Are You Okay with Insects…?

[Original posted on EXPAT by Mariko OMURA, Cambodia Project (September 28, 2018); Translated by M. Goto/S. Altman]

My favorite view.

Hello everyone, I live in the farming village, Kampong Kdei, which is an hour and half away from Siem Reap. Japanese people often say that Phnom Penh, the capital, resembles Tokyo and Siem Reap, the town full of ruins, can be compared to Kyoto. How about Kampong Kdei where I live? Is it … Gifu!? (no proof) Anyway, this is a calm countryside, which is not very far from sightseeing places where many tourists come.

This is the menu of insect food that I tried. Please do not let this ruin your appetite, they are much easier to eat than how they look.

When I say that I live in the countryside, people ask me “Are you okay with insects?” They may automatically assume that those who live in rural areas don’t mind insects. However, I AM NOT OKAY WITH THEM AT ALLLLL! When I was in Japan, I tried eating insects as food in order to overcome this feeling. I could feel an affinity for insects for a while, however, it was totally gone after few years.

What bothers me recently are crickets coming in my house. Sweeping them outside is my daily routine when I get home.

I was shocked by the number of crickets that appeared in my room. A neighbor of mine swept them out barefoot.

I really understand that they have been living here since before me, so I have no right to pretend that I’m the owner…

When I turned the faucet on to wash my face, a cricket suddenly jumped towards my face from the drain. When I lifted the toilet seat, another one was swimming there as if he was in a swimming pool… (I couldn’t go to the toilet at all that day.) Even though 9 months have passed since I started living here, I still cannot get used to it.

A mosquito net is an important item for me, since I am not able to sleep well without it. There are many types of cute mosquito nets decorated with lace like this picture. I put this net forcibly on my bed, but someone laughs at me because people usually use it on the floor… I am trying to establish a new fashion trend.

Yesterday, a cricket came inside my safe net and I was trapped in there with it. …. That was really, really, scary for me, (maybe for the cricket as well …) so because of this horrible experience, I bought one more mosquito net and now use two.

The color of the mosquito net matches very well with the wall. Isn’t it a fancy room?

My colleagues make fun of me when I talk about that, because crickets are a very natural existence for them; they eat them every day as a snack. They say “I would teach you how to catch them. For me natto (fermented soybeans) is more terrible food than crickets.” I must agree with that, but I still need time to overcome crickets.

It’s hard to breathe inside the double mosquito nets.

Anyway, this time I wanted to tell you that I don’t really like insects, but I’m doing well. The reason why I love it here, even though I am surrounded by insects, is that I am also surrounded by wonderful views and kind people with warm smiles.

A colleague of mine eats crickets as a snack.

I live with this breathtaking view.

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