After which we returned to the mountains to find more nests. Everyone was a little bit happily-but-lethargically drunk, and at first this seemed to have the effect of dulling wasp-chasing motivation a little. It definitely increased everyone's ability to become fixated on wasp-watching and daydreaming, though, even those with a self-professed fear of wasps and bees, as shown fairly well in this photo of Shigeru entranced by a newly-arrived worker wasp:
Well, for the last couple of weeks (perhaps months…), I have been occupied by an idea. I am away (working on a project in Oxford) for six weeks this summer, so I won't be able to feed a wasps' nest each day as people do here. However, I've been told many times that in the past, people used to simply transplant their wasps nests from the forests to a place nearer to their home, and didn't bother to feed them everyday. This reminds me a lot of word-of-mouth reports that I heard in the Congo, of people who would transplant caterpillar groups or even caterpillar feeding trees to a location within their own territory, in order to monopolise the subsequent harvest - but without any provisioning. So, I became interested in how people in the Japanese countryside used to monopolise their own wasp harvest, before the days of man-made wooden hive boxes…and because I didn't fully understand anyone's description of this method, I felt that I would like to try it myself.
I called on the help of Miyake Ichirou-san, Daisuke-san and Shigeru-san to replicate 'the old method' in my garden, and here are the results, step by step (moving the mouse over the pictures will tell you what's going on in each one):
Finally, I wonder if there is a person out there who, like me, can read and understand English better than Japanese, but would like to have a go at collecting and keeping wasps and doesn't quite know how to go about it…? Perhaps not. But, if so. the necessary information is now available here, and I would be more than happy to receive an email on this topic, anytime!