Soft-shelled turtles in dredged gutter in my neighborhood

When taking a walk in my neighborhood, I accidentally found two soft-shelled turtles. In Japanese, soft-shelled turtle is called “suppon”. It looks a kind of ugly, but it is a luxury food (e.g., “Suppon Nabe” in Japanese and “Soft-shelled Turtle Hot Pot” in English) and a dietary supplement because it contains abundant amino acids and collagen, etc. Some people drink its vital blood. But I can’t: I would say “Mu-ri-de-su (無理です)” because raw blood may contain parasites.

Sppon is written as “鼈” in Kanji. “鼈” is so difficult that probably few Japanese remember it in Kanji. Or should I say we don’t even try to memorize it. One of the Japanese proverb “Tsu-ki-to sup-pon” (月とすっぽん) means that these two (tsuki and suppon) are like the relationship between chalk and cheese, that is, superficially similar, but completely different. Tsuki and suppon mean the moon and soft-shelled turtle, respectively. The moon and a turtle shell are both round, but they are otherwise completely different. A similar proverb is “提灯に釣り鐘” (ちょうちんにつりがね, cho-chin-ni tsu-ri-ga-ne). “cho-chin” is a lantern. “Tsu-ri-ga-ne” is a hanging bell [a temple bell]. The weight and the size of a lantern and a temple bell are very different.

Soft-shelled turtles in the dredged gutter

May 24 16:25

dredged gutter
The gutter in my neighborhood was dredged and running short of water on May 24, 2016.

May 24 16:23

すっぽん
I found a soft-shelled turtle standing still whose soft-shell has already been dried.

May 24 16:23

すっぽん
While I was watching the soft-shelled turtle, it didn’t move at all because it pretended to be dead or as if it were a stone.

May 24 16:22

すっぽん
In 3 meters ahead, I found another soft-shelled turtle in mud. It pretended as if it were dead.

May 24 16:24

すっぽん
It gradually move its head back into its body. It seems to be wary of me and hiding not to be found by me.

May 24 16:25

gutter
It finally succeeded in hiding by pretending to be mud almost completely. It has become similar to it’s environment.

May 25 7:19

gutter after rain
The next day, I went to see the two soft-shelled turtles early in the morning. It was raining last night.

May 25 7:12

Suppon in gutter
The first one whose back was dried yesterday did not move from the corner at all.

May 25 7:12

すっぽん
But its back is wet. The color has changed.

May 25 7:16

すっぽん
I couldn’t find the yesterday’s second soft-shelled turtle at the same place. But when I was walking along the gutter, I found a swimming soft-shelled turtle as if it were running away from me. This suppon is probably at least the third one.

May 25 7:17

すっぽん
It stopped moving when I was approaching. It has begun to keep perfectly still under the small bridge not to be found.

May 25 7:18

すっぽん
It is on the alert for the enemy [me]. Soft-shelled turtles are very cautious.

After nine hours on May 25, I found two more suppon hiding in mud. Therefore, at least five suppon is likely to exist in this gutter.

May 25 16:56

すっぽん
This suppon is the fourth one.

May 25 17:08

すっぽん
This suppon is the fifth one.

May 25 17:06

すっぽん
This one is yesterday’s second one.




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