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Japanese Cryptozoological Weirdness

  1. Apr 10, 2004 #1
    *"No, not a snake!" claims a pith-helmeted friend, a cryptozoologist hereafter called "The Hunter." "It's a 'tsuchinoko!' "
    What's the difference? According to The Hunter, plenty.
    When a snake moves, it undulates from side to side; a tsuchinoko, however, will wiggle its way straight ahead, rippling its spine up and down. Snakes tend to be slender; tsuchinoko can be as plump as bowling pins. Snakes merely hiss; tsuchinoko will chirp and snore. Snakes are proponents of gravity; tsuchinoko have been known to coil themselves together and spring through the air several meters at a time.
    "Is that all?" I ask. "I mean, don't they have, like, razor-sharp fangs or scales that sizzle with fire or tails that can rattle the tune to "Bad to the Bone"?
    It would seem not. Beer-bottle brown in color, tsuchinoko have often been described as having a wide head with Hello Kitty eyes and a mouth curled up in a veritable "Nice to meet you" grin. The "C" word haunts their every description.
    "Cute? A tsuchinoko?" The Hunter is aghast. He reminds me the name "tsuchinoko" comes from an old word for "mallet" -- a "tsuchi" -- with nothing cute about it.
    "Why, these are wild, vicious creatures! If I were to encounter one head on in the woods, I wouldn't know what to do!"

    The Japan Times Online
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