My life with Medakas

IMG_1070 At the end of last summer, I fell in love with a pop-eyed half daruma medaka which I saw on the internet and bought them on impulse. Next day, a formed box was delivered. Two pop-eyed half daruma medakas were swimming in a plastic bag in it, which was blown up tight with air. I was surprised that even creatures like them were purchasable through the mail order. They were so cute that I decided not to put them together with the other medakas on the velanda. I bought a handy fish tank and put them in it with two small shrimps and a marimo (round green alga).

 Luckily the pair of medakas was male and female and they were always together. I felt jealous sometimes. The female laid eggs everyday during the summer. However, if you left the eggs, they would be eaten. So I once took the eggs out of aquarium into a small container and tried hatching them. A few days later I could see two eyes on each egg. A few more days later I found freshly-hatched tiny medakas swimming in the container. Four newly born medaka babies were so small that I often lost sight of them.

 I read somewhere that baby medakas also could be eaten by big ones, so I kept them in a bin that I bought at a one-hundred-yen store. Even though the babies were born at the same time, their sizes were different: big, middle, small, tiny. When I fed them, the big one was the quickest to get bait, almost driving the others out. It seemed that others were trying to be nice to it. Wow. It is surprising that the power structure exist in such a small world. At the same time I cannot help feeling sorry for the smaller ones and thinking that it is tough to live. The boss is everywhere.

 One day, I almost accidentally killed the smallest among the four when I put them into a jar. First, I moved them into a plastic bag from a small container where they were hatched and let it on a watered jar for temperature control. Then I poured the water in a bag with medakas into the jar. I counted the number of medakas. There were only three. Thinking strangely to myself, I took a look at the flat plastic bag and found two tiny eyes watching me, which almost made me scream. I rushed to take the medaka out and put it into a jar. The transparent baby medaka, which wasn’t even as big as a top nail of my baby finger, tried to swim, but it sank into the bottom and stopped moving. A little bit later it tried to go up but ended up sinking. It happened a few times. I had to leave. It might not survive, I thought. Imagining a dead baby medaka floating on the water made me sad. It was amazing that a baby medaka could make me feel that way while I eat seafood like a whitebait bowl.  

 I don’t think it was nothing to do with the medaka accident, but that night, I perpetrated a disaster for the first time in ages. It was not like I was feeling ill or I had drunk recklessly but somehow I got terribly drunk. I still had a bit of rationality to grab a plastic bag, a bottle of water my friend bought was in it, from my friend and use it. But I believe I would have woken up on a road next morning if she hadn’t had taken me almost lying down home by taxi.

 I staggered home drunk and feeling sick, looked into a jar. The tiny medaka, which had been dying was swimming smoothly with others like nothing had happened. I was relieved, feeling dizzy. I was the one who should be worried. With regret that I almost killed a medaka through my carelessness and because I had drunk too much, I slept deeply that night.

 It’s been a while since then. Now that the smallest medaka has grown enough to be seen as a medaka. But the biggest one is still holding sway. My medakas’ hardiness amazes me. They are swimming vigorously without much care.

025891 I have no idea what they are thinking. But their frenzied looks when I feed them show me their will to live. I could see their will to live. Sometimes, shrimps swim across the tank. It makes me realize they are alive too. The marimo at the bottom never moves, no matter what happens. Yeah, that’s what marimo is.  


This post is also available in : Japanese

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