LWIF EP14: Cicadas (せみ) – The Sound of Summer in Japan

Hello World! If you ask any Japanese person what summer sounds like, I bet they’ll say like せみ (cicadas). They emerge in late July / August when summer really starts getting hot (and loud!) Aiko’s Mum hates せみ, so whatever you do, DON’T show her this video!

By the way, I’ve seen semi written in Katakana (セミ) a lot, so I may have made a mistake in writing it in Hiragana (せみ). But since Aiko’s Mummy is too scared to look at the videos, I didn’t have my regular proofreader to check things out.

I compiled the せみ facts from:

I also included some Creative Commons photos into the video. The first is a fascinating collage of photos showing the cicada emerging from its nymph skin.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Adult_Cicada_Emerging_from_Nymph_Skin.jpg

The second photo is a GIF of a cicada emerging from its nymph skin.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cicada_molting_animated-2.gif
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cicada_molting_animated-2.gif


1. What’s the English name for a semi (せみ)?

  1. Enchilada
  2. Mufasa
  3. Cicada

2. Who sings the songs (males or females)?

  1. Males
  2. Females

3. How loud are せみ?

  1. Lawn mower 90db
  2. Motorcycle 100db
  3. Rock concert 105db
  4. Hammer drill 114 db

4. Do Japanese people normally eat せみ?

  • Yes
  • No

5. How many eyes does have aせみ have?

  1. 2
  2. 3
  3. 4
  4. 5

6. In Latin, what’s the meaning of Cicada?

  1. Loud fly
  2. Tree bird
  3. Tree cricket
  4. Annoying bug

7. What do the baby せみ (nymphs) feed on?

  1. Bugs
  2. Tree sap
  3. Berries

8. Do kids normally hunt for せみ  and their skins (or is Shin a weird kid)?

  • Yes
  • No

Quiz Answers

Hover over the grey box (or tap it if you’re mobile) to see the answers for the quiz:

  1. C – Cicada
  2. A – Males
  3. D – Hammer drill
  4. No
  5. D – 5
  6. C – Tree cricket
  7. B – Tree sap
  8. Yes

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t eat that!

In the video I said something along the lines of, “Many people around the world eat cicadas. They are eaten in China, Malaysia, Burma, Latin America, and the Congo.” Well, I read the Wikipedia page that I quotes this from wrong, as it said, “They are known to have been eaten in Ancient Greece as well as China, Malaysia, Burma, Latin America, and the Congo.” The key words are have been eaten. I have no clue if they’re currently eaten in any of those places, but if you search the Internet for cicada recipes, you’ll get a lot of hits. I’m sure that if people do eat them, it’s a very small niche. Anyways, sorry about the mix up!