Happy New Year! While salutations of “akemashite omedetō gozaimasu” (“Happy New Year”) filled the air in most parts of the country at the start of the month, my home was filled with exclamations of a different sort.

“So that’s where the lost karuta game card went,” I heard my wife shout. “Try to keep your dried ramen snacks in your mouth in the future, not under the sofa!” — that was her again, as was, “Ooh, it’s been dead quite a while, I think.” That last one came upon the discovery of a cockroach husk found under the refrigerator.

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