Chinese cricket culture
November 15, 2003 4:46 AM   Subscribe

Chinese cricket culture encompasses a 2000 year history of both singing insects and fighting crickets. The tradition continues today, with some crickets selling at market for $1200. A visitor to Shanghai explains the allure of crickets as pets while others see their value as fearsome fighters. Cricket boxes and cages make interesting collectibles.
posted by madamjujujive (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Thank the deities! You're back!
posted by taz at 5:44 AM on November 15, 2003

In India cricikets a sybmol of good luck. In America they are useful for feeding small snakes kept as pets till they grow and need mice.
posted by Postroad at 5:53 AM on November 15, 2003

Thanks mjjj.
posted by ginz at 7:03 AM on November 15, 2003

Let me be the first to say: "Jiminy Cricket"!!!
posted by wendell at 8:31 AM on November 15, 2003

Great post! Thanks juju!
posted by homunculus at 9:45 AM on November 15, 2003

This page has some .wav files of cricket courtship and calling songs.
posted by taz at 10:38 AM on November 15, 2003

Working at a pet store in the Insects, Reptiles and Fish departments, one huge requirement for my job was my willingness to plunge my bare hands into a tank containing about ten thousand crickets, grab the correct amount, and shake them into a bag for sale. You would not believe the stench ten thousand crickets could make.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 11:20 AM on November 15, 2003

These are just lovely, madamjujujive!
Here's another site you might want for your collection---

Insect Sound World
also from a Japanese collector.
Thanks for the pretties!
posted by realjanetkagan at 12:06 PM on November 15, 2003

Very good... much thanks!
posted by moonbird at 1:40 PM on November 15, 2003

Chinese cricket culture.

And of course, we should never forget the sinking of the SS Bokhara.
posted by bright cold day at 4:49 PM on November 15, 2003

A lovely post, juju!

Crickets are still kept as pets in Portugal too, although it's frowned upon as people are inordinately fond of them. This courtesy isn't extended to birds, unfortunately.

I've tried to find the source of a cricket chirping on a hot summer night about a thousand times and, every time I thought I was homing in on the mellifluous little critter, he'd -a-start-a-chirpin' from somewhere else. This always cheers me up.

How wondrous to hear from you, right here, though!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:58 PM on November 15, 2003 [1 favorite]

Psuedophedrine, that sounds rather ickey - even if you like crickets, there can be too much of a good thing. But I bet your job meant handling lots of creepy crawlies...ewwww.

thanks for the sound clips, taz and realjanetkagan! and thanks for pointers to the other Chinese cricket culture, bright cold day.

rjk, good to see you around again!!

taz, miguel - thanks for the welcome back - didn't *leave,* just on a work jag lately ;-)
posted by madamjujujive at 6:40 PM on November 15, 2003

A propos crickets:
The reason it is so hard to locate a chirping cricket is that their high frequency confuses one of the chief clues humans use for calculating the direction of a sound - the phase difference between the ears. This effect starts being noticeable when the wavelenght of the sound becomes shorter than distance between the ears (ca. 12 cm) multiplied by 2 - roughly 1500 Hz. A field cricket uses a carrier frequency over 3 times higher.

T'was all from the department of unwanted education for today.
posted by spazzm at 11:02 PM on November 15, 2003

hey, spazzm---thanks for the explanation! May I guess then that the reason my cats can find the cricket in the house when I can't is that "the phase difference between the ears" is more specific or more accurate in some way in their ears?

Oh, and how does this relate to the very annoying "backing up now" sound used by trucks, that a human can hear for miles about but can NOT locate the source of? (Just asking because it makes me crazy and I'm wondering if it's related.)
posted by realjanetkagan at 10:01 PM on November 16, 2003

I've always wondered.. if you built a completely accurate 100 foot tall or so working model of a cricket's legs, could you, like, destroy cities?
posted by Driph at 3:50 PM on November 17, 2003

"May you be cursed with the stench of 10,000 crickets!"

A superb post.
posted by troutfishing at 9:31 PM on November 21, 2003

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