Thursday, 16 December 2004

Frogs Bite Back at Foreigners

Paris is esteemed in Japan as one of the world's great cities, and the capital of Western European culture.

The trouble is, when the Japanese go there, they meet the Parisians.

From The Australian :
A strange illness has descended on Japanese living in Paris, tipping many of them in a state of profound culture shock after realising their ideals about the French capital were unrealistic, a study published in Monday's Liberation newspaper said.

More than a 100 expatriates a year are sinking into a state called "the Paris syndrome" which is characterised by feelings of persecution or suicidal tendencies, according to the mental health facilities of city hospitals.

Part of their clinical depression stems from having to reconcile their romanticism about Paris with reality, psychiatrists said.

"Magazines are fuelling fantasies with the Japanese, who think there are models everywhere and the women dress entirely in (Louis) Vuitton," Mario Renoux, the head of a French Japanese Society for Medecine was quoted as saying.

After a relatively short period of only three months or so, Japanese immigrants expecting to find a haven of civilisation and elegance instead discover a tougher existence with many problems dealing with the French.

"They make fun of my French and my expressions", "they don't like me" and "I feel ridiculous in front of them" are common refrains heard by the doctors.

Lest I be accused of Frog-Bashing, there's also another story from The Australian :
A Native Australian frog appears to be biting back at the loathed cane toad.

Northern Territory conservationists believe a local amphibian known as Litoria dahlii could be the only native frog able to eat cane toad tadpoles and babies without being harmed by their poison.

While the study is only in its preliminary stages, researchers at Frogwatch NT say the frog's role as a predator could explain why cane toad numbers are not as high as expected in some areas.
James Cook University cane toad expert Ross Alford said that while the cane toad had many predators – they were even known to eat each other – native frogs had not been among them.

"Dahlii, I believe, is reasonably common in the top end and if it's one more thing that eats cane toads, it will help control their numbers," Dr Alford said.

"If it's happening, it would be a very good thing.

"It would be the first case I know of a native frog being able to tolerate eating cane toads."

The highly poisonous South American cane toads were introduced to Australia's north in 1935 to save the sugar industry from cane beetles.

They failed but created an environmental disaster of their own by infesting Queensland and parts of northern NSW and the Northern Territory.
Froggy, Froggy, Froggy! Oi, Oi, Oi!

UPDATE: Tim Blair thought along the same lines, and at the same time too.

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