noasobi essey scene 14“ Snowbugs ”

Small white insects appear in Hokkaido after the middle of October.
When we were children, we used to call them "snowbugs."
Every passing day brought more of them and by November, they swarmed through the skies in the tens of thousands.
The tiny bugs-barely 3mm wide-were covered in a downy hair.
When you grasped them between your fingertips, they disappeared like snowflakes.

One day in the 5th grade, two friends and I decided to investigate where snowbugs came from, so we went into the woods.
Assuming the role of explorers, we searched through bamboo thickets, tree hollows and caves. Then we got lost.
We became scared and started crying.
We shivered and sobbed in the cold as our noses ran.
Our fear peaked when one of us imagined out loud that a bear might come after us. We decided we had to find the road and
looked for our own footprints, talking as loudly as we could.

I still remember the immense relief I felt when we finally found the road.
Just like the old saying, “As soon as it's past your throat, you forget the heat,” the moment we reached familiar ground, we started blaming each other for who had started crying first.

When I think of the three of us, our faces streaked with tears, snot and grime, accusing the others—“It was you!” “No, it was you!”—I become mortified.
I imagine my two friends feel the same way...

Published "Snow Peak Outdoor Lifestyle Catalog" in 2009.
This series reprints the articles published in the Snow Peak Outdoor Lifestyle Catalog since 2004.