system soon. Wouldn't want the place to stink out ;)


I love the noise of bugs at night. The "roaring silence" to be cliche. Nothing gets me to sleep faster than that.
Odddly enough, the whir and hum of fans from my computers does not seem to achieve the same effect. :)

Most of the insects around my place here in Saitama have died out for the approaching winter, but I did manage to find a mantis on the sidewalk yesterday. The last week has been good to me and my new camera insect-wise. Joi: You'll probably find the bug quantity now is nothing compared to the middle of next summer. =)

More insects.

I like the picture of the mantis. To be very pedantic though, for someone who did not even know what a mantis was 5 minutes ago, I think it might be "praying mantis", not "preying mantis."


"Although the female mantis has the habit of eating the male after mating, its name suggests a more benign activity. Mantis is from the Greek word mantis, meaning “prophet, seer.” The Greeks, who made the connection between the upraised front legs of a mantis waiting for its prey and the hands of a prophet in prayer, used the name mantis to mean “the praying mantis.” This word and sense were picked up in Modern Latin and from there came into English, being first recorded in 1658. Once we know the origin of the term mantis, we realize that the species names praying mantis and Mantis religiosa are a bit redundant."

You're probably right Setsunai. I Googled for "preying mantis" and came up with a bunch of results for "preying mantis" so I had thought it was the right spelling. I just Googled for praying mantis preying spelling and found this page which says, "the name is also spelled "preying" by some." Having said that, most of the sites about this creature which look scientific seem to spell it praying mantis.

Joi, Welldone on the Move. Omedeto! (virtual hikkoshi soba sent your way)My parents moved to a 16th century country cottage and they are surrounded by sheep and cows that make there own noises. It is fitting that someone who has been so successful in the world of IT should have to be surrounded by Bugs even in your idyllic retreat! Maybe you should ask Sen and Hirata-san to do some Debugging for you!

I can completely relate Joi with my move from DC to AZ. I am still on city water/sewer, but otherwise it's very peaceful I saw deer just around the corner from my place this week. Although you may want to keep that propane as a reserve after you get solar, just in case.

After twenty years in downtown Tokyo, I moved to the countryside in Kumamoto early this year and haven't looked back. There was a preying mantis on my screen yesterday also! Are they trying to send us a message?
Sleep well. I know just what you're talking about.

Perhaps you slept so well as you now are finally in your ideal home. Its sounds like quite a place too.

It's nobody's business but yours, and you're probably not going to want to answer ... but I'll ask anyway: how much did your new place cost? In the U.S. homes that are not connected to city services are much cheaper than those that are connected.

And what's your commute like?

I'm going to dodge the answer by saying that the purchase price per square foot is 1/500 of the value of the land I was renting before. I think it's probably about 1/1000 of the price per square foot of the land that the new Prada shop is built on. ;-) I took the train in yesterday and it was one hour. Move one hour out of town and the price drops by 500 times. Amazing.


Is the one hour commute station to station (your station to, say, Ueno)? Or door to door, home to office? Can you sit down on the train? How do you get from your house to the station?

With respect to the home purchase, the conventional wisdom is that it's not so smart to buy property in Japan, since it is depreciating at about 5% a year and looks like it will continue to do so for another five years at least. A little figuring with a financial calculator will show that the value of the property will quickly fall below your remaining mortgage value, making it impossible to relocate or refinance without making up the considerable loss to the bank. If you are able to pay all cash, you lose money on your investment and there is an opportunity loss in tying up the money in a money-losing investment.

Question: why did you purchase instead of lease? Is property in the wilds of Chiba not falling in value? Or have you just decided you don't care, and you want to "own" your house for psychological reasons? Or so you can drive nails in the wall? ;-)

(I'm thinking of buying property myself, so that's why I ask these things.)

It's a 1 hr train ride. It's a 10 min drive to the station and a 10 min cab ride from the station to the office. I can get a seat since we're in the boonies.

I wouldn't buy to invest, but since it was quite a cheap house compared to Tokyo and I want to put some work into it, I decided to buy. The interest rates are very low in Japan right now and the mortgage that I am paying is about 1/60th of th rent I was paying for my last house.

I wouldn't necessarily recomment investing in real estate, but if you find a dream house in a reasonable zone, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to buy. It really depends on where you are in your life.

great pic, more insect pics on the blogosphere please!

Greetings from a mantis fan in Virginia. A few years back, our screened porch was chosen by the mantis community as a mass hatching facility and we woke up one day to find scores of tiny mantis clinging to the screen. Ironic that the supposed security of the screen also prevented them from venturing forth and they were quickly reduced in numbers by a few lucky birds (holes in screen, alas).

This raises the question of interventionism, given that our passive interference [providing the porch/trap] might have been offset had we actively intervened to somehow free the young mantis -- which raises the question, of course, about artificially increasing the mantis population with the resultant imbalance of the food chain. As a naturalist I perceive that our role is to allow self-determination among other creatures, although the screen porch appears to have self-balanced the population it initially encouraged. Have we inadvertently transferred farming technology to the birds? Hmmm... The mantis have since chosen other hatcheries and we are lucky to see one or two per season while in years past we would see a dozen or so.

I wish to purchase a mantis species that is native to Arizona known as the Arizona Unicorn Mantis ( Species Pseudovates Arizonae ) I am willing to purchase oothecae (egg cases) nymhps (babies) and fertile female adult P Arizona Mantis. Please email me with your offers, I pay via Paypal. IF you can locate these, I will buy all you can provide! Thank you

Several days ago I found a mantis, as big as grown-man index finger. Beeing completely black body and having brilliant turquoise eyes.
Failing to photo it, I like to be informed whether this formn is known to professionals, and is it worth looking for another exemplar


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