“I will hug him and squeeze him and call him George”
From the local vernacular news, a regional product out of the ordinary.
The hometown tax (“furusato nozei”) has caught on, mostly as a variation on online shopping.
This month, the city of Yaizu, Shizuoka Prefecture announced that it will send, in return for donations of ￥10,000 or more, a pair of live giant isopods (Bathynomus doederleinii), shipped by home delivery service within about three weeks. The isopods, about 7 cm in size, are caught by fishermen in Suruga Bay.
The website requests that would-be owners make preparations for keeping the isopods before placing an order. Apparently, even though they are nominally deep sea creatures, they can live in an appropriately cool and dark aquarium.
You can view the site here.
One TV news program took up the story and reminded viewers that isopods can also be eaten… (see here for an older story in English on the topic) This news made a bit of a splash last year.
My favourite part of this whole circus is that the official website reminds readers that these are not Bathynomus giganteus, which are the giants of the isopod world.
Much of the feedback has been negative, ranging from concerns about trading live animals to people without the knowledge or means to care for them properly, concerns about the image Yaizu is projecting, to just “they’re gross”.
My take: I have no objections to people willing to invest the time, effort and money into providing an appropriate environment for these animals. However, I’m pretty sure there will be people who take them first without the faintest idea how to take care of them.
I have to admit though, a pair of those would look pretty cool…