Animals, Korea, Urban Walking
Comments 19

A Mantis Trilogy #2: I’ve Just Seen a Face

I’ve had a bad cold the last few days — think I pushed myself a little too hard in Tokyo for an old guy — and enjoyed Tuesday and yesterday at home. (And in a bakery — my second home.) And then today, as I was trudging to school, I became aware of an eerie silence, a delicious feeling of calm. My pulse quickened but I told myself to hold my fantasies in check — and then I entered the school grounds to find the place deserted.

I texted Sophie: I’m at school but nobody else is.

Her reply came fast: Oh, Ian, I’m so sorry, I forgot to tell you! Today is a holiday!

That would explain the flags hanging in the streets.

I quickly forgave her; I’m used to being the last to know, but usually the outcome is far less positive. And let’s face it, a school devoid of students is every teacher’s dream come true. So I ambled on and found myself back in Yulha, hung out with the dragon- and damselflies a while till it got too hot, and here I am in a deserted cafe with a latte, a gelato, and Spielberg’s Lincoln downloaded onto my iPad.

This is turning into a great week, sickness notwithstanding.

So here’s a quick post, a counterpoint to the last one, which presented a pretty unsavoury (sorry) side of the praying mantis, one that (sorry again) might have left a bad taste in your mouth. Yesterday I went for a dawn stroll along the local road where my dogs used to live, and met a beautiful little critter out taking a morning walk of his/her own.

I think you’ll agree this is a far less malevolent side of the always-fascinating mantis:


Stuck in Traffic


I used to have two whippets with faces remarkably like this!


I quickly leapt into the lethally deep concrete drain, the better to arrange a quick tete-a-tete


To my alarm, the little devil charged right at me — perhaps his/her reflection in the lens?


I found myself retreating backwards down a drain, pursued by an agitated predator!


My attempt at a 1960s Japanese monster movie effect


Fortunately the green demon was easily distracted, by a cyclist…

mmm passing cars…


..and by fellow pedestrians.


A last glance. You have to admit, that face is ADORABLE! Creepy, but adorable.

The Beatles, I’ve Just Seen a Face, 1965:

Paul McCartney, I’ve Just Seen a Face, Unplugged, 1991:

~ And that’s all the Goat wrote


  1. Too bad there wasn’t a place nearby to celebrate a holiday you didn’t know about.These critters you wrote about are they really dangerous? Suffice it to say the one you faced was distracted.

    • No, they’re not dangerous — to humans! Although when one is a few inches from your face and “running” towards you, you automatically retreat!

  2. Carl says

    Great photos remind me to appreciate everything around me. And yes, a mantis face is also a beautiful part of the world. thanks for that Goat

  3. Barb says

    Adorable! So funny.. loved it.. the euphoria of an unexpected day off has gone to your head!

    • It was like winning the lottery, Barb. I don’t think I’ve ever turned up to work in my life to be told, “Today’s a holiday.” An all-round great day, and more adventures with insects in the afternoon, which I can’t wait to write up.

  4. Wow! You continuously hit the mark Goat. What a delight to read! And what a face. Amazing! Nice very nice touch with the Beatles too.

    • Thank you! I’ve been going through some serious Beatlemania in my listening of late — now have all their albums (digitally) and have been re-listening and discovering. I could just about fit one of their songs into any post I do.

  5. Love these shots! Especially the one with the mantis walking along beside the feet of a human co-walker. It was a bit of a dude, that mantis. Rather nicer than the head eating monster.

    • Thanks! Yeah, this fella knew how to strut its stuff. I’m really careful to scan the footpath when I walk lately, since it’s obviously shared space — came upon another one yesterday but it moved too fast for me to grab any decent shots.

  6. Thanks for the yin and yang versions of the praying mantis (-:

    I’ve never seen a live one and never expected to see photos of one walking around in an urban setting with such a guileless expression on its face!

    • Oh, yeah, I count it as a lucky day when I see one, but I manage one or two of late. I’m about to set out for another ridiculously early Sunday stroll, so fingers crossed! A nice break from dragonflies!

    • Awesome, glad you liked them! I also enjoyed those headlights shots. In fact I have versions like that with spiders and a big cricket. The headlights add a nice touch of drama.

  7. The good wife managed to catch a praying mantis (probably Tenodera angustipennis) and a grasshopper the other day and kept them in the same case… and then wondered where the grasshopper disappeared to…

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