I have a long backlog of things I'd like to write about here, but after spending the entire day today reading and writing about hebo (wasps) without actually seeing any, I feel like posting some photos of a 'Hebo house', purpose built by Mr Yabushita, the head of the Kushihara Hebo Appreciation Society.
These photos show the house (above), the raw liver he uses to feed his 8 nests (left), one of his wasps enjoying his meal (below right), and one of several boxes he'll be using in the winter to keep hibernating queen wasps, which he will release the following spring (below left).
Edit: I have just realised - I began this post with a lie! I spent two hours this morning, from 6am to 8am, trying to find a wasps nest in the forest behind my house, during which time I saw many, many hebo. Daisuke and I used wild boar meat as bait and tissue paper as a mark - but the hebo seem to have learnt to cut through the tissue paper. They're mesmerising to watch. They cut over and over again, quite methodically, using their front pincers until the tissue is almost severed. Then, they begin to vibrate frantically, like a miniature striped pneumatic drill - and all of a sudden, the tissue breaks and floats to the ground, and the wasp flies away with his piece of boar flesh.
Just in case you were wondering about the early starts, the photo below shows how beautiful the village looks at 6am in the morning.