Tsukuba, Japan…Science City or Spider City??

By Donnie | Articles

Tsukuba is a Japanese town that’s renowned for it’s dedication to all things science. This city is a town full of kind-hearted, hard-working researchers from just about every scientific field you can think of: pharmaceutical research, earthquake research, environmental research, aeronautics, medical research, chemical research… Did you know that JAXA, Japan’s program for training astronauts, has its headquarters right here in Tsukuba? I have had the pleasure of actually getting to teach English to some of these very researchers. As science is so deeply entrenched into this city, Tsukuba is also known as “Science City” and rightfully so.

I do agree with the Tsukuba’s moniker, but at times I think they should make a second name for this town…Spider City!! Why? I’m glad you asked…

“My first fall in Tsukuba…ahhh! Beaming, I open my door to that fresh, crisp, and slightly cool evening air as I step out onto my apartment’s breezeway. This is weather that I love so much. It’s running weather, it’s pancakes in the morning weather, it’s reading weather, it’s leaf-changing, Halloween party, jean-wearing weath…WHOA!! What is that?! It’s freakin’ humongous! What the hell kinda spider is that? Avicularia Satannicus* is going to be my guess.”
*Not a real genus and species

I vividly remember this giant spider’s web just outside of my first apartment because it was so much bigger than the standard ones I had seen. I wanted to destroy the web, but I couldn’t do it for some reason. Was it fear? Perhaps. Was it because the spider had the courtesy of not building his home right in font of my door? Maybe. More so than anything, I was fascinated by it. I didn’t want to kill it. I would just walk by everyday, and marvel at this thing. Sometimes I would sit down onto the web and Bobo (that was his name) and I would have a chat over a soda. Yeah, his face was a little weird but I’m sure he felt the same about me.

Seriously, though, I would sometimes walk out with bread, and throw these big chunks at the we, just to see what the spider would do. He would walk over do some kind of spider examination and throw it to the ground. It was kinda neat to see a spider carrying items this size. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of Bobo, but thinking about my old spider buddy made me wonder just how common humongous arachnids are around here.

They’re a lot more common than you might think.

I always see some pretty nice-sized webs on my way to school. Here a few examples of the pics I took..

I snapped this picture last weekend. Yes, it's a real spider. Weird, right? I was so tempted to stick my hand out and let the spider bite me, because radiation (TEPCO incident) + weird looking spider = Spiderman powers. Or does it equal instant death? I forgot.

Another juicy spider.

Even juicier

Spider City or Science City, which is the better choice? It’s up to YOU to decide 😀

See you tomorrow!!

Donald Ash

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  • We don’t have juicy spiders in Iwate. Just a million of the kinds in the first pic. They are lime green and so big, that they almost surpass the creepy crawly fears. They are more like animals then bugs. They can grow as big as my palm, their bodies the same size as my pinky finger. Now, I do have girly hands, mostly because I am a woman, but that is still huge for such a cold climate.

    Walking across the bridge by my house in the summer was a like a hall of horror. They were in every nook and cranny. Little ones on webs between big ones on webs. Sometimes you would see a cicada or dragonfly caught in a web. That’s strong!

    Luckily, it’s getting frosty here so all the spiders have disappeared!

  • Rebecca Quinn

    oh god…

    • Donald Ash


      • Rebecca Quinn

        They’re definitely radioactive, the colours on them. I’d die on the spot if I seen on infront of me. Oh god..

        • Donald Ash

          Does that mean you mean you don’t want spider powers, Rebecca? LOL

  • Anthony

    I like spiders but those look like if they bit you, it would hurt like no other.

    • Donald Ash

      ABSOLUTELY! That multicolored one looks like if it bit me, my entire hand might come off with the bite…I’m just sayin’

  • x_______________________________x……. -debates if I’m going to faint or just hide behind Donald-kun-

    Those are SCARY!

    • Donald Ash


      But we have to ask ourselves “Isn’t having Spidey powers worth the scariness? I’d say so.” 😀

      • No! -laughs- I’d rather be an X-man member ;o

        • Donald Ash

          Nice one, Nanami. The X-men are pretty cool. Which member would you be?

  • Sadie Heilemann

    Pretty spiders! I’d much rather have these than the ubiquitous and dangerous brown recluses that are everywhere here in Tennessee!

    • Donald Ash

      Oh man, I haven’t heard about those in a long time. Yep, Georgia has brown recluses, too. They’re no joke! Thanks for posting, Sadie!

  • I think they’re called Joro Spiders (ジョロウグモ)
    Isn’t is amazing how they can sit in the same spot for so long? I noticed the first one outside my doorway on halloween morning (spooky, huh?). So I gently dismantled his web to get through the doorway. When I came back, the little guy was kind enough to rebuild his web a couple feet over. And he’s been there ever since! I watched him turn a horse-fly into a zombie yesterday. Fascinating creatures!

    • Donald Ash

      Well, I just got my new wrinkle in my brain for the day, thanks for the info. A similar thing happened with the huge spider outside of my door. I tore down the web, and the spider just moved to another spot. Now, can you tell me how long after a spider bite do I get my super-powers?

      • LanceT

        They look like the monster spiders from Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Personally I can’t stand spiders, even though I know how useful they are to general pest control. >_<

  • JJ

    Pretty interesting to see those spiders, but they still creep me out. XD

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