Signs of summer in Japan: heat waves, rain storms, kakigori shave-ice... and massive, squirming beetle larvae, on sale at a store near you. Known as kabuto-mushi ("helmet bugs") here for their exokeleton's resemblence of samurai armor, these guys are hugely popular as pets in the warmer months. I spotted these fellas on sale at a local hardware store.
Japan's love for kabuto-mushi is intense. They seem to occupy a different level than that of "normal" bugs, and I've seen men and women who run in terror from cockroaches and other so-called "bad" bugs cuddle up to kabuto-mushi like they're kittens. (They even make kabutomushi-shaped cakes and chocolates for Valentines' Day.)
Digging up the large, roughly adult thumb sized larva and rearing them to adulthood is a popular -- perhaps THE popular -- pasttime for Japanese kids. (Shades of Pokemon and Tamagotchi.) In urban areas where it's harder to find them in the wild, hardware and department stores often carry both the mulch/food/enclosures and the actual larva, lovingly cradled in little plastic containers for an easy carry back home.