Precious to Us
“When we have lots of fireflies, we get a spectacular landscape full of lights, with both stars and glowing fireflies reflected in the water,” Takei said.
Fireflies are often said to be evidence of a pristine natural environment, but the insects only thrive when other conditions are also met.
“To help fireflies, we need to have a snail called ‘kawanina’,” Funaki said.
Fireflies spend about nine months of their year-long lifecycle growing in fresh water, and baby insects grow by eating the snail, Funaki said.
The town has also created a park complete with ditches to bring in fresh water from the river and waterfalls to produce an oxygen-rich aquatic home for the insects.
The silence of this year’s mating season makes the ritual all the more poignant, said Takei.
“The brief shining of the light is so impressive, making me feel that I also have to live my best,” he said.